Cora Pearl (born Emma Elizabeth Crouch, 1835-1886) was an English courtesan or "demi-mondaine" who lived in France, and was nicknamed "the great horizontal" or "the daily". She was mistress to the highest aristocracy of the Second Empire, including Prince Napoleon and the Duke of Morny. After ruining the young Duval in 1872, she was deported for a while. Neither of their reputations recovered, and she died impoverished and forgotten in 1886.
Rosette "Rose" Wolczak (19 March 1928 – 23 November 1943) was a Jewish child victim of the Holocaust. Born in France in 1928, she came to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1943 as a refugee, and was expelled for what the Swiss authorities ruled to be indecent behavior. She was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she was gassed upon her arrival in November 1943.
Elizabeth of Valois - eldest daughter of Henry II of France & Catherine de' Medici. Her father insisted she shared her bedroom w/ her future sister-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots. She had to give precedence to Mary –a crowned queen. The 2 would remain close friends the rest of their lives. Though her sister Margaret & Mary of Scots were prettier, she was still considered attractive. She married to Philip II of Spain. Philip was enchanted by his 14 yr old bride & gave up his mistress.
"Mrs. Horton, Later Viscountess Maynard (died 1814/15)", c. 1770, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (English, 1723-1792). The sitter was one of the great courtesans of her day. In 1763 she was the mistress of the third Duke of Grafton, and later, in 1769, of the third Duke of Dorset. In 1776 she married Charles Maynard, second Viscount Maynard, who, at twenty-three, was at least a decade younger than she. In 1784 she began an affair with the nineteen-year-old Francis Russell, fifth Duke of Bedford.
Mathilde Kschessinskaya, mistress of Nicholas II, Sergei Mikhailovich and his cousin Andrei Vladimirovich. In 1902, she gave birth to a son, Vladimir (known as "Vova"; 30 June 1902 - 23 April 1974); he was later given the title Prince Romanovsky-Krasinsky, but said that he never knew for sure who his father was. Matilda is pictured costumed for the title role in Petipa's La Camargo. St. Petersburg, circa 1902.
During World War II, Josephine Baker served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded honor of the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946. In 1961 she received the highest French honor, the Legion d'Honneur from French president Charles deGaulle.
Dorothea Jordan (21 November 1761 – 5 July 1816) was an Anglo-Irish actress, courtesan, and the mistress and companion of the future King William IV of the United Kingdom, for 20 years while he was Duke of Clarence. Together they had ten illegitimate children, all of whom took the surname FitzClarence.
Louis XVII was the son of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette. In keeping with dynastic order, when his father was executed on 21 January 1793, during the of French Revolution, he became the uncrowned King of France and Navarre in the eyes of the royalists. As he had been imprisoned, he was never officially crowned as king, nor did he rule. His title is rather one bestowed by his royalist supporters and by Louis XVIII's adoption of the title Louis XVIII rather than Louis…
1878 Sarah Bernhardt (October 1844 – March 1923) was a French stage and early film actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress the world has ever known". Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of France in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname "The Divine Sarah."
Gabrielle d'Estrees, Duchess of Beaufort and Verneuil, Marchioness of Monceau 1573 – 1599. Royal mistress to Henri IV of France - http://odd-facts.blogspot.com/2009/08/royal-mistresses-part-3-of-3.html
Alexandra David-Néel is maybe the coolest lady explorer ever. As well as exploring the East extensively at a time when ladies were not encouraged to travel on their own, she was a spiritualist, Buddhist and writer. Born in 1868 in Paris, by the time she was 18 she’d travelled extensively around Europe and was a member of the Theosophical Society. She wrote her first book when she was 30, and when she was in her forties she travelled to India to study Buddhism, met a prince, and possibly had…