Georgian Britain: sex in high places

Susan Law reveals how a series of sordid scandals involving some of the most powerful men in Georgian Britain led many people to question whether the nobility was fit to rule...

A cartoon depicting the Duke of Wellington

In a dingy alleyway off London’s Leicester Square, a tall, thin man with a badly pockmarked face accosted a young prostitute, asking her: “How do you do, my little wicked? Will you go and drink a glass of wine with me?” He was a regular visitor to backstreet brothels and often prowled the city looking for dirty street girls, preferably blondes, their ragged clothes crawling with vermin.

But this was no ordinary encounter with a penniless commoner seeking a cheap thrill. The prostitute’s client was actually the Rt Hon Richard, Lord Grosvenor, one of the wealthiest men in London, who owned most of Mayfair.

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