8 thoughts on “Film ‘The Duchess’ and eighteenth century revolutions

  1. French king’s mistress poisoned by gold elixir

    Source: Telegraph (UK) (12-22-09)

    The mistress of France’s 16th century King Henry II was poisoned by a gold elixir she drank to keep herself looking young, scientists have discovered.

    Diane de Poitiers was renowned for her youthful looks and porcelain skin and thought the concoction preserved her youth.

    Experts say she was up to 20 years older than the king but her appearance made them look the same age. One courtier said she was “as fresh and lovable” in her final years as when aged 30 and had skin “of great whiteness”.

    But her secret was the elixir she drunk every day made up of gold chloride and diethyl ether.

    It was one of a host of anti-ageing treatments peddled by apothecaries, along with recipes including spider webs, earthworms, frogspawn and scorpion’s oil.

    However, French experts writing in the British Medical Journal say the yellow liquid said to harness the powers of the sun and keep her immutable actually slowly killed her at the age of 66.

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