Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(848 words)

1. Concept and social function

The term mistress comes from the French maîtresse and contains all its senses. In the early modern period, it denoted a woman engaged in a non-marital relationship with a nobleman. Although queens and princesses did also have lovers (e.g. the relationship of 1767–1772 between Caroline Mathilde, Queen of Denmark and Norway, and the Altona doctor Johann Friedrich von Struensee), there was no equival…

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Hohkamp, Michaela, “Mistress”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 01 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_023797>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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