Bertie, an avid theater goer, became enamoured with Sarah. He visited her often at the theater and lavished her with gifts of jewels. He was a frequent guest at her home and they became close friends as well as lovers. Their relationship lasted from 1870 through 1890. She was one of the bevies of beauties seated in the King’s box at "The Abbey" during his coronation.
In 1877 a woman of an unusual beauty arrived in London; Mrs. Lillie Langtry, whose nickname was "the Lily of Jersey.” She had great femininity, confidence, and a supreme ambition. Married Edward Langtry, who owned a ship, but was not the rich man she wanted. Still, she used him as a step to climb in London's high society.
She was admired by magnates and princes, among them, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria's youngest son. But none of them could maintain their position by Lillie's side when the Prince of Wales fell in love with her. Considered the greatest beauty of her day, Lillie became the Prince of Wales's official mistress.
Bertie showed himself with Lillie in public, everywhere in London. She caused such a splash in Society that on the day that she was presented in Court, Queen Victoria, who usually retired from the festivities early, stayed in order to see "what all of London was talking about."
Alexandra knew about the "Lillie affair" too and she accepted it. She knew that if she complained she would be herself humiliated, so she resigned herself in silence; she even invited Lillie to Marlborough House. Edward remained fond of her through out the years and he even help her to be accepted in the theatre as an actress.
Despite the fact that she lacked any sort of talent, the performances in which she acted sold out. In 1881, she was succeeded by Daisy, Countess of Warwick as Edward's mistress, but she remained friends with the Prince for the rest of his life.
She was part of Bertie’s social circle and soon became a close friend. Soon she was sporting the jewelry that he was known to give women that he was intimate with. Although their affair eventually cooled, they remained friends for the rest of their lives.
Following her marriage and the birth of her children, she became a socialite, attending lavish parties and gathering. She and her husband were members of the Marlborough House Set, headed by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Beginning in 1886, she became involved in affairs with several powerful men, most notably Edward VII. It was not uncommon in the Victorian era for married women of social prominence to become romantically involved with a man higher on the social ladder than her husband. This was often with the husband's knowledge, as it could also assist in his advancing socially or politically, and was considered normal for the times.
Lady Warwick's affair with Edward VII, lasted until 1898, Her main flaw when acting as a courtesan for powerful men was that she lacked the ability to keep her affairs private, and when involved with a man of wealth and power, she had a distinct habit of divulging it to others. Often, a courtesan could have a prolonged career simply based on that one characteristic. For her indiscretions and this habit, she earned the nickname "The Babbling Brooke", and she was the inspiration for the popular music hall song "Daisy, Daisy".
In some cases, courtesans were even married to husbands lower on the social ladder than their clients. In these cases, their relationships had the potential to improve their spouses' status -– and so, it was not unusual that the husband was aware of his wife's profession and dealings. Affairs of this sort would often be short-lived, ending when either the courtesan or the courtesan's spouse received the status or political position desired.
More often than not a woman serving as a courtesan, would last in that field only as long as she could prove herself useful to her companion. But few lasted long, and after serving a prince or king there was nowhere to go but down.
The French Revolution broke out in 1789 and in the Reign of Terror that followed, scores of hapless people, whose only crime was of being of aristocratic stock or associated in some manner with the royalty, ended their lives on the guillotine. A prominent victim was Madame Du Barry, She was accused of treason and quickly sentenced to death, her final moments were neither peaceful nor dignified.
As she was dragged before the blood-thirsty mob in the Place de la Concorde to be guillotined, she screamed and shouted and wept and begged for mercy. She tried to cling to life until the last, famously crying to the executioner, "Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment!" (Another moment, Mr. Executioner, just a little moment).