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Over the years this ‘maison de tolerance’ — the word ‘brothel’ was considered too tawdry — saw visitors as illustrious as Humphrey Bogart, Mae West and Cary Grant.
But in the 1880s, one of its principal clients was the future King Edward VII, then known to everyone as ‘Bertie’, the playboy Prince of Wales.
Sold as a pair of white and black wires, each 12" long.
After years hidden away from public view, the love-seat now features in a BBC documentary about Edward VII’s life before he reached the throne.
It paints an absorbing portrait of this unsung King, a man of deep contradictions who can be credited for bringing the British monarchy into the modern age.
For there lived an extraordinary contraption, a testament to the Prince’s insatiable lust and to his immense corpulence.
Each of the establishment’s 30 rooms had its own theme, such as Moorish, Louis XIV and ancient Roman — but Bertie’s favourite was the Hindu room.The cloth insulation simply pushes back to expose the center conductor wire.According to Matthew Sweet, author of Inventing The Victorians, one of Bertie’s favourite diversions at Le Chabanais was to carouse with a woman in a luxurious swan-necked bath, filled to the brim with champagne.Among the bordellos of Victorian Paris, Le Chabanais was the most exquisite, and the most lavish.
The decades of waiting in the wings took their toll on Bertie.
He drifted, withoutpurpose — and turned to hedonistic pleasures to fill his time, much to the disappointment of his puritanical parents Victoria and Albert.