THURSDAY

They had piles of money in the bank, land for days, absolute power by divine right—and imbecilic trolls for spouses. Because monarchs often had to marry for political reasons, a few of them were cursed with marital partners so inbred (another potential drawback that came with royal blood) or otherwise awful that the royal bedchamber was sometimes more like a dungeon. According to Eleanor Herman, author of Sex With the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics, “[b]eautiful intelligent princesses were forced into marriage with royal ogres—sadistic, foaming at the mouth, physically repulsive, mentally retarded, or sexually impotent—and in some cases all of the above.” Yum. No wonder some of the ladies stepped out on their men—who, according to the book, mostly thought of them as baby-making machines anyway—despite the sometimes grizzly consequences of adultery. Herman reads at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at Olsson’s Books & Records at the Reagan National Airport, Terminal C, Arlington. Free. (703) 417-1087. (Mike Kanin)