20 Historic Events Too Weird, Wild, or Dumb For the Movies

Michel Sittow’s other portraiture: a woman identified as Catharine of Aragon on the left and a traditional Madonna and Child on the right. Wikimedia Commons

19. Fifteenth Century French King’s Mistress Started a Fad of Walking With a Bare Breast Hanging Out

French king Charles VII was head over heels in love with his mistress, Agnes Sorel (1422 – 1450), who bore him four daughters. A stunner who deserved her nickname, “The Lady of Beauty”, Sorel was the first famous French royal mistress. She throve in the limelight, reveled in being the center of attention, and went out of her way to ensure that she became and remained a constant subject of gossip. One way she did that was by walking around with one naked boob hanging out.

Sorel’s sense of style was widely imitated, leading a prominent bishop to denounce the new fad of “front openings through which ones sees the teats, nipples, and breasts of women”. Many of the contemporaries who praised Sorel’s beauty also denounced her as a “bad example to modest and honest women”. However, she could afford to ignore them, because the one person who mattered the most, king Charles, was besotted with her. However, Sorel was more than just an attention-seeking bimbo: she used her influence over the otherwise weak Charles VII to encourage him to resist the invading English, then rampaging through France.