You might have thought that the cougar concept was relatively modern, but Diane de Poitiers was 20 years older than her royal toyboy lover, King Henry II. Despite contemporary reports that claim the 16th century mistress looked 30 when in fact she was more than twice that age, it seems that aging was a real issue for Diane.
Most would agree that jewellery is meant to be worn but French forensic experts believe that Diane de Poitiers drank gold in an attempt to preserve her youth. Today, beauty buffs prefer expensive creams, peels or Botox, and unlike the 16th century beauty treatment, they don’t cause hair loss, bone degeneration or death.
King Henry II’s favourite mistress, Diane de Poitiers, died in 1566 at age 66. After excavating her remains last year, French forensic experts said her hair contained high traces of gold. They also analysed Diane’s bones and found traces of mercury. Considering Diane was not a queen and did not wear a crown, experts seem to think her pale face, thinning hair and fragile bones – common symptoms of chronic gold intoxication and mercury poisoning – are indicative of her beauty regime.
It is believed that during the 16th century, alchemists would prescribe solutions made up of gold chloride and diethyl ether to treat a host of ailments. Mercury was also apparently used in the preparation of such gold remedies. Drinking liquid gold was regarded by the French court at the time to be the key to maintaining a youthful appearance, but according to the findings published in the British medical journal, it eventually killed Diane de Poitiers.
What does that say about our so-called, modern-day, image-obsessed society?