July 17, 2012

Royal Love Stories

When Diana had her fairy tale wedding, she looked every bit like Cinderella  The hair, the beauty, and all the lavish things the British Royal family could offer to the new couple. But forget not how that love story ended. Yep, not a happily ever after. This is Life anyway.

The past few months, I began to do a mini research on various Royalties from times long gone  A Royal couple, what comes to mind? Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII or Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI?? What surprised me is the treasure of romantic events that spun in and out the Kings, Queens and Princesses of all kinds, and some are almost quite unknown to the general public. I am now here to share three of my favorite tales:

1.Anastasia Romanov and Ivan the Terrible

If anyone ever managed to stay awake in your history lessons, the name Ivan the Terrible would be familiar. Remember the Massacre of Novgorod? The bloodshed and all other madness that baptised Ivan as THE Terrible? It has its origins.

The son of Vasili III and his second wife, Elena Glinskaya, he bacame Moscow's Grand Prince at three years or age. Growing up, the young Ivan was maltreated by the leading boyars of that day. But during his teenage years, the Prince was able to control the government and soon became the absolute ruler as Russia's First Tsar.

The same year of his coronation, a selection process for a wife was held. All the noble families throughout Russia were asked to present their eligible daughters resulting about more or less1000 girls to choose from. Among these numbers Ivan chose Anastasia Romanovna daughter of the obscure and ancient noble family of Romanovs. Fortunately it was the perfect match. It was during their time together that a benevolent tsar had a brilliant reign.

She not only gave birth to six children, it was also common knowledge throughout Russia that she was the only one capable of calming her husband's violent moods.

In 1560, after 13 years of marriage,  Anastasia died and Ivan was devastated. he was said to he was so weakened with his crying at her funeral he could not stand up. Ivan turned for the worst, blaming boyars for allegedly poisoning her. He did try to abdicate his throne though but unfortunately, was urged back to power and all hell broke loose as  Ivan’s mental state was continually deteriorating, a violent era never before seen in Russian history

He married several more times after her death but the course of history will never be the same again...

2.Eleanor of Castile and Edward I of England

Ever wondered how it is being ten years old and married to a 15 year old? Eleanor does. She was married to Edward of Westminster at Las Huelgas, but it was not until she was 18 when they first consummated their marriage. Arranged royal marriages at a very young age in the Middle Ages were not unusual nor always happy, but available evidence indicates that Eleanor and Edward were very much in love.

Edward is in fact one of the few English kings whose record in extramarital affairs is squeaky clean. He and Eleanor are inseparable with even going to the crusades with him and in one military campaign in Wales on 25 April 1284, she notable gave birth to their son Edward in a temporary dwelling erected for her amid the construction of Caernarfon Castle. Another note worthy tale is when a poison arrow struck Edward during one of the said Crusades, Eleanor sucked the poison out in order to save his life.

Edward disliked elaborate ceremonies that requires the King and in 1290 refused to attend the marriage of Earl Marshal Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk; Eleanor thoughtfully paid some minstrels to play for her husband while he sat alone during the wedding. During their thirty-six years of marriage she bore him sixteen children.

A devastated King Edward honored his beloved wife's memory by erecting the now famous Eleanor crosses at every stopping place of the quen's funeral procession during the journey from St. Catherine's to Westminster Abbey.

Despite his grief, political duty made Edward marry again. This time to Marguerite of France, but this does not mean he did not continue to mourn Eleanor. He attended memorial services for Eleanor to the end of his life. Eloquent testimony is found in his letter to the abbot of Cluny in France seeking prayers for the soul of the wife “whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love.”

3. Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoléon Bonaparte

Josephine was from the Creole family who struggled financially. Soon she married Alexandre de Beauharnais but was unfortunately sentenced to death during the Reign of Terror and was soon executed.

In 1795, she met General Napoléon Bonaparte, six years her junior, and became his mistress.
In January 1796, Napoléon Bonaparte proposed to her. Until meeting Bonaparte, she was known as Rose, but he didn't like her name, since it was used by her prior lovers, so he told her he would call her Josephine. They were married and a few days later Napoleon departed to Italy. He genuinely loved Josephine at this time. She despised him. Two days after the wedding, Bonaparte left to lead the French army in Italy, and during their separation, sent her many love letters.
Many of which are still intact today, while very few of hers have been found.

"I have not spent a day without loving you; I have not spent a night without embracing you; I have not so much as drunk a single cup of tea without cursing the pride and ambition which force me to remain separated from the moving spirit of my life."-Napoleon to Josephine
Unfortunately, as soon as her new husband was gone she began playing around. Josephine had a string of lovers during Napoleon's absence, pretended to miss him in her letters, and did everything in her power to avoid joining him in Italy, in which he begged her for their honeymoon.

The rumours finally reached Bonaparte. At first, He denied these rumors to himself. But when it had became imminent, he was so devastated that his love for her changed entirely.. From this time onward, he never loved another woman the way he had loved Josephine.

When the couple met again short after, Josephine found Napoleon had secluded himself in a room in the house. All of a sudden, after all of her affairs, Josephine had finally learned to love her husband. But it was too late. A heartbroken Napoleon informed Josephine that she had killed his heart and that he could never love again.

In retaliation, Napoléon Bonaparte started  a strings affairs of his own, not making any efforts to hide them. His letters became less loving. No subsequent affairs on Joséphine's side are recorded, but Napoléon continued to have sexual affairs with other women. Now it is Joséphine’s turn to be jealous.

As Empress, Joséphine was popular, known for kindness and generosity to foundlings. But despite her popularity, it became clear after a few years, that she could not have bear an heir, Napoléon while he still loved Joséphine, began to think very seriously about the possibility of divorce.

At dinner on 30 November 1809, he let Joséphine know that — in the interest of France — he must find a wife who could produce an heir. From the next room, Napoléon’s secretary heard the screams.

"No, I can never survive it!" Joséphine cried, and collapsed. The following day servants took her possessions to Malmaison, which was to remain her home. She continued to make public appearances as Empress, but the impending divorce was common knowledge.

The soon to be second wife of Napoleon, Marie Louise, only nineteen years old, was terrified. She wrote in her diary "...to see the man would be the worst form of torture." Nevertheless she bowed to the will of her father, and prepared for marriage. She will soon learn to adore her husband though.

Napoleon on the other hand, had grown to love Josephine--not the great love he held for her in the beginning--but a respectful love. He insisted that Josephine retain the title of Empress. "It is my will that she retain the rank and title of Empress, and especially that she never doubt my sentiments, and that she ever hold me as her best and dearest friend."

Napoleon never saw them again. Josephine continued to love Napoleon and later in the year, as she was dying from diphtheria, Napoleon's name was one of the last words she uttered. Napoleon learned of her death via a French journal while in exile on Elba, and stayed locked in his room for two days, refusing to see anyone. Josephine had surrounded herself with the sight and scent of violets. Napoleon visited Malmaison and collected violets from Josephine’s magnificent rose garden. He would wear them in a locket until his death.

He claimed to a friend, while in exile on Saint Helena, that "I truly loved my Joséphine, but I did not respect her." Despite his numerous affairs, eventual divorce, and remarriage, the Emperor's last words on his death bed at St. Helena were: "France, the Army, the Head of the Army, Joséphine."

No comments:

Post a Comment