While a love affair is typically shared between two people, it is hard to imagine just how farreaching its effects can be. The most famous love story in history is Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, which, despite ending in the untimely death of the two lovers, brought warring families together. Can you imagine such a spectrum being replicated between two countries or continents for that matter? A closer look at the state of our world today will most definitely tell you that civilization is a fruit of a series of love relationships, some quite disturbing. Here are the ten true love stories that reshaped the lives of everyone around the lovers, including us.
1 Napoleon Bonaparte & Josephine Beauharnais
Now you may call her his lover or partner, but the fact is everything Napoleon Bonaparte achieved was all because of his relationship with Josephine. Napoleon, a respectable military general, and Rose Taschar, the widow of a guillotined leader of the fallen regime, was an unlikely relationship. They meet when Rosa’s son Eugene, boldly approaches Napoleon requesting permission to keep his executed father’s sword in the face of nationwide disarmament. Napoleon, in impressed by the teenager’s courage and asks to meet his mother leading to the relationship that would change Europe forever. Despite being a queen of a fallen empire and a woman with many lovers herself, Rosa is, to a certain extent, in need of a dominant lover. She has just escaped execution, thanks to the regime change. And despite not being in love with Napoleon at first, tags along while the young general is genuinely in love and very possessive.
They wed in a civil wedding in 1796 despite their 6-year age difference. Napoleon changes her name to Josephine to forget the former Rosa, who had many lovers at court. She has no money to bring to the table, but she has just what a military tactician needs, the command of the whole Italian army thanks to Barres. After their wedding, Napoleon goes for the Italian campaigns and receives the message of her unfaithfulness, leading to anger that hurts the young general deeply. However, when Napoleon comes to France, Josephine has drawn a plan for the coup that ultimately makes Napoleon the emperor. He had no choice but named her the empress in appreciation. She becomes a political partner keeping Napoleon in charge of a divided country until she realizes she cannot get the general what he needs, an heir. They divorce, but she has left the most significant mark of any woman in the history of France.
2 Henry VIII & Ann Boleyn
It is the relationship that led to the breaking off of the church of England from the Roman Catholic church; a split that has never been repaired centuries later. Henry VIII fell for little Anne after first having an eye for her elder sister who is said to have been even more beautiful than Ann. However, Henry was still married to Katherine, and it was very illegal for him to marry Ann Boleyn. So he did what only thing the King of England could do. He divorced Katherine and asked the pope to annul the marriage and wed him to Ann, who was by now his lover after being charmed by her romantic character.
The pope refused, so Charles declared the church of England an independent protestant religion from Rome rooting out all monks and priests that would not abide by this order. After marrying Ann, things turned so as he accused her of Infidelity executing her just 1000 days after the marriage. Some people believe there was a court conspiracy against Ann or that perhaps Ann was unfaithful. But whatever reason the King had, his love for Ann changed the world forever.
3 King Edward VIII & Wallis Simpson
Now depending on how you see it, this may well be the most excellent love story of the British Royal family. King Edward VIII served his father well as the crowned prince representing the crown all over the world on many occasions. But the court aides believed he was never prepared to be the king. He liked partying and entertaining friends. He’s said to have been in multiple relationships with married women until he met Mr. and Mrs. Simpson in 1932. Failing for the married lady immediately changed the British Crown Succession forever. They did not necessarily fall for each other at first sight because the king said they only talked about the weather at their first meeting. It is, however, possible that the two were already in love because they spent the summer vacation together. Ernest Simpson had not even given Wallis a divorce yet.
King George V was not very pleased with this relationship, and neither was queen Mary as everyone in the court called Wallis, “that woman.” Everyone thought their infatuation would just die at some point, but it didn’t. When King George V died in 1936, Edward VIII took office into a reign that would only last 325 days. His twice-divorced bride was at fault with both the parliament and the church. He proposed having a civil marriage in which Wallis would not take the official title. But the church and parliament refused because a living could not take the position of the leader of the holy church. He decided to abdicate because “he could not deliver the duties of a king effectively without the help of the woman he loves.” From then, he became a disgraced king doomed to France as the Duke of Windsor and treated as a lesser royal. He is, however, the only king that left the throne for love in this era.
4 Cleopatra & Mark Antony
It is the most famous story in history connecting the west to the East. Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Egypt, who was accused of having a hand in the death of Julius Caesar. An accusation or which she was invited to Anatolia to explain herself to the handsome emperor Marc Antony in 41BC. On arrival to the royal courts, she fell in love with the handsome emperor who in turn fell in love with her leading to a relationship that the Romans never really appreciated.
Cleopatra and Anthony became lovers and got married to the disappointment of co-emperor Octavian. Mark Anthony had given Cleopatra almost all of the middle east and all neighboring lands and made Egypt very powerful to the extent that Romans got worried. Octavian decided to wedge war on the two lovers, a battle in which he beat Antony, forcing him to flee to Egypt with his lover. He followed them to Egypt. The two lovers, unable to withstand imprisonment and embarrassment, committed suicide ending the eatest love story that united the ever divided West and East.
5 Paris & Helena of Troy
Now, who goes on a royal visit, falls in love with the queen of the foreign land and runs off with the married queen to his kingdom, causing a 10-year siege? That is either very stupid or incredibly selfish. Here is precisely how the story of Paris, the prince of Troy and Helena, the queen of Sparta, the wife of Menelaus, one of the kings of the powerful Greece alliance, goes. Some versions claim that Helena was Kidnapped.
But considering she refused to leave Troy even after being requested to go by all Trojans confirms she was as deeply in love with Paris as he was with her. Menelaus summoned the whole force of Greece and descended on Troy besieging the city for ten years in what is now known to be one of the longest sieges in history. The Greeks finally managed to breach the walls and overrun Troy, killing all the inhabitants of the city of happiness for the love of their prince.
6 Pierre Curie & Marie Curie
Now it isn’t lovely how all love stories seem to end sadly, but this seems to be the trend throughout time. This particular one led to the discovery of Plutonium and other radioactive elements becoming one of the most significant love affairs that ever happened. They met in Sobborne, Paris, where Pierre was working at the University laboratory as young Mary was coming to continue her studies in Physics. Pierre first proposed to her in the early 1890s, but she refused because she planned to go back home to Poland and work at Krakow University. She was however denied a place at the university for being a woman, a decision that devastated her, leading to her decision to stick at Pierre’s lab. They got married in a civil wedding in 1895 with Marie preferring a lab coat to a wedding dress. Their honeymoon was simply a bicycle ride around the Paris countryside.
They started working together at the lab discovering a wide range of radioactive elements that formed the basis for the discovery of Nuclear Fission and later nuclear energy. They won the Nobel prize in 1903 for their research on radiation, a title where Marie had been excluded. But her supportive husband helped her secure a place, becoming the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. When her husband died in a crash in 1906, Marie paid tribute to her by creating a modern lab at the university and taking up his place to become the first woman professor at the university. She sadly died from radiation poisoning a few years later because she never understood the negative impacts of exposure to radiation at the time.
7 J F Kennedy & Judy Exner
There are many conspiracy theories regarding the reason for President Kennedy’s assassination, and this is just one of them. President Kennedy had many extramarital affairs, but this one was quite spectacular because it dragged for long. Judy Exner was also the mistress of the famous crime lord. The relationship strategically ended just a year before his assassination.
Through her affair with Kennedy, she acted as the link between Kennedy and the crime lord Giancana, the “Godfather of Chicago” who allegedly helped Kennedy secure the narrow victory in Illinois. Now, Judy Exner claimed she was not aware of Giancana’s criminal associations, which may well be right. But many people believe that her affair with the two men had a hand in his assassination. If it didn’t, then at least, she helped Kennedy become president, which in itself was very historic.
8 Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor
Now, this is the couple that almost bankrupted Hollywood and made the pope very angry with the industry. Cleopatra, famously known as the film that changed Hollywood featured Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra and Richard Burton as Mark Antony. Cleopatra was the costliest film of its day valued at over $200 million due to lots of location, plot and crew changes and several productions shut downs one caused by the two main actors. Fox had to sell over 300 acres of its land to get enough money to fund the creation of Cleopatra after shutting down all other projects leaving this as the only film in production. The company’s existence was hanging on the shoulders of this couple, making them the most precious couple in Hollywood at the time. They did make a name for themselves with that opportunity.
The couple’s love relationship during the production of the film went a long way in influencing what was finally released. But the problem was, Elizabeth Taylor was still married to Eddie Fisher, her fourth husband at the time. Their much-publicized relationship made them the most famous couple in the 60s despite widespread condemnation from everyone, including the Pope. Their wedding was even more popular because of the Taylor Button Diamond on Taylor’s ring valued at $1 million. They divorced ten years into their marriage after joining hands both on-screen and on the altar as the most celebrated couple in TV history.
9 Gary Hart & Donna Rice
It is the relationship that cost the Democrats the presidency in 1989 thanks to a single photo of the most anticipated democrat nominee carrying a beautiful young mistress on his laps. Senator Garry Hart was the senator for Colorado at the time and the front runner in the Democratic Party Nominations because of his famous handsome figure and charismatic personality. Many people had already predicted him as the best candidate to beat H W Bush. That is why he was already being seen as the next president until disaster struck.
The Herald published photos of Gary Hart with his mistress, 29-year-old Donna Rice, on his laps during a summer vacation on May 3, 1987, a fact the senator had denied vehemently. The scandal was too much for the democrats to bear, forcing the senator to step down from the nominations and end his political career. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts to take his place, a clear weaker candidate who lost Soundly to President Bush.
10 Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
Now, this the story of a British Monarch in love with a German prince. So you can guess how the populace received this. The love story between these two royals is, however, one that ran Britain through the longest British Reign ever. Victoria met Albert in 1836 when he visited for her 17th birthday although the two did not fall in love at first sight. Their love was expressed in the intimate letters they shared about two years later, which culminated in the 1839 engagement when Victoria finally proposed marriage to Albert.
Victoria’s memoirs and diaries in the national archives show that despite her hot temper, Victoria truly loved Albert, which explains her devastation upon his death from Tuberculosis. She retreated from public life for over three years leading to an outcry. When she finally reappeared, Victoria was dressed in black, a trend she maintained for the remaining 40 years of her life. It is said that she continued to order servants to make a warm Bath for Albert even after his death.