Royal Mistresses: Could Kings Marry for Love?


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At all times the clergy has been adamantly opposed to a divorce. Whether it was a family of commoner or a royal person, the divorce considered to be as negative as a sin. However, not all kings were following the rules and considered marrying for love as an option. They neglected the prohibition of the church and married those, whom they wanted to live their life with. Besides, they got divorced if they wanted. What is more, they did not care much about the future of their ex-wives. The most popular solution at that time was to send the ex-wife into the monastery. We offer you to have a look at the following facts in order find the brightest cases of royal mistresses in history.

For instance, Henry VIII was one of those monarchs who changed his betrothed often. His first wife was “inherited” from his elder brother. The union was necessary in order to make peace between England and Spain. The wife gave birth to a number of daughters but the monarch needed a boy to become a prince. Then he asked for the Pope’s permission to divorce her. After he was refused, the king broke off his relations with the pontiff and sent his wife to a remote castle. Thus, Anna Boleyn became the second wife of Henry.

However, she was accused of cheating and, therefore, was executed. Afterward, the king’s bed was shared by Boleyn Jane Seymour, the maid of honor, and Anna Cleves. By the way, the monarch new the latter one only from her portrait. Thus, once he saw the bride for real, he decided to send her back. The next wife was Anna Boleyn’s cousin – Catherine Howard. Her fate was the same as her Anna’s  - she was executed for cheating on the king. Finally, the monarch found peace with Catherine Parr and spent the rest of their lives together.

Philip II, who had been ruling France for over 40 years, managed to change only three spouses. But how!? The first wife died during childbirth. The king had to find another wife. At first, he was attracted to a dowry of Ingeborga, the Danish princess. He never got a chance to marry her though. Philippe refused to marry her, saying she was disgusting. The funny thing is that the dowry remained to the king. He got the Pope's permission, and the marriage was terminated, but France was deprived of the right provide any church ceremonies. Therefore, Philip could not marry for the second time legally. Well, it did not stop the monarch, as he decided to marry Agnes Meran. After her sudden death, he returned Ingeborga to the palace and finally made her the queen with all the rights and privileges. Unfortunately, the king did not have the chance to marry for love ever after.

The brightest monarch in our list is Tsar Ivan IV. He was changing his wives suspiciously often. Some historical chronicles tell that the monarch was married for seven times. Not to mention that the period was far from the one when people did start marrying for love. According to the historians, Ivan's first wife, Anastasia Zakharina, was the most beloved one. She married him at the age of seventeen and had lived together for 13 years. Her death became a heavy blow to the mental health of the ruler. Here is another interesting fact about Ivan the Terrible: he was spending his life with Maria Temryukova, Martha Sobakina, Anna Kotlovskaya, Anna Vasilchikova, and Vasilisa Melentieva. All of them died young – some died because of diseases, some were buried alive. The last wife, Marta Nagaya, made the tsar even more melancholic, and he was thinking to get rid of her, but ... he died first.