5 of the Most Compelling Couples in History
Most couples are content to build their lives and their families as they try to maintain the spark that started it all. Doing that may seem like a Slots Play Casinos toss-up but throughout history there have been couples whose passion ignited great art, political instability, war, controversy and other major unheavals.
Check out five stories of real life historical couples whose love contributed to the historical happenings of their day.
Manuelita Sáenz and Simón Bolivar
Doña Manuela Sáenz de Vergara y Aizpuru, a Peruvian socialite who had youth, beauty, wealth and an adoring husband, supported the South American revolutionary cause by distributing leaflets, protesting for women’s rights and gathering information for the revolution.
She met Bolivar at a ball and the two began an 8-year relationship, living together while Bolivar moved from one country to the other while to direct the revolution. Manuelita confronted mutinous officers with a sword in 1828 and prevented Bolivar’s assassination, after which Bolivar gave her the name “Libertadora del Libertador“.
Manuelita fought alongside Bolivar and his soldiers and became the feminist symbol of the 19th century South American wars for independence. Bolivar died in 1830 and Manuelita was exiled, first to Jamaica and later to a small rural area of Peru where she lived out her life in poverty.
Manuelita is remembered for being, not only Bolivar’s lover but also his friend, confidante and fellow revolutionary. She inspired him and his cause.
Anthony and Cleopatra
The story of Anthony and Cleopatra has been told and retold numerous times, most recently in the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton 1963 film where another of history’s most famous couples played out their own love story on the screen.
Cleopatra was the head of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was elevated to position of co-ruler of Egypt in 51 BC together with her brother Ptolemy XIII, whom she married. The two soon fell out and Julius Caesar was summoned to Egypt to broker a peace. Caesar became Cleopatra’s lover and the new alliance allowed Cleopatra to return to the throne. Cleopatra gave birth to Caesar’s son, Ptolemy XV Caesar (called Caesarion – “little Caesar).
Caesar was murdered in 44 BC and Cleopatra met Mark Anthony soon afterward. Cleopatra gave birth to Anthony’s twins, a boy and a girl – Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. Anthony and Cleopatra settled down in Alexandra but back in Rome Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew, began to scheme to take the throne.
Anthony married Octavian’s sister, Octavia to keep the peace but continued his relationship with Cleopatra. They proclaimed Caesarion to be Caesar’s son which meant that Caesarion was Caesar’s rightful son and heir – not Octavian who was only Caesar’s son by adoption.
Octavian was incensed when Anthony named Caesarion “king of kings” which challenged his rule, He riled up the Roman Senate when he announced that Anthony was giving Rome to a foreign ruler. The Senate declared war against Cleopatra and, facing ruin, the two lovers committed suicide. They were buried together in Rome.
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
For those who think that the Prince Harry/Megan Markle drama was a shock to the royal family, it’s a good idea to read a little bit about Harry’s predecessor, King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne of England in order to marry his love, an American divorcee.
Edward first met Wallis Simpson when he was still the Prince of Wales and they embarked on an affair, even though Simpson was married. After Edward was crowned king he declared that he wanted to marry his love, who had divorced her husband (2nd divorce for her) but the Archbishop of Canterbury wouldn’t allow the marriage of the Head of the Church of England (Edward’s position as king to a divorcee.
After the Prime Minister made it clear to Edward that the marriage would not be accepted by the public, Edward declared that he would abdicate the throne “for the woman I love” and he did so, becoming the Duke of Windsor. Edward and Simpson married and lived out their lives together.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
Elizabeth Barrett was born to a wealthy family in 19th century England. She suffered from ill health in her youth and became reclusive as her family sought to protect her from the wider world. By the time that she was in her 30s she had published Greek translations and literary criticism but was best known for her poetry and was in conversation with England’s most renowned poets.
At age 40 Elizabeth came across the dramatic monologues and poetry of Robert Browning. They met and fell in love but were forced to contend with Elizabeth’s father who disliked Browning. The courtship continued in secret and at age 40, in 1846, Barrett eloped with Browning.
The couple went to Italy where they had a son. Elizabeth’s work flourished, in particular, a book of sonnets that chronicled the couple’s love, Sonnets from the Portuguese and a blank-verse novel Aurora Leigh which became a bestseller. Browning’s work also gained recognition by critics. Elizabeth died in 1861 in her husband’s arms.
John and Abigail Adams
In an age in which women had very little influence in the public sphere, Abigail Adams quietly bucked the trend. Her husband, 2nd president of the United States, had so much trust and faith in her that he used her as his political advisor and confidante on matters of state that took them through revolution, scandal, diplomatic crises, war and the birth of a new nation.
John Adam’s duties as one of the Fathers of the Revolution and the Founders of the United States kept them apart for months, even years at a time but their correspondence — more than 1000 letters – attests to the fact that they were devoted to each other and trusted each other implicitly. John was inspired by Abigail’s embrace of the concept of independence and took her views into consideration as he helped lay the foundations of the new nation.