The true origin of Valentine’s Day may never by known. In fact, that is the reason this curious holiday is so romantic. No one can really pinpoint a reason we celebrate it! Throughout history, there have been many ways, and not just on February 14th mind, that people have demonstrated their love through their actions. So to honor this now candy ridden day of love, I shall give to you that most loving acts of romanticism and…well, love! Now most people know a few even though most come from literature. The most famous being Romeo and Juliet. How about Tristan and Isolde? Marc Anthony and Cleopatra? Well, some might be works of pure fiction, some based in reality…but what about real acts of love? The ones you hear about and say “Wow! He did that for a girl?”.
So here, on this Valentine’s Day I give you some of history’s most incredible acts of love!
Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards
What would you do for love? How about marry the man of your dreams…while still married to your first husband? That is exactly what Rachel did when she married Andrew Jackson. When the news came out, she promptly divorced and then remarried Jackson. The problem? Back then, it was frowned upon to divorce so poor Rachel was insulted as a woman of loose morals. Jackson’s act of love in return? He fought many duels defending Rachel’s honor especially during his election campaign. Sadly, Rachel died a few months before taking office and Jackson never remarried.
Antony and Cleopatra
Now let’s talk about these two. I certainly hope you all know them. So what did they do for love? Marc Antony left Rome, “married” Cleopatra, had more children with her, and then respectfully killed themselves before the Emperor Octavius could kill them both since she claimed to have the true heir of Rome and Julius Caesar. That must be love. And Cleopatra? The popular theory is that she had a snake, an asp, bite her. Now that really is love!
Napoleon and Josephine
The homely looking, vertically challenged Emperor of France and the gentle widowed Parisian socialite had anything but a conventional relationship. After Napoleon forgave Josephine’s adulterous affairs while embarked on a series of military campaigns, he then divorced her for not being able to give him a son once he was crowned emperor. Later upon his exile to the island of Elba, the dedicated Jospehine asked to join him there but she died before his response letter arrived. Once back from exile, Napoleon picked violets from Josephine’s garden and kept them in his pocket until the day he died.
Victoria and Albert
What a sensational love! This is a love that actually defined Queen Victoria’s monarchy. After meeting a few times and exchanging many youthful letters, Victoria proposed to Albert (since she had her own throne) and the couple married and had 9 children. Sadly, 20 years into their marriage Albert died of typhoid and Victoria never recovered. As a matter of fact, the great queen was in mourning until the day she died. She would lay out Albert’s clothes every morning and dedicated many museums and concert halls in his name.
King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
What did Edward do for love? He gave up the British throne for the love of a twice divorcee. When the couple met, Wallis was still married to her second husband and WWII was several years away. When Edward took the throne, Hitler had made his intentions known, but it was Wallis’ love that Edward desired. So after only 9 months on the throne of England, Edward abdicated and married the love of his life, Wallis. No one from the royal family attended his wedding and the two lived in exile in France for the rest of their lives. That is a very strong love affair!
Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan
Don’t know them? You should! This is the ultimate act of love! This love resulted in one of the world’s most spectacular structures ever built…The Taj Mahal! Mahal bore the Shah 14 children and grew to become his favorite wife. When she died in 1629, the grieving emperor resolved to create a fitting monument to his true love. The interior is lavishly decorated in lapis lazuli, turquoise, agate, jasper, and colored marble. The exterior is paved with semiprecious stones that sparkle in the sun. The surrounding garden contains four water channels representing the four rivers of Islamic paradise. He had planned to make a black mausoleum for himself but was deposed by his son. He was, however, buried beside Mahal.