Love Affairs that Affected History

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
Seeing the way Prince Edward gave up his throne for a married American woman (Wallis Simpson) and the scandal it created made me wonder if there have been other love affairs that shocked nations?
 

jackydee

Ad Honorem
Jan 2013
4,569
Brigadoon
Seeing the way Prince Edward gave up his throne for a married American woman (Wallis Simpson) and the scandal it created made me wonder if there have been other love affairs that shocked nations?
Cleopatra, twice!
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
The first murderer in American history to be acquitted on the grounds of 'temporary insanity' was a cuckolded husband.

Daniel Sickles was a prominent New York politician in the years leading up to the American Civil War. He was known as a colorful and outrageous personality, as well as an aggressive lady's man. He married a girl half his age, but proceeded to neglect her in favor of his older mistresses, so she in turn began cheating (her lover was none other than Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key).

When Sickles found out, he confronted Key across the street from the White House, and gunned him down. Sickles was arrested, but plead insanity, and was acquitted thanks to both his political and his medical connections. Later on he became a general and a prolific recruiter for the Union during the Civil War, until the Battle of Gettysburg, where he lost his leg (it was put on display in a museum, and he was prone to visiting it later in life). Sickles refused to divorce his young wife, but he continued with his own womanizing ways. While serving as a minister to Spain, he supposedly became the Queen's lover and thus became known as "the Yankee King of Spain".
 
Jan 2013
622
Texas
I have a couple.

Marc Antony and Cleopatra.

Henry VIII and all of his six wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr).
 

gladiatrice

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
3,463
Montreal, QC
King Charles II and Lucy Walter, Nell Gwynne, Moll Davis, Barbara Villiers, Hortense Mancini, Catherine Pegge, Louise de Kerouaille, Elizabeth Killigrew and Winifred Wells. Over 14 bastards, one of which who tried to make a grab for the throne and got his head cut off in 8 blows. Ouch. In all seriousness, Charles' infidelity and Catherine of Braganza's inability to carry a child to full term really shaped early modern England. With no legitimate Protestant heir, the only option was to give it to James II, and we all know how that turned out. :p
 

Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold- She was probably the initial link between Arnold and Maj. Andre
 

Space Shark

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,474
Redneck Country, AKA Texas
I have a couple.

Marc Antony and Cleopatra.

Henry VIII and all of his six wives (Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr).
I would say her more than the other five put together. It was her that Henry broke from the Catholic Church for after all.
 

Tercios Espanoles

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
6,680
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydville. Secretly marrying a commoner and raising the status of her family created factions and rivalries in England that would lead to rebellion, murder, war and the end of a dynasty.
 

History Chick

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,336
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
There's been countless relationships which have shocked nations, but not necessarily affected political history.

Both of Eleanor of Aquitaine's marriages to Louis VII of France and later, Henry II of England were pretty scandalous. When she'd had enough of her monkish first husband, she demanded a divorce - eventually got one, then immediately married the soon to be Henry II of England, who she was likely having an affair with before her divorce came through. She's also suspected of other affairs. Then, as Henry's wife she was accused of being involved in her son's rebellions and put under house arrest for many years. Not only scandalous but certainly influenced the courses of two nations.
Eleanor of Aquitaine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer. Never married but had a notorious love affair that led to the disposal of Edward II and Mortimer's de facto rule of England for several years: Isabella of France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And for that matter, Edward II and Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser the Younger:
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piers_Gaveston]Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Despenser_the_Younger]Hugh Despenser the Younger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]


Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek had a rather scandalous morganatic marriage that certainly didn't help in the lead up to WWI: Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend - don't think this influenced politics in any way but it was fairly scandalous, mostly because Townsend was divorced and Elizabeth wouldn't give her approval for them to marry. Also, there was a 16 year age difference and Margaret was quite young at the time (17 I think?): Peter Townsend (RAF officer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

BRIAN GOWER

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
4,468
Gwendraeth Valley, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Seeing the way Prince Edward gave up his throne for a married American woman (Wallis Simpson) and the scandal it created made me wonder if there have been other love affairs that shocked nations?
Prince Edward:)? He was King Edward VIII later HRH the Duke of Windsor.