Letters, strikes, abdications … the great romantic gestures of royalty

Although they always try to maintain a certain correctness to adhere to the labels and protocols and respect their public image, the royals have also starred in great love stories. And in them there has been room for great romantic gestures, which have only understood feelings and not status, treatments or titles. Some are worthy of a love movie script. And we talk both about the couples we know today and some older ones, at a time when it seemed unthinkable that there were feelings in real marriages, when most of the weddings were arranged for social, political or economic interests.

This is precisely the case of the Queen Victoria of England, which is called the grandmother of Europe, since practically all European royal houses are related to her in some way, since their nine children and 26 of their 42 grandchildren they married members of the Gotha. Like so many others of the time, her bond with Alberto Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha, one of her maternal cousins, was arranged by his mother and uncles -one of them, Alberto’s own father-. The difference is that she had the same interest in marrying him, and not only because of the attraction she felt, but because she saw the wedding as the way to get rid of his mother, with which he did not get along at all. In fact, it was she who proposed to him, marrying soon after and describing in her diary the wedding night as “the happiest of her life”. When Albert died 22 years later, Queen Victoria was devastated and limited her public appearances to a minimum, in addition to wear mourning for him the 40 years that remained of his life.

Queen Victoria, in mourning. (Public domain)

Continuing in the United Kingdom, one of the great romantic feats that are remembered – at least in the face of public opinion – is the effort that Edward VII to marry his love, Wallis Simpson, facing the Government and the Royal House. As head of the Anglican Church, he was not allowed to marry a divorced woman. Much less could she be considered for the role of queen consort. The explanation for his abdication was that he could not conceive of carrying out his royal duty “without having the woman he loved by his side”. So, yes, it may seem like a more than romantic feat, but everything has nuances, since his relations with the Nazis and his difficult personality also made the Government had no problem in showing him where the exit door was. It’s more, Simpson never asked him to abdicate, since she would have settled for her role as a lover of a monarch. In fact, the American’s response when she learned her decision remains for history: “You can’t be more stupid”.

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The figure of Wallis Simpson has been much remembered in the United Kingdom since Meghan Markle became part of the Royal Household, since they shared the American origin and being divorced women. But in this case the sacrifice was made by her, since abandoned her acting career to be able to marry Harry and face his institutional duties. Of course, it did not last long, since the couple decided to give up their royal role, move away from Buckingham and media pressures and be financially independent.

Meghan Markle and Wallis Simpson. (Getty)

Along the same lines of renouncing previous professions, we find Grace Kelly, who left behind her acting career – including an Oscar award – to become Princess of Monaco. And a much closer case in time and space: Queen Letizia presented her latest newscast on October 31, 2003. It would be the last time he would work as a journalist before committing himself to the then Prince of Asturias and dedicating himself, from that day on, to working for the Crown.

Many royals have also had to give up their inheritance rights and their titles to be able to share your life with the chosen person. The most recent case is that of Princess Mako of Japan, daughter of the crown prince and niece of the current Emperor Naruhito. The deceased had to do the same prince frieze, since he met with the frontal opposition of both his family and the Government to be able to marry the now Princess Mabel, due to her somewhat dark past, in which she had been related to an acquaintance drug trafficker and with the country’s secret services.

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We also have two similar cases in Norway. One of Harald’s sisters, Ragnhild, – now deceased- he gave up his pay, titles and rights to be able to marry his bodyguard, becoming the first european princess that she was marrying a commoner. His sister Astrid she went even further to marry Johan Martin, the son of a department store owner whom she had fallen madly in love with in her youth. His could not be and he got tired of waiting, so he even married another woman. Once divorced, they tried again and did much more. Astrid even went on strike for her father to consent to the relationship. He succeeded reluctantly, with the people and the Church against him, and after renouncing his treatment of royal highness.

Astrid from Norway and Johan Martin, at their wedding. (Cordon Press)

But not everything is sacrifices to show feelings. There are also other types of unforgettable gestures in the love stories of royalty that have not implied that either of the two parties make big resignations. The happy years of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana they were riddled with winks, usually from her. On her wedding day, on the soles of her shoes you could read a C and a D, corresponding to their initials. And years later, he did not hesitate to take the stage of the Royal Opera House to honor her husband with a dance. A very romantic gesture, yes, but one that the Prince of Wales did not appreciate much, rather the opposite, according to the chronicles of the time.

Marta Luisa from Norway and Ari Behn They ended up divorcing, but their love story was one of those that make time. She too you waived your rights and treatment to be able to marry him, but the truth is that the writer knew how to correspond her with an unforgettable request for a hand. Behn created a I walk with white lilies, which Marta Luisa had to follow until she found the room where her partner was, knee on the ground and ring in hand: “He is the man who makes me shine. Ari has helped me find the essence of who I am,” said the princess when he announced his engagement.

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Marta Luisa and Ari Behn. (Getty)

Continuing with the Nordic monarchies, we cannot forget one of the most tender gestures that royals have known and that Prince Daniel revealed during his wedding speech. Months before, he had had to separate for a month from Princess Victoria, as he was going to perform a asian tour to strengthen ties between countries, in her role as future queen. When he was gone, Daniel found a box with 30 handwritten love letters for his girlfriend. One for each day they were to be apart.

Of course, Victoria had a great love story as a reference, that of her great-uncle Bertil y Lilian May Davies, a British divorced and without noble ancestry, with which she had all the ballots not to be considered very suitable to spend her life with him. The death in 1947 of Gustavo AdolfoHereditary prince and father of the current king, he had all eyes on Bertil, since he was the brother of the then monarch and it was not ruled out that he would have to act as regent. The possibility of a wedding with Lilian vanished, who did not mind not going through the altar to be with him. They continued their courtship for 33 years and they got married in 1976, with the approval of King Carlos Gustavo, who kept the hereditary rights and titles of his uncle. After his death, Lilian continued to participate in acts of the Royal Household and became one of the most beloved members of the Bernadotte family. In fact, Princess Magdalena wanted to honor her with the name of her first-born, Leonore Lilian Maria.

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