Here on Main Street we write fiction, which is my preferred state of being most days. 🙂 I find the lives I create are often so much more exciting than my real life, which to be honest is fine by me, exciting doesn’t always equal a positive. I am not much for real life drama, I prefer my drama in a book or on a screen.
Writers create a great escape for others to leave the stress and worry of their lives behind. We offer characters who are accessible and relatable, who inspire and who almost always find their Happily Ever After. Which is what we all want isn’t it? At least, until we can obtain it for ourselves, reading about it helps! have always thought so anyway.
For this blog I thought it would be interesting to discuss real life love stories. To Google I went, typing in variations of GREATEST REAL LIFE LOVE STORIES to see what I could find. Although I knew a lot of the stories already, I have to say I was rather shocked by the results. There seems to be a popular ten famous love stories on the lists I found, all with two shocking similarities, death and infidelity – sometimes both. Am I to believe that in order to have a GREAT love, one of historical proportions, it must result in death and/or begin with adultery? I hope not, but take a look.
- Marc Antony & Cleopatra – Marc Antony was married and left his wife Octavia for Cleopatra. When Octavia brought an army to revenge their actions, they killed themselves rather than be torn apart. *infidelity & death
- Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor – They were both married when they met, later married and divorced each other twice, before giving up on a life together. Although, both have claimed the other to be the love of their lives, despite marrying other people after their time together. *infidelity
- Tristan & Iseult (Isolde) – Iseult was married to Tristan’s uncle when they met and fell in love. When King Mark finds out about the affair he kills his nephew in a rage and Iseult they died of grief after having seen Tristan’s corpse. *infidelity & death
- Lancelot & Guinevere – Guinevere was married to Lancelot’s friend and “boss” King Arthur when they fell in love. Once their affair was discovered, after years of rumors, Guinevere was sentenced to die by fire for her infidelity. Instead she was sent to a convent where she stayed until death. Lancelot was removed from the Knights of the Round Table and died a lovesick hermit. *infidelity
- Napoleon & Josephine – While married to each other, history reports they both cheated a time or two. Once divorced it is said that Napoleon continued to pine for Josephine (it’s rumored he carried violets from her garden in a locket until his death) and she was the last name on his lips as he died, not that of his current wife. *infidelity
- Prince Edward & Wallis Simpson: Wallis Simpson was married when they met & fell in love, she did eventually get a divorce and married the Prince. But his family was very disapproving of their romance, because of the affair and because she was an American. He eventually abdicated his throne in order to be with Wallis. *infidelity
- Voltaire & Emilie du Chatelet – Emilie was married to a Marquis when she met and fell in love with Voltaire. They did not keep their love a secret and at one time even lived together in a house owned by her husband. They were together until Emilie’s death. *infidelity
- Lord Nelson & Lady Emma Hamilton: Lady Emma was married when they met and fell in love, their affair took London by storm as they did not feel the need to keep it a secret. They even went so far as to live together as lovers in the same home as Lord Nelson. *infidelity
- Prince Khurram & Mumtaz Mahal Begum : Mumatz was the 3rd wife of Prince Khurram and most revered it seems since he built the Taj Mahal in her honor, when she died giving birth to their 14th child. *culturally accepted polygamy (infidelity)
- Prince Saleem & Anarkali – Prince Saleem fell in love with a slave, Anarkali, to the disapproval of his parents. Their love was forbidden and a battle between father and son ensued. When the King won, he demanded Anarkali’s death and Saleem said he would die too. A deal was struck when Anarkali offered her life if they spared Saleem and allowed them one night together, which they were granted, before she was buried alive in a brick tomb that stands today. *death
These are not new stories to me, but I never really looked at them as a group. I have to say I am a little unnerved by the similarities, across cultures and centuries the greatest love stories passed down through time are all tragic. So, to this I say thank you to fiction for creating Happily Ever After’s (Shakespeare with his Romeo & Juliet be Damned 🙂 )! Real life needs writers like us, who make you laugh and smile and fall in love with book boyfriends who won’t cheat on you or sentence you to death!
Needless to say this blog did not go where I thought it would when I started researching earlier this week. It was fun, but not nearly as awe-inspiring or lovely as intended. I think I will settle for a great love, that doesn’t make history – seems the safest bet! LOL
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If you would like to read some of my made up love stuff, lol, check out my website at www.kellyraebooks.com. Wishing you all the best in fiction and real life.
P.s. As I was telling my son (11-years-old) about my day of research for this blog, trying to highlight the death aspect more than the adultery side, he was mostly interested in Helen of Troy and the way she started the Trojan War. He says to me, “Well that just shows you how much we love our women, when we aren’t cheating on them!” Yup, that sums it up…Eh-gads! 😉