We are reliving some tragic love stories from the past, which just might ruffle up some romantic feelings and get your heart fluttering. “Five of History’s Most Tragic Love Stories,” illustrates how painful the sting of Cupid’s arrow can be, especially when a fabulous love story is abruptly ended. Tragic romances are difficult to live through, but riveting to read about. See for yourself!
1. The Tragic Love Story of Andrew Jackson and Rachel DonelsonAndrew Jackson believed he’d married his soul mate, Rachel Donelson, in 1791. They had fallen madly in love and were determined to be together, despite the fact that Donelson was already married to Lewis Robards from Kentucky.
Robards agreed to a divorce. Unbeknownst to Donelson, Robards did not file the papers until two years after she’d already “wedded” Jackson, voiding the marriage. (Needless to say, any type of divorce back then was highly frowned upon.)
Politics being politics – whatever the year – Jackson’s rivals proclaimed Rachel Donelson to be a loose and wanton woman; certainly not what America expected and deserved for their First Lady.
The politically-backed attack on Donelson, who was already suffering from issues with her heart, was unrelenting. Already highly stressed, the vicious verbal attack taxed her physical condition to the limit.
Donelson suffered a heart attack two months before Jackson was slated to take office, and the doctors were unable to revive her.
Jackson clung to his wife for hours on her death bed – long after she’d released her last breath. He clutched her to his heart, hoping that she would somehow, someway revive and return to him. Sadly, it was not to be.
2. The Great Love Story of Cleopatra and Mark AntonyCleopatra first locked her incredible cat-like eyes upon Mark Antony when the Roman Republic was embroiled in an uproar in 41 B.C. The Egyptian queen quickly seduced this handsome (and married) general and they forged a romantic connection that eventually merged into a political pact between their two territories.
This pact was immediately suspect by some. Antony’s former partner, Octavian (deigned to be emperor), even persuaded the Roman senate that Cleopatra was using her feminine wiles on Antony to get him to do her bidding.
Antony’s intense ambition and ego were the perfect fodder for her sneaky ways. Eventually Octavian declared war on Antony in 31 B.C. Cleopatra and Antony refused the risk of becoming prisoners so they both committed suicide.
If the love affair were to continue, it would have to do so on the “other” side. You know you’ve got one of the most tragic love stories in history when Shakespeare wrote about them.
3. The Tragic Love Story of Heloise and AbelardAs noted, Shakespeare penned the story of Antony and Cleopatra, but he wasn’t the only literary genius to pen a work about real life lovers. Alexander Pope (a poet from the UK) was so enamored with the great, tragic love story of Abelard and Heloise that he fashioned their incredible experiences into a literary gem.
Heloise was 19 years old and living in France in the mid-12th century when her uncle hired Abelard to be her live-in tutor. Although Abelard was older than her by almost two decades, a love affair between the two intellectuals ensued. A child named Astrolabe was produced out-of-wedlock.
Heloise’s uncle learned of the love affair and was enraged. He ordered that Abelard be castrated. Heloise fled to a convent.
Meanwhile, Abelard was exiled to Brittany, where he entered a monastery. Although fate decreed that they were not to see nor touch each other again physically, they wrote many stunning love letters to each other until their deaths. An excerpt of a letter from Heloise to Abelard follows:
“Having lost the substantial pleasures of seeing and possessing you, I shall in some measure compensate this loss by the satisfaction I shall find in your writing. There I shall read your most sacred thoughts; I shall carry them always about with me, I shall kiss them every moment; if you can be capable of jealousy let it be for the fond caresses I shall bestow upon your letters, and envy only the happiness of those rivals.”
4. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz MahalImagine having someone love you so intensely that when you died they were instantly compelled to erect a structure akin to the Taj Mahal in homage…
Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Shah Jahan, was the impetus behind the building of the magnificent Taj Mahal in the 17th century. Shah Jahan ordered the Taj Mahal built specifically to serve as the astounding mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their child.
Mumtaz Mahal, whose name means, “Jewel of the Palace,” found her final resting place within the structure 23 years after her death. In 1666, Shah Jahan was interred there as well, beside his dear “Jewel of the Palace.”
5. Royal Romance: Queen Victoria and Prince AlbertWithout a doubt one of the great love stories in history is Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. This couple from the British royal family was seemingly hewn not from silk, rubies, diamonds, and crowns, but from the cloth of truth, adoration, and love.
Interestingly, it was Queen Victoria who proposed to Albert. She was smitten by the dapper young man’s personality and good looks. In a letter to her uncle, the charmed young Queen Victoria wrote: ‘He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable too,’ she writes, adding: ‘He has besides, the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance, you can possibly see.’
When the Prince passed away at just 42 years of age, Queen Victoria was beyond heartbroken. It has been said that she never fully recovered during the remaining 40 years of her life, and her wardrobe centered upon the color black as an indication of her perpetual mourning.
Upon her death in 1901, Queen Victoria was interred in the same mausoleum as Albert. The following inscription is written upon the mausoleum door: “Farewell best beloved, here at last I shall rest with thee, with thee in Christ I shall rise again.”