Homely Queen with a Cupid's Bow Mouth
In fact, this royal figure — despite the cute Cupid’s-bow mouth — was such a homely newborn upon her arrival in 1543 that her parents, the Margrave and Margravine of Baden-Baden, Württemberg, named her Homelia Josepha Annunciato Seraphime auf Württemberg (or Homely Jasaw for short).
Though born into only a moderately prominent tier of southern German nobility — just below a Marchioness and a Marquise, but just above a Countess — Homely Jasaw proved to be quite calculating and resourceful. Using her shrewd shrew-like nose to sniff the political winds, and her plain looks and sleepy, baggy eyes to lull opponents into underestimating her, she was able to successfully maneuver up the ranks, past Marchioness and Infanta, Duchess and Grand Princessa.
By 1557, at the precocious age of only 14, she became Archduchess of Baden-Baden, by marrying the decidedly unattractive, doughy, diet-phobic and diabetic Archduke D’Artagnan Dimwiddie of Karlsruhe. Upon the poor Archduke’s descent into a diabetic coma brought on by an especially rich wedding-night Linzer Torte, the Archduchess became Baden-Baden’s sole ruler. Within a decade (after considerable additional court intrigue), she ascended to the throne as the widow Queen of Württemberg.
The ensuing 67-year-reign of Queen Homelia the First — a period of great peace and prosperity for all Württembergers — gave rise to that well-known maxim: “Never judge a Queen by her nose.”
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