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A Queen of Hearts in a House of Cards

Updated on February 25, 2016
BritFlorida profile image

BritFlorida loves to track down historical stories, especially scandals and mysteries from the UK.

Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts | Source

A royal love story - the Queen of Hearts in her House of Cards

I love my ventures into the secret and historical lives of the royals - maybe its because I'm from England and grew up knowing all about the monarchy. There are so many fascinating stories.And they are true stories.

This is another regal story that I think you'll enjoy. It isn't a fairy story but a true tale of a royal marriage that went wrong - you might recognize it - it features a royal prince and the girl he decided to take as his bride.

The young prince, an heir to the throne, knew that he was expected to marry and have children to carry on his bloodline. The millennium, which had seemed so far away when he was a boy, was gradually getting nearer and nearer - time was running out and he wasn't getting any younger.

He knew that his family insisted on the right type of girl to be his queen so he was pleased when he found his princess-to-be; a young, shy girl with dark blonde hair, good child-bearing hips and a suitable demure demeanor.

She was from an excellent family and the prince judged, rightly as it turned out, that she would be popular with his people. But was she really as innocent as she appeared?

Photograph of a portrait of the young princess. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Engagement

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She was flattered by the prince’s attentions. He was older than her, that’s true, but he was tall with sparkling blue eyes and had military training as befits a royal prince; how handsome he looked in his ceremonial military garb. Plus, she knew that one day she would be queen. She was happy to remain playing the part of a modest and sweet young woman throughout their courtship and engagement.

But the prince, and his somewhat reserved family, didn't realize that she was a girl with spirit who ultimately was to regret her decision to marry into the royal life. Times had changed - no longer were wives, even queens or princesses, subservient to their husbands.

Royal wedding

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In due course, the prince and his gentle fiancée were married and her life at the palace began. It was not what she expected at all. In later years she published a book, regarded as extremely scandalous, and wrote ‘For the first time in my life I felt the dreaded trapped sensation that I afterwards experienced so much and I cried bitterly when I contrasted my position to that of other girls...’

Like so many women, her problems started with her in-laws. As the prince had foreseen, his now-stylish wife did become immensely popular with the public and soon eclipsed the rest of the family.

She loved the adulation of the people and made the most of it, much to the envy of her in-laws. Her father-in-law particularly, a man known for his frankness, was insulting and argumentative. She argued back and had terrible temper tantrums. The princess soon realized that when arguments took place, her husband would never defend her.

Royal scandals

Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge

If you're like me, and enjoy reading about royalty throughout the ages, this is a book you must have in your collection.

Royal scandals, affairs, infidelities, indiscretions and children born on the wrong side of wedlock have long been the norm in reigning monarchies.

The story I am relating here is described in this book in great detail.

 

Lovers

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The lonely princess then took part in what she later referred to in her book as ‘harmless friendships’ with other men. It was later discovered that these friendships were far more than she implied. However she dutifully supplied the royal family with two sons, ensuring that there were heirs to the throne. Nevertheless her father-in-law was horrified at the thought of this flighty woman becoming the queen of the land. She was hardly helping with her severe temper tantrums and, let’s face it, love affairs.

Mental instability

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Her affairs, combined with her temper tantrums, gave her in-laws the opportunity to suggest that she was mentally unstable. Certainly many of her actions indicated that there were deep psychological problems. She began to fear that her powerful in-laws would get the better of her. The press of the day soon realized that all was not well at the palace but this only enhanced her image with the public and in general, public opinion was on her side rather than that of the rather stuffy older royals.

Divorce

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It was inevitable that divorce was the next step. The press reported wildly about the revelations from within the palace walls. People thought that this would mean the downfall of the royal family as it was seen to be they who had driven out the ‘people’s princess’. After her divorce, she continued to have lovers but none seemed to be forming a lasting relationship with her until she decided to cross the English Channel. There she took up with a man, not of noble birth, who seemed to be what she had been looking for. But he was a commoner and a foreigner.

Her book

The princess truly shocked the world when her autobiography My Own Story was published. She lambasted the royal family stating that they were jealous of her popularity and style and that the rumors about her mental problems had, in fact, been invented by her in-laws.

The real princess revealed

Who was this princess? She was Louisa of Tuscany (sometimes known as Luise) who married Prince Frederick of Saxony in 1891.

Why, did you think I meant someone else?

Oh, Diana?

Source

You thought I meant Diana? How wrong you were .... Of course, that's what I wanted you to think but aren't the stories of the two women remarkably similar?

Louisa's indiscretions took place a full ninety years before the marital difficulties between Charles and Diana but their stories are incredibly similar even to the extent of them writing their autobiographies with such similar titles. (Diana's was Diana: Her True Story written in 1992 and Louisa's was My Own Story written in 1912.)


Lookalikes

Source

Astonishingly, the two women even had physical similarities. The photograph at the top of the page is actually Louisa as a young girl but could so easily have been Diana.

Both women loved clothes and the photograph above is Louisa dressed as Marie Antoinette. Look closely, can't you see Diana's face there?

Image from Wikipedia Commons.

Notes - just to be accurate

  • It is true that Louisa did bear two sons, as did Diana. However, unlike her twentieth century counterpart, she had additional children afterwards.
  • Six years separated the ages of Louisa and Frederick. Charles was much older than his bride.
  • I have described Frederick as 'an heir to the throne' because he was second in line, not first in line like our current Prince of Wales.
  • Although it's true that I deliberately misled you into thinking that this story was about Diana, it is true that women at the time of Louisa's divorce were more liberated than they had been for many years.
  • Unlike Diana, Louisa lived to the ripe old age of 77 and died in obscurity in 1946.
  • Yes,I was playing a game with you but I hope you enjoyed it!

Photography credits

Unless otherwise credited, photograph are courtesy stock.xchng.

Diana: Her True Story - bargains

If you've never read Diana's revelations, you'll find that bargains are available. Compare her story to Louisa's. This is a live feed from eBay so if no results are showing, please call back later.

Interesting video

This is a pretty sensationalist type of coverage but as far as I'm aware, the basic facts are correct.

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    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci - aren't the similarities amazing? Yes, I tried to fool everyone into thinking it was a story about Diana :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Pretty tricky! I bet we all thought you were talking about Diana. The similarities are so interesting though. I wouldn't have thought then that women were liberated at all! A very enjoyable read about another Royal!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Vellur - thanks so much, I appreciate it.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Barbara Kay - the similarities are amazing, aren't they? I get the feeling that anyone marrying into royalty should study history before they take the plunge.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Creative and beautifully written, spellbound. Great hub. Voted up.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      The similarities are interesting. I have a feeling that being married to a prince isn't all it is trumped up to be.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Gotcha!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      very cute! you had me thinking Diana from the start! and they sure do look alike

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Back from my former visit to comment, because I so love how you spin a tale. Such a story, and of course, all along you had us fooled. You need to write a book of these stories my friend. I, for one, would definitely buy it!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      What a fun approach, although the people of Tuscany seem to have got over the scandal without the need for conspiracy theories and sentimental beatification. Lucky them.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Margaret Schindel: Thank you so much! It was fun to write.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a wonderful and engaging tale you've spun for us! I love the surprise twist ending. Thanks for sharing! :D

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: Thank you Nancy! The similarities are amazing, aren't they? They way that they both wrote books with almost the same title is almost surreal.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      The royals, as historical figures, interest me, as I'm aware that our countries spring from the same source.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh I've always been fascinated with the English royals. Your lens had me fooled right up to the moment you revealed who you were really talking about. Good, enjoyable story, thanks for sharing.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @David Stone1: Thanks for visiting, Dave!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @shewins: Thank you - it was fun! When I read the story about Louisa I was amazed at the similarities.

    • shewins profile image

      shewins 4 years ago

      I love that little trick you used. If this had been about Diana it would have been a good story, but that little twist makes it great!

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      I really love your work!!!!!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @NoYouAreNot: When I read about Louisa I was amazed at the similarity between her story and Diana's. I thought it would be a fun way to tell the story :) Good idea about the Greek royal family - I know nothing at all about them.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 4 years ago

      Yes, I was misled. To my excuse, I don't know much about English royal houses.But this lens gave me some ideas -- like, for example, writing for Greek royal houses.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @siobhanryan: Louisa? Just kidding ... thanks for visiting?

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      I admired her and was saddened by her death however her legacy will live for many decades