Facts About Historical Kings That Sound Made Up - But Aren’t

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Vote up the stories that are simply too good to be true.

Kings seem like they should be noble leaders that we can look up to, but in reality, many of them have pretty weird personalities. With strange requests, questionable romances, and peculiar quotes, many historical monarchs weren't quite as regal as we've imagined. But at least their unusual legacies keep history exciting for younger generations.

Many of these weird stories about kings seem too farfetched to believe, but then again, they're too bizarre for someone to make up.

  • George V Said His Son Would Ruin Himself Within 12 Twelve Months Of Taking The Throne
    Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons / No known restrictions
    1,411 VOTES

    George V Said His Son Would Ruin Himself Within 12 Twelve Months Of Taking The Throne

    George V was particularly hard on two of his sons, Albert and Edward. George was very uninvolved in their upbringing, and for years he didn't even notice that one of their nannies was emotionally and physically abusive to them.

    Edward (later Edward VIII) was consistently criticized by his father because of his reputation for being stylish and cosmopolitan - not the sort of  solid and respectable heir a king wants. Albert (the future George VI) had several health concerns, including digestive ailments and a stammer. George's impatience with the latter led to deep insecurity in the young Albert.

    However, each son responded to this difficult childhood differently. Albert's shock and trauma led him to become more stable, while the elder Edward continued to live as he pleased. This is what prompted George to utter his famous quote about Edward: “After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in 12 months."

    As it turned out, George was not entirely wrong. As a result of his then-scandalous relationship with American divorcée Wallis Simpson, Edward VIII was forced to abdicate less than a year after taking his father's place.

    1,411 votes
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    1,278 VOTES

    It Took Seven Years For King Louis XVI And Marie Antoinette To Consummate Their Marriage

    While Louis XVI of France and his wife Marie Antoinette were both perfectly capable of having sexual intercourse, it took them over 7 years to properly consummate their marriage.

    They were called "two complete blunderers" for their lack of intimacy, but there was more to it than that. They were married at a young age, when Louis was 15 and Marie Antoinette was 14. So, they had never had a proper sexual education. It was Marie Antoinette's brother, Emperor Joseph II, who finally had a serious discussion with them - which led to them finally consummating their marriage. As Antonia Frasier wrote in her book, Marie Antoinette: The Journey:

    It was in this way, thanks to the outspoken orders of the Emperor, that Louis XVI did at last stop being "two thirds of a husband" to Marie Antoinette, seven years and three months after their marriage.

    1,278 votes
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    1,015 VOTES

    Richard III's Remains Were Found Underneath A Parking Lot In 2012

    Despite perishing in 1485 due to nine head wounds sustained in the Battle of Bosworth Field, King Richard III remained closer than most people thought. 527 years later, his body was rediscovered under a parking lot, beneath a blanket of tarmac. It took two years of legal wrangling to determine what would happen with the body from there. 

    In 2015, his bones were finally laid to rest with a proper ceremony. Distant relative Michael Ibsen's DNA helped confirm Richard's identity. Ibsen also built a coffin for Richard's remains, which were sprinkled with holy water during the ceremony. 

    Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who is a distant cousin of the final Plantagenet king, read a poem written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy during the ceremony, dedicating it to Richard:

    My bones, scripted in light, upon cold soil,
    a human braille. My skull, scarred by a crown,
    emptied of history. Describe my soul
    as incense, votive, vanishing; your own
    the same. Grant me the carving of my name.

    1,015 votes
  • After the demise of Julius Caesar, the people of Rome eagerly waited to hear his will read. In it, he officially adopted Octavian, who was his sister's grandson. That made Octavian his son and heir. However, it was unusual that he didn't name an alternate heir, as well. But that portion of the will seemed insignificant to what came next.

    Caesar also gave all of his walkways and personal gardens to the people as places of recreation. On top of that, he gave 75 Attic drachmas to every Roman citizen who lived in the city, which was the equivalent of about $297 in 2020 dollars. 

    1,492 votes
  • King Henry VIII Was Related To All Six Of His Wives Through One Common Ancestor
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    King Henry VIII of England wasn't one to be tied down. Despite ruling over England for 36 years, he's best known for his romances, not his policies. After all, he was married six different times, and none of them were exactly storybook romances. Many of these relationships ended brutally: He divorced one wife for not giving him a son, beheaded another based on sudden (and dubious) accusations, and had yet another executed for rumors of infidelity.

    While having six wives is bizarre enough as it is, Henry's family tree is even more troubling. He and all his wives are related to each other to some extent because they all share a common relative: Edward I. In fact, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were even first cousins.

    1,335 votes
  • Nicholas II of Russia didn't have the best planning for his coronation. It was supposed to be a grand celebration in a field in Moscow, but the gathering was even larger than anyone could've hoped. People heard that there were plenty of buffets and that gifts would be given away to those who attended.

    But since the crowds grew so big that you could barely move around, a problem soon arose. There weren't enough presents for everyone. Rumors of the lack of gifts spread around, which made people furious over the deceitful action. So, a stampede of rageful citizens broke out.

    Police came to the scene to hold back the stampede, but it was no use. Nearly 1,500 people perished and over a thousand more were injured all because they weren't going to get the gifts they were promised.

    994 votes