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Unhappily Ever After: The Most Destructive And Abusive Royal Marriages In History

Updated February 21, 2020 618.6k views12 items

The worst royal marriages in history also happen to be some of the most bloody, heartbreaking, and shocking. From royal cousins who got married to love-matches that soured quickly, some royal marriages were downright disastrous. More often than not, royal husbands and wives lived unhappily ever after.

Part of the problem for many royals was that marriages were typically business transactions. The expectation of marrying for love is actually a relatively modern phenomenon, and most royals throughout history entered into arranged marriages. Whether it was to consolidate territory or build alliances with rival houses, royals relied on parents and advisors to find a suitable spouse and plan a wedding - and consequently they often followed their heads instead of their hearts into marriage.

The stakes were often high for royal couples. Kings and queens could dispose of their spouses for political reasons - or because a marriage between strangers could easily be a mistake. Rocky marriages sometimes meant warfare, and royal marriage rules meant that kings and queens were under increased scrutiny. Since monarchs needed to produce the next generation of rulers, the royal marriage bed was a political matter, and the royal bedding ceremony was a way for courtiers to be sure that newlywed kings and queens consummated their marriage and made things official.

Even though people around the world have fantasized about marrying into royalty, the history of disastrous royal marriages shows that dreaming about marrying a prince is often better than actually marrying one. 

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