ROYAL MATES

Since antiquity couples have been matched for a multitude of reasons that had little to do with love or compatibility. Arranged marriages were the norm for most cultures for most of time. And even the most privileged among us, such as royalty, have often had to compromise passion for politics. Partnerships were often based on strategic alliances rather than romantic harmony. There are, however, historical examples of monarchs who refused to capitulate to the nation’s political will and sought true love even if it cost them the throne. Similarly, there are examples of royals who insisted on choosing a partner for whom they had real chemistry and it seems that the monarchy is finally catching up to modernity and marriages are no longer predicated solely on statecraft. When we examine the royal relationships of the past couple of centuries we can extrapolate from our theory and see how the couples that were most in love and committed to being together were often facemates. A most recent example is the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, one of the first unions between a member of the British Crown and a spouse not from a royal or aristocratic background. There is undeniable chemistry between these two and we applaud the throne for not imposing a wife on young William and allowing him to wed the woman whom he clearly loves and desires. In another era, that union would likely have been frowned upon. When Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson in 1937, he was forced to abdicate the throne. As the nominal head of the Church of England, a monarch is forbidden to marry a divorcee. Edward chose twice-divorced American socialite Simpson over the throne; and despite their objectionable political views, their love was that powerful and it lasted until his death in 1972. Queen Victoria was particularly lucky in that her pre-arranged suitor and cousin, Prince Albert, was indeed, the love of her life and the two had 9 children together and remained passionate friends and lovers until his untimely death, from which she never fully recovered.

Thankfully, most of us are not bound by rigid national or familial obligations when we choose our partners and we have the freedom to seek relationships based on chemistry and compatibility rather than compromise.

Above: Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII   Below: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Prince William and Kate Middleton

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