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4 Love Triangles That Highly Influenced World History

…Do you know any popular love triangles?

History is mainly driven by 2 factors: love and procreation, like pretty much everything else in human history. And as we all know, things can easily become tricky when there are more than 2 parties involved in a relationship. But this hasn’t stopped individuals from fighting with one another for someone they both consider special.

Believe it or not, there were plenty of people who were involved in some of history’s most famous love triangles. And these led to many stressful dinners at home and awkward private encounters. Well, many of the things people do are in the name of love, right?

Speaking of the 3 parties’ relationships, there have been some seriously risky ones throughout history, from ancient Rome, where Mark Antony’s many loves (including his affair with Cleopatra VII of Egypt) led to him giving away control of Rome to his brother-in-law, to 17th century France, where notorious lothario Louis XIV wasn’t sure of his feelings regarding 2 of his most well-known mistresses, so he pinned them against each other.

Have you ever thought that love triangles are the reason why the world today is exactly how it is? We are passionate about stories, and trust us when we tell you that we are extremely curious about this topic. As you might already know, when it comes to love, almost anything is possible and allowed, even a major change in the world. Without further ado, here are 4 well-known love triangles that have had a big impact on our culture.

love triangle
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1. The love triangle that created a new church 

  • People involved: Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn.

Henry VIII, King of England, was not only the person who was considered the most important in England but was also considered the lord of love triangles. Some sources say that he even started a brand-new church from scratch to avoid his first wife! (That was surely one way to avoid someone!).

The Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon was first married to Henry’s late elder brother, but after a while, she became the wife of Henry VIII. We can say that she knew which brother to choose because the relationship with her new husband made her Queen of England. The woman, who was a few years older than her spouse, was a devoted and loving partner to him, despite her suffering tragic miscarriages and stillbirths, and not to mention, her husband wasn’t faithful either.

But those weren’t the only things that happened during their love story. Henry VIII saw Anne Boleyn, Catherine’s lady-in-waiting, and the whole dynamic between the couple changed. Anne wanted her lover to marry her, but he couldn’t if he was still married to Catherine. The king went to the Pope and asked him for a divorce, but he refused to grant it. Upset about the fact that he wanted to be together with his true love, he split from Rome and founded the Anglican Church.

He became the leader of the new church and managed to separate from his wife. He married Anne Boleyn and had a daughter together, the future Queen Elizabeth. However, Anne was accused of betrayal and was executed when her child was younger than 3 years old.

love triangle
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2. The love triangle that put an end to the Roman Republic

  • People involved: Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavia.

Cleopatra VII, the final Ptolemaic pharaoh of Egypt, had notorious romantic relationships with both Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. But the tea isn’t here! Cleopatra, Antony, and Octavia – a girl who was Antony’s wife, Octavian’s sister, and Caesar’s great-niece – had a true love triangle.

Some people even say that the last war between Antony and Octavian, the man who would later become Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, resulted in the establishment of the Roman Empire. It is believed that the battle was primarily due to Antony’s abandonment of Octavia.

As Rome’s co-rulers in 40 B.C.E. say, Octavian and Antony didn’t get along with one another. In order to make things better between those two, Octavian’s sister married Antony. Things started to get a little better, and a few years after the wedding, Octavia even helped her brother and husband with a treaty between them.

But as you already know, nothing good stays forever, so when Antony went off on a campaign, he cheated on his partner with Cleopatra. He fell in love with the Ptolemaic pharaoh of Egypt and he even decided to abandon his partner and his children and file for divorce.

You might think that Octavia was a poor victim in this complicated situation, but that’s not actually true. She actually managed to establish herself as Cleopatra’s legitimate political rival.

love triangle
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3. The daughters of Queen Victoria and a German prince

  • People involved: Beatrice of Battenberg, Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, and Henry of Battenberg

After the king died, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom wanted to be sure that her daughters were safe and always around her, so she became a strict mother. Her Majesty was so concerned about her 3 youngest children, Beatrice, Louise, and Helena, that she insisted the girls serve as her personal helpers and secretaries. All these little women wanted was to have families of their own and escape their mother’s rules. They thought that the only way out was through marriage.

Louise was a very beautiful girl and was considered by many to be a free spirit. She fell in love with a Scottish nobleman, and she left home to live with her spouse in Scotland and Canada, rather than staying home with Queen Victoria. When the princess’s siblings saw that she got married and went to live in a different place with her partner, they got jealous and started looking for potential husbands.

When Beatrice and Helena chose their partners, Queen Victoria made her daughters promise that they wouldn’t leave Great Britain. Beatrice got married to Prince Henry of Battenberg, and Helena became the wife of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. As it turned out, Louise’s marriage wasn’t exactly the happiest, and she and her brother-in-law Henry became very close to one another.

The legend says that after Prince Henry died, Beatrice and Louise had a fight regarding their love triangle. Sources say that Louise even went to Beatrice and told her she spoke with Henry when he was alive and he told her that his marriage to Beatrice wasn’t anything special to him. We can’t be sure whether they had an affair or not, but the relationship between the 2 sisters wasn’t the same after these allegations.

love triangle
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4. Dante’s fraternal love triangle: a spicy mix

  • People involved: Gianciotto da Malatesta, Lady Francesca da Rimini, and Paolo da Malatesta

The last love triangle on our list wasn’t such a major one in Italian history, but it was meaningful for artists, such as Dante Alighieri and Piotr Ilici Ceaikovski. They found the story so interesting that the writer decided to use it in his Divine Comedy, while the composer turned it into an opera.

So here is the real story: somewhere in Italy during the 19th century, a woman named Francesca da Rimini from Ravenna was engaged to a distinguish nobleman, Gianciotto da Malatesta. Some rumors say that the woman wasn’t actually faithful, as she was deeply in love with Paolo, her fiance’s younger brother. People say that Gianciotto found out about their affairs, so he killed both of them.

There’s also another version of the story, which says that these people actually existed, but the affair is actually fictional. Whether it’s true or not, one thing is for sure: artists found this extremely interesting and turned it into art. After the artists released their operas to the world, this dramatic Italian love triangle remained one of the most popular ones in history.

…What do you think about these 4 love triangles that are believed to be linked to different historical events? Tell us in the comments! 

…If you love stories as much as we do and you also want to be informed about events that shaped the world we live in, here’s a good article for you: 8 Weird Facts About the US Civil War That Made Us Wonder!


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