Marriage proposals are life changing events. A royal's marriage, or their refusal to marry, can be an historic event. However, before there can be a marriage, there must be a proposal. Stories of negotiations between kingdoms for the hand of a young princesses are common, but what about history’s more unique proposals?
A unique marriage proposal is at the heart of my debut Harlequin Historical Engagement of Convenience. The novel is about a spirited but naïve young lady and the wounded naval officer who, through a fake engagement scheme to obtain her inheritance, realize that they only have a future through each other and love. In honor of the release of Engagement of Convenience, I'd like to highlight a few of history's more unique proposals and their effect on history.
- In Rome, Emperor Octavian fell in love with and proposed to Livia while she was six months pregnant with her husband's child. She wasted not time obtaining a divorce and becoming empress. Three months after her marriage to Augustus, Livia gave birth to a son whose grandson became Emperor Claudius. Claudius was responsible for the first major expansion of the Roman Empire since the reign of Augustus.
- Pharaoh Thutmose IV was eager to establish an alliance with the Mitanni. He petitioned the Mitanni king six time to send him a wife. The Mitanni king finally relented and sent him Mutemwiya who some scholars believe was the grandmother of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten. History failed to record what Mutemwiya thought of the proposal or of going to Egypt.
- Queen Elizabeth I rejected a marriage proposal from King Philip II of Spain. Her rejection and the subsequent wound to Philip's pride played a part in his discussion to declare war on Britain and to launch the ill-fated Armada. He also didn't like English pirates or Protestantism but I think the excuse of his wounded pride is slightly more interesting.
- Queen Victoria, because she was queen and therefore outranked Prince Albert, had to do the proposing. So did Elizabeth II. Keep in mind, both of these proposal took place during a time when a woman proposing to a man was just not done. If these women hadn't chosen the men they had, or if they'd failed to pop the question, the past 150+ years might look very different then they do now.
- King George VI, while he was still the spare, was turned down four times by Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. He was stunned when, on his fifth try, she finally accepted. The couple went on to rule Britain during the dark days of WWII and to produce Queen Elizabeth II.
Engagement of Convenience and that if you do, you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.