Historical crushes

25 May 2011

As I already explained a couple of posts ago, I had a bit of a weird upbringing which involved not being allowed to read children’s books and other stuff too tiresome to write here. I have a learning disability, which is boring so let’s not talk about that, BUT it did mean that I dealt better with some aspects of my childhood than many others might have done – in particular the way that my grandparents cut me off from society and blatantly encouraged me to become a bit of a nerdy history geek weirdo.

However, even they got a bit alarmed when I started having thumping great crushes on various people from history, which is a bit hypocritical really as Richard III was the great love of my grandmother’s life. No, seriously, he could do NO WRONG and, well, I’ve spoken before on here about the peculiar horror of being taken to the site of the battle of Bosworth as a small child to stand in mute and incredulous silence as my grandmother stared into the distance and wept for poor old Dickon.

Anyway, that’s enough explaining!

Henry V. A surprising one this, or maybe not. I blame historical fiction entirely for this one as I totally fell for Henry as he is portrayed in Crown in Candlelight – a handsome, charming but valiant young King with a bent for piety and cold toes. I’m fairly sure the real Henry wasn’t anything like this, other than the bent for piety which was actually not so much a ‘bent’ as a raving fanaticism.

George of Clarence. Yes, I am very awkward – I bypassed the familial passion for poor little Richard III and instead developed a thing for his brother. The Sunne in Splendour is entirely to blame for this – well the early chapters before winsome, golden haired George was transformed into a drunken wife beating slob.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine. Oh come on, who doesn’t have a crush on Prince Rupert? Okay, lots of you don’t so never mind. Oh Prince Rupert. By The Sword Divided was slightly responsible for this one although the Prince Rupert in that wasn’t terribly hot (my By The Sword Divided crush was Will Saltmarsh) despite what Lucinda thought about the matter.

Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just. This is the big one, the mother and father of all historical crushes. Oh my. Okay, I have gone past my hormonal adolescent passion now and recognise that Saint-Just was actually A Very Very Bad Person but oh dear, I was OBSESSED for years to quite a tragic degree. I even carried a little photo of the David portrait of him in his dashing, natty red waistcoat in my purse for years. I remember being thrilled when I first read about him, Saint-Just the soldier’s son who had been a teenage delinquent, at the battle of Valmy, riding ahead of the Revolutionary forces with his top hat balanced on top of his sword and a grin of wild excitement on his face.

Hm, clearly I have a bit of a type – tall, military, long hair, stubble. My husband ticks all those boxes except one – he isn’t a military man, he’s an IT Manager. Oh and he’s cut his long hair now. Honourable mentions also go to Hérault de Séychelles, Rupert Brooke, John Castle as Geoffrey in The Lion in Winter, Eugène de Beauharnais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Henri de la Rochejacquelin, Oscar Wilde (how could I have forgotten?!), Simon de Montfort and Jacques Cathelineau. This last was a major crush too, until I quickly discovered that he bore no resemblance to his portrait by Girodet and was actually a middle aged pedlar with a wife and six million children. Ah well.

Anyway, I’ve shown you mine – what are your historical crushes?

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