HISTORY QUIZ / THE STRUGGLE IS REAL - MONARCHS & ROYALS

HISTORY QUIZ / THE STRUGGLE IS REAL - MONARCHS & ROYALS

Can you pick the kings, queens, monarchs and royals when given the 'struggle' they faced?

 



 


10 Families That Control This World and Our Lives

10 Families That Control This World and Our Lives

 

You have probably heard the theory that almost all the money in the world is controlled by the richest families. Some of them spend it on things they want and others prefer to live quiet lives. But there is one thing that is similar among all of them: their social status and their position in society that is surrounded by many mysteries. Some people think that these clans control the presidents of all the countries and the entire world.

The Rockefellers

There are legends around the amount of money the Rockefellers have. Nobody knows the exact number but according to different sources, it is estimated to be from $1 to 3 trillion. The family became famous thanks to John Rockefeller, the first ever millionaire. At the end of the 19th century, the family controlled 90% of the entire oil market in the US. Almost all modern oil companies of the US began with the Rockefellers.

Both world wars only made the family’s situation better. They helped both the German side and the allies. Now, aside from the banks and the oil, the Rockefellers do charity and earn cryptocurrency.

Conspiracy theorists believe that the members of the Rockefeller family are the chairmen of a secret world government and they follow the idea of the “Golden billion.”

The Morgans

Multiple political theories believe that the Morgans determine the political course of the US and control all the banks in the world.

The first person in the Morgan clan John Pierpont Morgan started the first financial empire in the US. He sold weapons during the Civil War and was almost prosecuted for that. And in 1907, he stopped the collapse of the banking system.

Even now, the Morgans are one of the most influential families in the banking sphere. They have branches not only in the US but also in Europe. Some members of the family also used to control General Motors and General Electric.

The House of Saud

The House of Saud is the royal dynasty that has been ruling Saudi Arabia since 1932. The head of the family is king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the number of family members in this dynasty is about 25,000.

The head of the family has the absolute political power and family members have important governmental and military positions. The family members of the House of Saud can get any job they want inside the country. They also control about 20% of the global oil reserves.

The Rothschilds

The Rothschilds were one of the richest families in the world at the time of Napoleon. The dynasty was started by Mayer Amschel Rothschild. In Germany, he set up a huge banking business and created his own financial empire. When he was dying, Amschel left a will for his heirs where he expressed his views on how the empire should be controlled and the Rothschilds have been following these rules for more than 200 years.

There are have been a lot of different theories and rumors around their family. Some people say that they control all the money in the world and all the financial institutions. Others think that the Rothschilds sponsor and encourage most of the wars.

The amount of money the Rothschilds have is estimated to be around $2 trillion. They make investments, control trading and banking, and they own several vineyards and companies that produce oil and gas.

The Baruchs

The Baruchs have less money than the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers but they definitely have way more influence. Bernard Baruch, the person who started this clan, was the advisor for 5 US presidents and a close friend of Sir Winston Churchill. He was the person who came up with the term “Cold War,” and he controlled the inventions of the atomic bomb. Some people think he was the person who created the world government.

There is very little information about the heir of the Baruch empire. He had 2 daughters and a son. His son, Bernard Baruch Jr. died in the 90s. There is no information about the grandchildren of Bernard. Some people believe that they are hidden on purpose and that they still control the US government.

The Waltons

In 1962, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store. This was how he made himself one of the richest people in the world. Over time, the Walmart chain became the biggest chain store in the US.

After Sam Walton’s death, the company has been controlled by his wife and 4 children. Aside from the supermarkets, the family controls Arvest Bank and they also own a collection of art pieces and run a family charity fund.

The House of Windsor

The House of Windsor is the royal family of Great Britain. Currently, the head of the Windsor family is Queen Elizabeth II. She is the head of the Church and the Commander in Chief of Great Britain’s military forces.

Aside from Great Britain, Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch of 15 independent countries. Any politician would be jealous of the Queen’s ratings and there is nothing surprising about that. All the members of the royal family live modest lives, serve in the military, and do charity work.

The Murdochs

The Murdochs started building their empire in Australia. Keith Murdoch was a political journalist in one of Melbourne’s newspapers. When Keith attained the position of the editor he increased the sales of the newspaper and later became the CEO.

His son Rupert was also a journalist. Once they had control of all of Australia’s leading media, they created News Corporation. Now, the Murdochs own 20th Century Fox, Fox News, Myspace, and Dow Jones. News Corporation was sued for illegal phone tapping of the royal family, celebrities, and bribery of the police and special forces.

Rupert is a very popular person in pop culture. He became the prototype of the villain in Tomorrow Never Dies, the TV series, Succession, and was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons.

The Oppenheimers

The Oppenheimers own most of the world’s gold reserves. The first person in the clan, Ernest Oppenheimer, moved to Kimberley, South Africa where he became the mayor of the town and then the head of one of the diamond companies. Soon, he monopolized the world diamond market.

Now, the diamond empire is ruled by Ernest’s grandson Nicky Oppenheimer. The family produces and sells not only diamonds but also gold, iron, platinum, and industrial minerals.

The Pritzkers

This family of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine moved from Kiev to Chicago in 1881. The Pritzkers own the Hayat corporation. This is a hospitality company that sells hotels and tours to resorts. The company owns 777 hotels in 54 countries.

The Pritzkers have their own architecture award and now live in Chicago where they opened their architecture school. This family determines the way the city looks.

 


Wanna See Lady Amelia Windsor Topless At The Beach? Sure You Do! [NSFW] [NUDITY]

Wanna See Lady Amelia Windsor Topless At The Beach? Sure You Do! [NSFW] [NUDITY]

 

 

 

 

 

 


26 of the Most Heinously Unflattering Royal Portraits in History

 

 

 

In 2013, the unveiling of the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge caused an international response fit for, say, an actual important international event. People all over the world went crazy with judgment and jeers, critiquing every aspect of the painting. But Kate Middleton's portrait looks like a Rembrandt compared to some of the heinously ugly royal portraits that came before it. The historical artists who crafted many of these horrendously unflattering royal portraits are lucky they aren't alive to experience the wrath of the Twitterverse. If they were, their paintings, and they themselves, would probably be torn to shreds for the travesties they committed to canvas.

To be fair, it isn't always the fault of the artist that a painting comes out looking like the stuff of nightmares (we're looking at you, Habsbergs). Sometimes, a royal is just plain ugly, and an artist has to grit his teeth and muscle his way through. Perhaps that's why a few monarchs make their way onto the list numerous times...by numerous different artists...

There are also artists throughout history who created intentionally bad portraits, as a means of criticizing a royal individual or family. Ultimately, whether the result of bad artistry or royal inbreeding, these royal embarrassments are our enjoyment.

 


10 Facts You Didn’t Know About World War I

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About World War I

World War I was one of the most destructive wars known to man until World War II came along. Although the politics of the day had laid the foundation of the war, the whole thing came to a head after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, by a Serbian nationalist.

However, prior to the assassination, several countries and empires had been seeking means of expanding their territories, countering the expansion of other empires, and avenging their losses from past wars. This made most of them form alliances. By the time that the archduke was assassinated, their alliances dragged them into a war that was none of their business.

10 The Three Empires At The Center Stage Were Ruled By Cousins

Photo credit: brookings.edu

Germany, Russia, and Britain—the three empires at the center stage of World War I—were ruled by cousins. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of England were first cousins, King George V and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia were first cousins, and Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II were third cousins.

Considering that the three emperors were descendants of King George II of England, Wilhelm’s II mother was a sister to George V’s father, and George V’s mother and Nicholas II’s mother were sisters, the three emperors were also fifth cousins.

Back then, Queen Victoria was called the “Mother of Europe” because she was closely related to the emperors of most European empires. For instance, George V and Wilhelm II were her grandsons. However, she discouraged any relationship between the duo and never wanted them together. She even stopped the two from visiting her at the same time.

George V’s mother, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, also discouraged any fraternization between George V and Wilhelm II. However, she ensured that George V maintained a close relationship with Nicholas II, the son of her sister, Dagmar. The cousins maintained the rivalry and alliance by the time they became emperors.

Although the trio never believed that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria would lead to war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, they knew it could. And such a war would definitely drag them in because Austria-Hungary was allied with Germany and Serbia was allied with Russia. At the same time, Russia was allied with France and France was allied with Britain.[1]

The cousins had lost the power to stop the war by the time it became imminent. The assassination and subsequent crises had been hijacked by army generals, politicians who were more concerned with “national pride,” and arm dealers who just wanted to make money.

9 Russia Begged Germany To Stop The War

Photo credit: historychannel.com.au

World War I officially started on July 28, 1914, the day that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. That same morning, Nicholas II sent a telegram to Wilhelm II begging him to stop the war. The telegram was partly informal, and Nicholas II even signed it with his nickname, Nicky.

Nicholas II explained that a war against Serbia would lead to the involvement of Russia, which was something he did not want. Wilhelm replied that the impending war had no political undertone and was merely to deal with the people who had assassinated the archduke. He added that he was doing his best to ensure that Austria-Hungary reached an agreement with Russia. He also signed the telegram with his nickname, Willy.

The cousins continued exchanging telegrams. However, they failed to reach an agreement even though neither wanted the war. At one point, Wilhelm suggested that Austria-Hungary troops marched into Belgrade, Serbia, without attacking the Serbians and waited while Serbia destroyed the Black Hand terrorist group that had assassinated the archduke.

He instructed his chancellor to forward this suggestion to Russia, but the chancellor instructed the German ambassador to Russia to inform Russia that Germany would mobilize its military in response to Russia’s mobilization.

Both emperors continued exchanging telegrams but still didn’t reach a conclusion. They didn’t stop mobilizing their armies, either. Neither did they do anything to delay the war. On August 1, a few days after the first telegram was sent, Germany declared war on Russia.[2]

8 It Made Russia Communist

Photo credit: Isaak Brodsky

Most likely, Russia would never have been a communist country if Vladimir Lenin hadn’t come to power. His political ascent wouldn’t have happened if the two 1917 Russian revolutions hadn’t occurred. And those revolutions probably wouldn’t have happened if Russia had not been involved in World War I.

The war took its toll on the Russian economy. It was longer than expected, and there was no hope that Russia would win. After a series of defeats, Tsar Nicholas II fired his inexperienced cousin, whom Nicholas II had appointed as general, and took control of the army himself. This was going to be his undoing. In the past, the empire had blamed military failures on the generals, but now, it would be blamed on the tsar himself.

Nicholas II committed another blunder when he handed control of the empire to his wife, Alexandra, instead of a prime minister. First, Alexandra was German, something that did not resonate well because Russia was fighting Germany. Then, Alexandra became too involved with Grigori Rasputin, a controversial faith healer whom she hoped would cure her son of hemophilia.

However, Rasputin had other intentions and soon started meddling in national issues. In December 1916, some concerned Russians murdered Rasputin. But this changed little because he had already smeared the tsar’s family. At the same time, the prolonged war had taken a toll on the Russian economy.

In February 1917, inflation and food shortages caused widespread protests that quickly turned into a revolution. Nicholas left the front lines to return home. But he never made it to his palace before he was forced to abdicate. A provisional government took over but did little to solve the grievances that had caused the revolution.[3]

A second revolution led by Vladimir Lenin of the Bolshevik Party followed in November 1917. It toppled the provisional government and swept Lenin into power. All he did was to promise the Russian people “peace, bread, and land.”

Lenin also entered negotiations with Germany, leading to the March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that ended Russia’s involvement in World War I. Russia ceded Ukraine, Finland, Poland, and the Baltic territories to Germany. In exchange, Germany retreated from Russia.

7 It Resulted In The Collapse Of Three Empires And The Founding Of Several Countries

Photo credit: vox.com

World War I changed European and Asian borders forever. It led to the fall of three empires and the creation of several countries. The German, Ottoman, and Russian empires collapsed at the end of the war. Poland became independent of the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary was split into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

Austria ceded land to Italy and Czechoslovakia and became landlocked. Bulgaria relinquished its coastline in the Mediterranean Sea to Greece. Hungary lost most of its land to Czechoslovakia, though it also lost part to Romania.

The Ottoman Empire was the worst of the lot. Its land was split between Britain and France. Today’s Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates were once either fully or part of the empire.[4]

6 Foods, Dogs, And Words Of German Origin Were Renamed

The US became a belligerent in World War I on April 7, 1917, when it declared war on Germany. Before the declaration of war, German was the second most spoken language in the US after English. However, anti-German sentiments that followed the declaration of war quickly led to a ban on German.

The language was removed from the curriculum of many US schools, and German books became outlawed. Music dealers also refused to sell German songs. The anti-German sentiment extended to food when German fried potatoes were renamed American fries and sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage.

Dogs were not left out, either. German shepherds were renamed Alsatians after the Alsace region of France where they were first bred. Meanwhile, the dachshund was renamed “badger dog” and “liberty pup.” The dog itself became the personification of Germany and was used to represent Germany in political cartoons. There were also accounts that some dachshunds were stoned to death in Britain, although that could not be verified.[5]

5 Soldiers Fought In Trenches For A Good Part Of The War

Photo credit: britannica.com

World War I saw the first widespread use of machine guns. To protect themselves, soldiers quickly learned to fire from holes dug into the ground. These holes were soon connected and became miles-long trenches. As the war progressed, up to three extra trenches were dug behind the initial trench. That way, an enemy would still have to deal with about three more trenches even if it managed to defeat the front trench.

The longest trench was at the Western Front where it ran from Belgium into France and down to Switzerland. It was impossible to go around the trench, so the only option was frontal assaults. These were suicide missions because both sides protected their front trenches with barbed wire and machine guns.

The attacking infantry was usually backed with heavy artillery, which itself quickly became a problem and even contributed to the failure of the assaults. An artillery barrage signaled to the enemy that an assault was underway, causing the enemy to quickly reinforce its positions.

The attacking army’s artillery barrage also slowed down its infantry because the shells exploded right in their front. There is little that a soldier can do when under fire from an enemy’s machine guns and their own artillery while crossing a strip of land protected with barbed wire.[6]

4 It Led To The Development Of Tanks

Photo credit: Ernest Brooks

Trench warfare quickly led to a stalemate. No one was winning, and no one was losing. Both sides just continued hiding in their trenches and launching frontal assaults that almost always ended in disaster. Then the tanks showed up.

Before the war, proposals to build tanks in England, France, and Germany had been rejected. However, during the war, England and France secretly and independently worked on building a tank, hoping to use it to break the stalemate. England was the first to build a practical tank, which it deployed to the Battle of the Somme on September 15, 1916.

The Germans fled at the sight of the tanks, which broke through two of the three German trenches. But the tanks had to retreat because of command-and-control problems. They were not perfect, either. Heat and toxic fumes were a big problem for their crews, and the tanks often broke down. Of the 50 deployed, half broke down before the assault.[7]

Germany soon got used to the tanks and developed anti-tank weapons and tactics. However, it was not enough to stop the thousands of tanks deployed by the Allies. By contrast, Germany deployed only 20. Allied tanks breached the German trenches, forcing them to surrender. In essence, machine guns drove soldiers into the trenches and tanks drove them out.

Fun fact: Tanks were originally called land ships.

They are now called tanks because the British military told their workers that they were building “mechanized water tanks” to transport water to British troops in the deserts of today’s Iraq. The workers shortened “mechanized water tanks” to “water tanks” and then “tanks.” Ernest Swinton, a British officer involved in the development of the tank, loved the name and it stuck.

3 It Was Called Everything Except World War I

Photo credit: moddb.com

World War I was not called World War I. Obviously, no one knew that a World War II was in the works. In the US, it was called the European War while everyone else called it the Great War. The first mention of “World War” came from the US after American newspapers started using the name when the US got involved in 1917.

The war was called “Great” because of the large number of belligerents involved. It was believed to be the war that would end the evil of the German state and, consequently, every other war. How wrong they were. Besides the Great War, the war was also called “The Great War for Civilization.”[8]

2 It Put The Belligerents In Heavy Debt and Led To The Emergence Of The US As A Superpower

Photo credit: The Atlantic

War is expensive, which the belligerents of World War I found out the hard way. The war destroyed the industries and economies of Germany, Russia, Britain, and France. With the exception of Germany, the other three depended on the US for supplies.

The Allies bought so much from the US that the American economy switched from producing civilian goods to military goods. By the time the war was over, the Allies were heavily indebted to the US and even themselves.

For instance, Russia was heavily indebted to France, which was heavily indebted to the US and Britain. France owed Britain more than it owed the US, but Britain itself was heavily indebted to the US. France wanted to repay its debts to the US and Britain with the money Russia owed. However, Lenin refused to pay because it was the tsar’s government and not his that undertook the debt. And the tsar had been overthrown.

On the other hand, Britain depended on the money owed by France and Italy to repay the US. But France couldn’t pay because Russia didn’t pay. France tried repaying its debts with the reparations paid by Germany. But Germany had no money and could only make money if it exported goods to the US. However, the US suffered a recession in the 1920s and could not buy goods imported from Germany.

Things got so bad that the US loaned money to Germany in 1924 so that Germany could pay its reparations to France and Britain. In return, France and Britain used the money to repay their debts to the US.

At the same time, most of the belligerents had abandoned the gold standard at the beginning of the war, leading to the devaluation of their currencies by its end. This left the US with the most gold, and thus the country became the custodian of the global gold standard.

When the US deflated its currency, it put the other nations in a fix because they either needed to deflate their currencies to a value lower than that of the US or redefine the value of their currencies based on the new gold standard determined by the US.

The first option would have led to massive unemployment, while the other would devalue their currencies against the US dollar. Most countries chose the second option, although Britain chose the first. Whichever they chose, the US and the US dollar were still the clear winners.[9]

1 It Contributed To Hitler’s Rise To Power And World War II

Photo credit: britannica.com

The Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. It ordered Germany to repay 269 billion gold marks (Germany’s currency at that time), which is equivalent to 100,000 tons of gold, to the Allies. It also made Germany take the blame for the war. The reparations were later reduced to 112 billion gold marks, but that did little to ease the anti-Allies sentiment in Germany.

This debt put a heavy burden on Germany. In fact, the country only finished paying in 2010. Germany suffered serious economic crises at end of the war. Unemployment was rife, and inflation skyrocketed. Yet the country still had to pay reparations and take the blame for the war. Its citizens didn’t want that.[10]

These were the major factors that brought Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party to power. The Nazis hammered on the wickedness of the Allies and promised to take the German people out of their misery. When Hitler came to power, he refused to pay more reparations. Instead, he built an army and waged World War II.

This conflict defeated the purpose of the reparations. The Allies had made Germany pay such a huge amount so that it would not have enough money to wage another war. Instead, it had the opposite effect.

The Allies learned from the experience. Although they made Germany pay reparations at the end of World War II, the amount was not as much as demanded after World War I. Instead, the Allies focused on rebuilding the country and punishing its wartime leaders.

 

 


Harry And Meghan's Wedding Will Reportedly Cost $44 Million

Harry And Meghan's Wedding Will Reportedly Cost $44 Million

Even the cheaper weddings of the world don't exactly come cheap - as you'll know if you'veever seen reality series Don't Tell The Bride, where grooms are given £13,000 (as in, what sounds like absolutely loads) to plan the big day all on their own but still end up struggling to afford everything.

 

But that's nothing compared to the reported cost of the biggest wedding of the year - that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose big day on 19 May is expected to cost £32 million ($43 million).

Wedding planning company Bridebook has done the maths, calculating the cost based on flowers, food, entertainment and dress coming in at £1,969,873 ($2,668,752).

That was then added to the £120,000 ($162,574) honeymoon and - wait for it - £30m ($40.6m) security costs.

via GIPHY

The Mirror reports that because of this hefty figure, it's expected that the Windsor Castle wedding will be among the top ten most expensive weddings of all time.

However, it is thought that the historic wedding will also bring in around £500m ($677m) in tourism and merchandise.

Apparently the security price tag is the largest expenditure, which will include snipers, undercover police and a counter-drone system.

Ah, snipers - the wedding staple, eh?

After the ceremony, which takes place at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the reception will be at St George's Great Hall, also within the castle.

The the party will move to the Upper Ward grounds of Windsor, and while the couple won't have to fork out for the venue, they will apparently have to pay for a luxury marquee costing £350,000 ($474,000).

Then there's the catering for a formal lunch reception for state guests and a dinner reception for their actual family and friends. The price on that? £286,000 ($387,389).

Speaking of the food, who could forget the cake? Well, no one - given that it's reportedly going to cost £50,000 ($67,725). And it's said to be banana flavour, too, which is just weird.

You'd expect the drinks would be the most spendy element of the day (as they should be, tbh), but bevs will cost just £193,000 ($261,416) - which is nothing compared to the wedding dress, which is expected to cost at least £300,000 ($406,399).

On top of that, there's the £110,000 ($148,993) flowers, £17,000 ($23,026) photos, £300,000 ($406,399) entertainment with rumours of everyone from Elton John to the Spice Girls, decorations at £130,000 ($176,083), posh invites for £20,000 ($27,089), £90,000 (121,904) trumpets - yeah, we know! - £6,000 ($8,126) rings, £8,000 ($10,835) groomswear, £175 ($237) church fees, and much, much more.

We're exhausted just thinking about it.

In a world of waste we clamor about and celebrate those who can do it the best.  Expensive tastes make you great! Don't think about the horrors of the world!  Remember to partake in your bread and circuses, and if you get tired of all that, then look at what the rich have!  You can have it too!  Chase the luxurious and feel gratified! Chase it quickly, you are so close to getting that feeling of fulfillment and success! Don't think about where this money could have gone!  This cake sure is delicious isn't it? Elton john sure is lovely.  This all surely was worth it right?

 


12 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding

12 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding

 

Long before the concept of "designer babies" created in a lab became the stuff of science fiction, inbreeding in royal families was viewed as a way to ensure genetic purity. Intermarriage ensured that no "common" blood sullied pure, aristocratic blood lines. What could go wrong?

A lot, actually. Birth defects caused by inbreeding were rampant in royal families from Russia to Portugal and even in ancient Egypt, where the practice of sibling marriage was considered godly behavior. Hereditary diseases caused by inbreeding get handed down through thin gene pools, particularly in the many cases where intentional close marriage is used to ensured that royal blood (and its recurrent flaws) are kept in the family. For example, Queen Victoria, a major proponent of pure blood lines, married her cousin Albert, and the two had nine children who then passed hemophilia to royal families throughout Europe. Both King Tut and Charles II of Spain were so deformed by inbreeding that they were unable to walk unaided. Meanwhile, mental illnesses ran rampant throughout many royal families, leading to some very odd royal behavior.


Ill Queen Skips Christmas For 1st Time In Nearly 30 Years

Ill Queen Skips Christmas For 1st Time In Nearly 30 Years

 

A heavy cold is keeping Queen Elizabeth II from attending the traditional Christmas morning church service near her Sandringham estate in rural Norfolk, England. It is extremely rare for Elizabeth to miss the service, which is a cornerstone of the royal family's Christmas celebrations and brings the monarch into contact with local residents who gather outside for a glimpse of her. "The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery," Buckingham Palace said in a statement, per the AP. "Her Majesty will participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day." Those festivities usually include a gala lunch. In past years, the royal family would often go for extended walks in the countryside. It's the first time the queen has missed Christmas services since 1988, reports the Guardian.

Elizabeth has been in generally good health and has maintained an active schedule in the last year despite traveling less often than in the past. Her husband, 95-year-old Prince Philip, has also cut back his public schedule and charitable works. He was also suffering from a heavy cold earlier in the week, but was well enough to attend Christmas services in Sandringham. Earlier this week, the royal couple delayed their departure from London because of their colds but traveled one day later than expected, using a helicopter instead of a train. The royal family received some sad news Saturday, when it was revealed that the queen's granddaughter, Zara Tindall, had suffered a miscarriage while expecting her second child with husband Mike Tindall. Prince William and his wife Kate, along with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, are celebrating Christmas with Kate's parents.

 


10 Truly Disgusting Habits Of Royalty

10 Truly Disgusting Habits Of Royalty

In the era of the great monarchies, the royal families of European nations were people of dignity and culture, above the low and filthy lifestyles of the poor. At least, that’s what they wanted people to believe. The reality, though, is a bit different. There was enough inbreeding between the monarchs of Europe to spark some strange decisions—and some truly disgusting lifestyles.

10.Henry VIII Had A ‘Groom Of The Stool’

Among his many reforms, King Henry VIII introduced an all-important job to the English monarchy: the groom of the stool. One lucky boy, chosen from the sons of his most trusted nobles, got the job of following the king around with a portable toilet.

The groom of the stool needed to be ever vigilant. He was expected to watch the king as he ate, make notes of what he consumed, and prepare for the job to come. When the moment came, the groom would help the king undress and then clean up his mess.

This was actually a highly respected job. The groom of the stool was trusted with unparalleled intimate access to the king. He also got to live in the castle with a handsome salary.

Wiping up after the king of England became a proud tradition that continued for almost 400 years.

 

9.Christian VII Pleasured Himself So Often That It Became A National Crisis

Denmark’s 18th-century King Christian VII knew no love greater than his own hand. He spent so much time at it that the Danish government organized meetings to figure out what to do about it.

The doctors who looked after him were convinced that chronic masturbation was the cause of all his problems. Christian VII was mentally ill, afflicted with porphyria. In reality, mental illness was probably the root of his masturbation problems.

His chief physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee, wrote a whole book about Christian’s “masturbatic insanity.” When Struensee couldn’t get the king to put his pants back on and focus on ruling a kingdom, the doctor ended up taking over. He did most of Christian VII’s decision-making for him, which freed up some time for the king to follow his passions.

8.Joanna Of Castile Traveled With Her Husband’s Dead Body

Joanna of Castile, the mother of Emperor Charles V of Spain, spent the better years of her life married to a man known as Philip the Handsome. Apparently, she thought Philip deserved his nickname because she refused to let anyone bury him when he died.

Instead, Joanna kept her husband’s dead body in her room. Over 12 months, while Philip’s body slowly decayed, Joanna went on acting as if he was still alive. Whenever someone asked, she would simply insist that he was asleep and would wake up soon.

She would sleep with the body at night, and she would make the servants treat it with the respect due to a king. In a fit of jealousy, she wouldn’t let any women enter the room with the dead body, apparently worried that they would be overwhelmed by lust.

 

7.King Charles II Kept A Wig Of His Mistresses’ Pubes

In 1651, King Charles II started a new project. Every time he slept with a woman, he plucked a few hairs from under her skirt. Then he stitched them all together into a wig that gradually grew into an unnervingly thick mane of female hairs.

When the wig got big enough to cover a man’s head, Charles II donated it to a Scottish drinking club called the Beggar’s Benison Club. They loved it so much that they wore it during their ceremonies. One person even stole it and used it to start his own club, where he made people kiss it.

In 1822, King George IV took up the tradition again and kept a box full of his lover’s lower locks for his own collection. Like Charles II, George planned on making them into a wig but tragically died without ever fulfilling his dream.

6.Queen Maria Eleonora Slept With Her Husband’s Heart

Queen Maria Eleonora didn’t love her husband, King Gustavus Adolphus, for his power or his money. She loved him for his heart. When he died, she had his heart ripped out of his body so that she could sleep with it.

Maria Eleonora kept her dead husband’s organ in a golden box that she placed above her bed each night. On some nights, she even made their daughter climb into bed with her so that she could be close to her father’s heart.

It was a traumatizing experience that her daughter never forgot. She later wrote that her mother was horribly abusive and never stopped crying, saying that she “carried out her role of mourning to perfection.”

5.King Farouk Had The World’s Largest Porn Collection

Legend has it that King Farouk of Egypt had the greatest and largest collection of pornography in the world. He boasted that he had “warehouses full of the stuff” scattered around the world, with whole storage compartments filled to the brim in Rome, Monaco, and Cairo.

Writer and former pimp Scott Bowers claims that he convinced Farouk to ship several crates of porn to the famous sexologist Alfred Kinsey. According to Bowers, the crates arrived filled almost exclusively with pictures of Arab men with young boys.

When Farouk’s empire fell, looters scavenged his porn collection. Little pieces of it started showing up around the country, flooding a market with a whole new type of monarchy memorabilia.

 

4.King Adolf Frederick Ate Himself To Death

Swedish King Adolf Frederick had a habit of eating a dessert called semla, which is a sweet roll filled with cream. This, in itself, is not disgusting, but he ate so many that it killed him.

In 1771, the Swedish king sat down to a meal of lobster, caviar, and every other decadent food you can think of. When the meal was done, he wolfed his way through 14 semlas in a single sitting.

When he managed to stand up, his stomach, unsurprisingly, was bothering him, and he died shortly after. He went down in history as the king who ate himself to death—which wasn’t totally fair. King Henry I of England had already died from eating too many lamprey eels, apparently unable to get enough of the slimy taste.

3.King James I Only Cleaned The Tips Of His Fingers

According to a less than flattering description from Sir Anthony Weldon, King James I wasn’t the most hygienic person. Legend has it that King James never bathed, and according to Weldon, James needed to.

“His tongue,” Weldon wrote, was “too large for his mouth.” Whenever James drank, the liquid would dribble down the side of the king’s chin. James wouldn’t do much about it. “He never washed his hands,” Weldon claimed, “only rubbed his fingers’ ends slightly through the wet end of a napkin.”

This was apparently the only type of hygiene the king ever practiced. It might have been out of necessity. King James made regular use of his fingers. According to Weldon, they were “ever in that walk fiddling about his codpiece.”

2.Charles VI Didn’t Change His Clothes For Five Months

King Charles VI of France was horribly mentally ill. He would break into fits where he would run wildly through his home. On other days, he became convinced that he was made of glass and would not move a single muscle. The worst bout lasted for five long months—during which he did not bathe or change his clothes even once.

For nearly half a year, the king just stayed very still and carefully tried to avoid bumping into anybody. Then, at last, he had a brief moment of lucidity that lasted long enough for someone to change him and to clean what must have been the most disgusting pair of pants in history.

1.Louis XIV’s Throne Doubled As A Toilet

Of all the people in history, French King Louis XIV must have been the smelliest. His throne doubled as a toilet, and he would use it while conducting court sessions.

One would expect the court to notice the smell. But when Louis XIV was in the room, there were enough smells going around already to block it out. The man only bathed three times in his entire life, which was on the low side even by 17th-century standards.

The king made up for the stench by filling his rooms with flowers and dousing himself in perfume. In fact, he had a team design him a new perfume every week.

He would also change his shirt three times a day, which he firmly believed was all one really needed to do to stay clean. Like the toilet, his wardrobe changes were never affairs to be done behind closed doors. Every morning, the king of France called 100 men into his room to watch him while he got dressed.

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10 Royal Families Riddled With Incest

10 Royal Families Riddled With Incest

 

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Ah, royalty. The word conjures images of power, wealth, the means to shape history, and . . . inbreeding?

With so much at stake, royal families across the world have tried to keep the bloodlines clean and the seat of power firmly intact through strategic intermarriage. Ignoring rules of consanguinity may have kept various family members gainfully employed for generations. What’s the downside? (Aside from the inherent grossness, of course.) The overlapping of genetic material elevates chances of health and developmental problems, as well as murder and exile.

King Tut’s many health issues—necrosis, a partially cleft palate, and stillborn children with his own sister-wife—are thought to be connected to his family tree, which looked more like a wreath due to generations of incestuous coupling. Perhaps the most famous example of the perils of inbreeding is King Charles II, the last of Spain’s Hapsburg rulers. The result of 200 years of intermarriage, Charles’s tongue was so large that he could barely speak, and his infamous Hapsburg jaw was so pronounced that he was unable to chew. The behavior that his ancestors chose to keep the crown ended up terminating their line instead. And there are a lot more where they came from.

10 The Monomotapa Of Zimbabwe

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Photo credit: Jackie R/Wikimeda

Various African monarchies practiced dynastic incest, including the Monomotapa of Zimbabwe. Kings were extremely active in polygamy, with one king countingover 3,000 women as wives. His preferred main wives were his sisters or daughters. If anyone who wasn’t king tried to marry his wife or daughter, they were subject to death.

The Monomotapa incest tradition is illustrated in the origin story of the Balovedu Tribe’s Rain Queen lineage. The Rain Queen is historically known as a powerful ruler and magician with the power to bring rain or drought to her friends or enemies. Despite the legality of incest within the royal family, the oral tradition implies that the power was given to the first rain queen, Princess Dzugundini, after she birthed a child with her brother (or father, in some stories) and had to flee due to public shame. Rather than kill both the child and the princess, the king gave his daughter rain-making power and arranged for her to escape.

9 Cleopatra

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Cleopatra VII is still one of the most widely known rulers in Western culture. Her romances and power are the subject of a Shakespeare play, many films, and even an opera, but one marriage in her life often goes overlooked. According to family custom, Cleopatra was married to both of her brothers. In fact, only six individuals filled the 16 great-grandparent roles on Cleopatra’s family tree.

While obesity ran in Cleopatra’s family and is possibly linked to the deep levels of intermarriage throughout the years, the most dangerous result of incest in the case of the Ptolemy family tree was the violence that ensued over power grabs. Intermarriage kept power and wealth within the family, but sibling rivalry took on a whole new meaning when control over Egypt was concerned. Royals frequently turned to murder to maintain their status. Cleopatra herself killed not one buttwo brother-husbands as well as her sister in successful bids for power.

8 Nahienaena Of Hawaii

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For the monarchy that once existed in Hawaii, incest was encouraged as a privilege for the royal family. One example is Princess Nahienaena, who was born in 1815. According to some, she was romantically involved with her brother from early childhood.

Christian missionaries who were gaining influence in the kingdom protested greatly when they learned that Nahienaena and her brother, Prince Kauikeaouli (later known as Kamehameha III), were to marry and produce an heir together. The missionaries persuaded Nahienaena and Kamehameha III to marry other people, but they openly consummated their affair regardless of the new marital arrangements.

Nahienaena found herself shunned by both the church and her people, who were by then more intensely influenced by the missionaries. A sickly daughter died shortly after birth. Devastated, Nahienaena died less than a year later. Historians believe that their relationship was more than royal duty, and the siblings were actually deeply in love.

7 Incan Incest

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Intermarriage existed during the later years of the Incan Empire. While marriage between blood relatives was prohibited for the general population, nobles were exempted from this rule because they were above human law and different than their fellow men.

At first, it was common to marry half-sisters so that the common grandfather’s line would be strengthened. Problems arose in terms of succession because rulers tended to have more than one wife, mistress, and concubine. As a result, people began to believe that children with two parents of royal blood instead of one would have a stronger claim to the throne.

Rules were established when Incan emperor Pachacuti chose a younger son, Thupa Inka Yupanki, over another for his military skill. Thupa’s female sibling was called a full sister, not a half-sister, to strengthen the rights of her future sons. The changes did not have a lasting effect. Thupa Inka Yupanki’s brother attempted a coup anyway, and the lineage was lost to civil war one generation later.

6 Maria Of Portugal

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Maria I of Portugal has the distinction of being the first queen regnant to rule her country, but she is also distinguished by her nickname, Maria the Mad.

Despite extreme piety, Maria married her uncle Pedro (when crowned, he was renamed Peter III) in 1778. Peter III was Maria’s father’s younger brother and 43 years old to her 26. The family web became more tangled when Maria and Peter III’s son and heir, Joseph, married his aunt (Maria’s sister) Benedita. Joseph was merely 15 while Benedita was 30. Therefore, Peter III’s daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece were the same person.

As is often the case with incestuous relationships, the couple could not have children, and Benedita miscarried twice. Joseph died of smallpox two years after his father, which hastened the collapse of Maria’s mental state. Maria’s second son ruled in her place, but the family was forced out of Portugal to Brazil by Napoleon.

The inter-family love didn’t stop there. Generations later, Maria II was betrothed to her father’s brother to solve an abdication crisis.

5 Elisabeth Of Austria

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Elisabeth of Austria was said to be convinced that her lineage was cursed by madness. However, it must have been difficult to pinpoint which family held the curse because her tree was so entangled.

Elisabeth’s mother, Ludovika of Bavaria (married to a cousin) was one of 13 children born to Prince Maximillian of Bavaria. Ludovika’s sister Sophie married Archduke Franz Karl of Austria, and they together had a son, Franz Joseph, later Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. Ludovika groomed her other daughter Helene to marry the Emperor, but Franz Joseph fell in love at first sight with Elisabeth and quickly proposed marriage.

The marriage was a disaster. Elisabeth hated court life and had a contentious relationship with her aunt and mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie. Her health suffered, but this wasn’t because of the overlap of genes from incest. It was the Emperor’s affairs (he is rumored to have given her a venereal disease by cheating), and Elisabeth’s depression. She had anxious tendencies, was obsessed with her weight and diet, and suffered a nervous breakdown.

The family tree remained rather circular in subsequent generations. Elisabeth’s daughter married her second cousin, Leopold, and Sophie and Ludovika’s other sister, Karolina, married Francis II, the grandfather of Franz Joseph. In other words, Karolina was both aunt and step-grandmother to the Emperor, and sister and step-mother-in-law to Archduchess Sophie.

4 King Rama V

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King Rama V is credited as a reform-minded ruler and talented diplomat who prevented Siam from colonial domination. He abolished slavery and overhauled Siam’s government, laying the foundation for Thailand as a modern state with accomplishments like the first public hospitals and rail systems. He was also accomplished in another way: fatherhood.

Tradition dictated a fruitful reign, which Chulalongkorn (as he was also known) apparently took seriously. He fathered 77 children with an estimated 153 royal consorts, concubines, and wives. The role of queen was reserved for royal blood, and Chulalongkorn chose his four half-sisters as wives.

Despite the sheer number of children, the king installed Western tutors for all of them and sent numerous sons to college in Europe. He was also aware of how the outside world may have perceived his martial arrangement—but only in respect to its polygamy, not its incest. For this reason, the king reportedly only had himself formally portrayed with Queen Saovabha, as the rest of the women in his life were, in his words, merely “due to custom.”

3 Princess Victoria Melita

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Princess Victoria Melita is a special case because she married not one but two first cousins. She was also the granddaughter of one of the greatest examples of intermarriage, Queen Victoria, through her father, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Queen Victoria wished for her granddaughter to marry her grandson, Ernest Louis, the grand duke of Hesse. They had a daughter (and a stillborn son), but the marriage didn’t work; Victoria reportedly caught Ernest in bed with a male servant, and fights between the two were volatile. After Queen Victoria died, the couple divorced legally, but it still caused a scandal among royal circles.

Princess Victoria went on to marry the real love of her life: another first cousin, this time from her mother’s side, named Kirill Vladimirovich. Kirill was a Russian grand duke, and when they married without the approval of Tsar Nicholas II, Kirill was stripped of his office in the Navy and banished from Russia for nearly five years. Eventually, the couple was allowed back into Russia but only because a series of deaths in the Russian royal family made Kirill third in the line of succession. Though Kirill was first cousin to both the Tsar and his wife, the relationship never warmed.

2 Queen Victoria

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Queen Victoria is well known as a prolific matriarch who believed that intermarriage between European royalty could guarantee peace. Her matchmaking, first of her nine children then of her grandchild, cross-pollinated nearly every royal family in Europe but greatly contributed to the end of the imperial age. In fact, family relations between the descendants who ruled England, Russia, and Britain were very central to World War I.

Kaiser Wilhelm’s extreme insecurities and anger toward Britain was directly linked to his English mother’s insistence throughout his upbringing that anything English was superior to Germany. Historians point to the years leading up to World War I as plagued not only by political upheaval but personal familial vendettas by Wilhelm against his cousins King Edward VII and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

Family feuding was not the only calamity that resulted from the royal inbreeding. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert were first cousins. Along with their descendants marrying among themselves, this is likely how the affliction of hemophilia spread: a woman must acquire the gene from both of her parents. Five grandchildren and one child of Victoria’s died due to complications of hemophilia.

Her granddaughter Tsarina Alexandra’s treatment for the afflicted Alexis, heir to the Russian throne, was the most disastrous for the world at large. During World War I, the stress of having the Tsar off with his soldiers at war, as well as the constant battle to keep her son from dying, pushed the Tsarina to keep a self-described mystic healer named Rasputin as one of her most trusted confidants. Nobles and laypersons alike grew suspicious of Rasputin’s growing power. The Tsarina’s dependence on the mystic, as well as her German lineage, added spark to an already dangerous powder keg of Russian discontent. The Imperial Familywere murdered after the Tsar was forced to abdicate the throne.

1 Ancient Rome

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The famous ruler Nero had a salacious side, including rumors of wandering the street to murder innocent citizens at random. His mother, Agrippina, along with his former tutor Seneca, tried to reign in his terrible behavior. This had the opposite of the intended effect: Nero ended up murdering his mother.

However, the relationship was much more complicated than a case of Nero acting the part of an extreme enfant terrible. Agrippina married the Emperor Claudius—her uncle—to strengthen Nero’s right to the throne. On top of that union, which was indeed considered incestuous in the eyes of Roman law, Agrippina schemed further to remove the supporters of Claudius’s natural heir and orchestrated the suicide of the fiance of Claudius’s daughter, Octavia.

When Nero married his step-sister Octavia, the only impediment that remained was Claudius himself. Agrippina again took action, and one year after Nero and Octavia’s marriage, Claudius died suddenly of suspected mushroom poisoning. Nero subsequently found himself as the leader of the Roman Empire at the age of 16.

Agrippina’s actions suggest that she was incredibly vested in Nero’s success, but her interest took an even more intense turn than murder and power. Sensual acts of kissing and the like were witnessed and recorded by the historian and politician Tacitus, and Agrippina was indeed vocal about her intimacy with her son. It became so worrisome that Nero’s lover, Acte, warned him, “The army would not tolerate an emperor who offended the gods.” He was referring to incest, which was absolutely taboo.

Agrippina’s jealousy over Nero’s affairs with women like Acte (who reportedly bore a striking resemblance to Agrippina) and Poppaea Sabina, whom she saw as rivals for his affections, eventually caused her demise. Nero orchestrated the murder of his mother in A.D. 59.

 

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