Dating the Royal Way!
When you decide to take the plunge into the world of online dating, it could be for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps you’re at the end of your rope. You could be looking for something totally new and exciting. Maybe you’ve heard how popular it is and wish to see for yourself. Regardless of your reasons, you’ll probably still end up picture surfing to find that certain hottie to send a virtual flirt.
Oh, you think choosing a date based on a photo is a new-age Internet thing? Think again, my friend. The practice has been around since medieval times, where European royalty would commission portraits and hope to make connections based on their likeness.
In the 1560s, Erik XIV, King of Sweden, was seeking political alliances due to other large empires of the time such as Spain and England. Even the King’s name, Erik XIV, was essentially for political gain. King Erik was actually the first; XIV, however, sounded far more distinguished.
Taking over after his father’s reign, King Gustav Vasa, Erik decided to take a page from his predecessor’s book and send his portrait out to various women of high standing, hoping his likeness would secure a marriage agreement. Among those receiving Erik’s portrait was Elizabeth I of England and Mary I of Scotland. Both declined, however, and Erik eventually wed Karin Mansdotter in 1567.
One of the most famous cases of a European king commissioning a portrait of a woman was King Henry VIII of England. During his reign, after his third wife Jane Seymour died following childbirth, Henry was looking for political alliance. At the advice of his court, King Henry sought marriage with the Duke of Cleves’ sister, Anne of Cleves.
However, a young Anne refused to show her face in person to the King, so Henry commissioned Hans Holbein to paint a portrait of the Lady. Although, upon meeting, Henry VIII discovered Anne to be nothing like her painting, thus the unruly monarch was disgusted and stayed married to Queen Anne for six short months before divorcing her and sending her far from London.
Many important figures throughout medieval Europe would commission portraits to give and get a glimpse of a person’s likeness. It was common practice. So, the next time you’re photo surfing on a dating site, remember that folks were essentially doing the same some five hundred years ago.
Also, King Henry’s tale should be one of caution to all those looking to date solely based on looks. Even though pictures offer a more accurate portrayal than a painting, a still image can always be misleading. And by judging the entire book on its cover, you’ll certainly miss out on other qualities in a potential mate.