From artists to writers to world leaders, everyone included in this selection of love letters had something passionate to say to their beloved. The relationships may not have lasted, but luckily for us, the letters have.
Love letters are the missing puzzles pieces in history.
King Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon in 1509. After 18 years of marriage and no living male heirs Henry's royal eye began to wander. Although he originally courted Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary, it was Anne who stole his heart, though she refused to be his mistress. She wanted to be Queen. Unfortunately for Anne, the temperamental King had another change of heart and ordered her execution in 1536. Henry VIII wrote Anne this letter in 1527:
I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.”
Henry VIII went on to marry four more times (six in all). Some men are clearly hard to please.
The ruthless French leader Napoleon Bonaparte had a sweet side for his wife Josephine. Although he divorced her when she could not have children, he continued to write to her. A few days after they were married, Napoleon left to command the French army near
“Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass all my time with you, having only to love you, and to think only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you?”
Hmmm....apparently even ruthless dictators have a sweet side.
The identity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “immortal beloved,” in 1812, is still a mystery, but historians believe it was Antonie Brentano, a diplomat’s daughter. Beethoven dedicated his Diabelli Variations Op. 120 to her, and in one of his letters found after his death, he famously wrote:
“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm–love me–today–yesterday–what tearful longings for you–you–you–my life–my all–farewell. Oh continue to love me–never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”
And for those of you who saw the Sex and the City movie in 2008, this is the famous quote that Big whispers in Carrie's ear right after they tied the knot at city hall. Just sayin.... : )
I suppose most of us are lonely in this big world, but we must fall tremendously in love to find it out. The cure is the discovery of our need for company — I mean company in the very special sense we've come to understand since we happened to each other — you and I. The pleasures of human experience are emptied away without that companionship — now that I've known it; without it joy is just an unendurable as sorrow. You are my life — my very life. Never imagine your hope approximates what you are to me. Beautiful, precious little baby — hurry up the sun! — make the days shorter till we meet. I love you, that's all there is to it.
Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get use to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Princess.
Johnny died just four months after June's passing. Some say of a broken heart.
John Keats (1795 - 1821) led a short but brilliant life. At the age of 23 he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, literally the girl next door. Tragically, doctors had already diagnosed the tuberculosis which would eventually kill him, so their marriage became an impossibility.
I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again - my life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me.
I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving ....I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion - I have shudder'd at it - I shudder no more - I could be martyr'd for my religion - love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet - you have ravish'd me away by a power I cannot resist.
- John Keats
May 12, 1869
Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love and prayer for this priceless treasure that is confided to my life-long keeping.
You cannot see its intangible waves as they flow towards you, darling, but in these lines you will hear, as it were, the distant beating of the surf.
The couples marriage lasted 34 years, until her death in 1904.
Alexandra and Nicholas II (Romanov) were the last Tsarina and Tsar of Russia. They married in May 1896 and had 5 children . The family lived in splendor until July 1918, when they were executed by the Bolsheviks in the basement of their home.
Tsarina Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia:
Off you go again alone and its with a very heavy heart I part from you. No more kisses and tender caresses for ever so long -- I want to bury myself in you, hold you tight in my arms, make you feel the intense love of mine.
You are my very life Sweetheart, and every separation gives such endless heartache...
Goodbye my Angel, Husband of my heart I envy my flowers that will accompany you. I press you tightly to my breast, kiss every sweet place with tender love...
God bless and protect you, guard you from all harm, guide you safely and firmly into the new year. May it bring glory and sure peace, and the reward for all this war has cost you.
I gently press my lips to yours and try to forget everything, gazing into your lovely eyes - I lay on your precious breast, rested my tired head upon it still. This morning I tried to gain calm and strength for the separation. Goodbye wee one, Lovebird, Sunshine, Huzy mine, Own!