Great Love Affairs That Changed the Course of History, Part Three
Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II
Queen Isabella I of Castile (born April 22, 1451), and King Ferdinand II of Aragon (born March 10, 1452), were medieval Catholic monarchs of two neighboring kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain).
Following several coerced betrothals by Isabella's brothers aimed at uniting their kingdom with one of the neighboring kingdoms, Isabella announced that she’d chosen Ferdinand of Aragon. However, since Isabella and Ferdinand were second cousins and stood within the “degrees of blood-relative” prohibition, their marriage wouldn’t be possible unless a dispensation from the Pope was granted. Finally, with the help of Rodrigo Borgia (later, Pope Alexander VI), Isabella and Ferdinand were granted a Papal Bull by Pius II authorizing Ferdinand to covertly marry within the “third degree of consanguinity,” making their marriage seemingly legal. Finally on October 19, 1469, they were married in the Palacio de los Vivero in the city of Valladolid.
Though initially marrying to unify their respective kingdoms, the two cousins quickly became so enamored with one another that they became inseparable--deciding to rule their lands jointly. As Catholics who shared a mutual hatred of both Muslims and Jews, their union was ultimately so successful that they were able to finally banish the Moors from the city of Granada, which the Moors had occupied since 711 AD. And with the unifying power base the two created, the transition from a land of several individual states to a unified España, established in 1504, was a natural progression that helped establish Spain as a world power by the 16th century.
While some historians argue that the formation of Spain was an historical inevitability, there can be little doubt that the power that resulted through Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand’s love affair certainly sped up the process--perhaps by decades and maybe even centuries. Additionally, it was their grandson, Charles VI, who later went on to rule the Holy Roman Empire (present day Germany and parts of Central Europe), another result of their passionate union.
Charles Lindbergh and Anne Spencer Morrow
Charles “Lucky Lindy” Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., born in Detroit, Michigan on February 4, 1902, was an American aviator who became internationally famous in 1927 when after making the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Playing on his celebrity, he was chosen to lead a goodwill mission to Mexico to promote Mexico-US relations. There, Charles met and began courting Anne Morrow, the shy 21-year-old daughter of US Senator Dwight W. Morrow, the United States Ambassador to Mexico. A short time later, Charles began teaching Anne to fly, drawing international attention and envy as the couple became one of America’s first bone fide celebrity couples.
Married in a private ceremony on May 27, 1929, Anne flew her first solo later that same year, and in 1930 became the first American woman to earn a first-class glider pilot's license. In 1930 (when Anne was seven months pregnant), the couple set a Los Angeles-to-New York air speed record, and throughout the coming decade proceeded to explore and chart air routes between the continents, becoming the first pilots to fly from Africa to South America. Additionally, together they made history by charting potential air routes for commercial airlines and explored polar air routes from North America to Asia and Europe.
Though their marriage was ultimately plagued by numerous affairs and the infamous kidnapping-murder of their first son in 1932, there is little doubt that their great love ultimately resulted in Anne’s not only taking to the skies and becoming the first female glider pilot (and making several major contribution to air flight and aeronautics), but led to her contribution to the women’s feminist movement that saw Anne as an extraordinary role model.
In 1993, Women in Aerospace presented Anne (who died in 2001), with an Aerospace Explorer Award in recognition of her achievements in, and contributions to, the aerospace field.
John Waties-Waring and Elizabeth Avery
Julius Waties-Waring was born on July 27, 1880, in Charleston, South Carolina, to Edward Perry Waring and Anna Thomasine Waties. Growing up in Charleston, John became the epitome of the Southern politician, becoming a popular member of the Charleston elite when in 1941 he was appointed a federal judge.
However, soon after taking his place on the bench, Waring began displaying behavior quite unbecoming a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner: he ended segregated seating in his courtroom, appointed John Fleming, a black man, as his bailiff, and then divorced his Southern-born wife of 32 years, marrying twice-divorced Detroit native Elizabeth Avery, a women known for her liberal views concerning race relations.
By 1940, Waring had undergone what many constituents saw as an astonishing transformation, him becoming an outspoken critic of racial segregation. Then on December 18, 1941, Waring was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina, receiving his appointment in January of 1942.
In 1952, Judge Waring heard the first of the five initial cases combined into the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Briggs v. Elliott, argued on behalf of the NAACP by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Agreeing that segregation is indeed unconstitutional, Waring sided with the NAACP, declaring, "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," which was later adopted by unanimous decision by the Supreme Court, who reverse the lower court's ruling.
Additionally, due to Waring’s court ruling, the segregationists’ “separate but equal” doctrine was declared unconstitutional, thus laying the groundwork for the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision. Historians (and family) have no doubt that is was Julius’ love for his wife Elizabeth that not only convinced him to reconsider centuries of Southern attitudes, but led to an historical change of US Federal law.
Morrow, Anne. (1980). War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939-1944, New York: Harcourt.
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