If you’re thinking that a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates will cut it this Valentine’s Day, then think again Gentlemen. Have a read of these 5 of the most romantic gestures in history and maybe you’ll be inspired…
1. BUILDING THE TAJ MAHAL
The iconic Taj Mahal took over 10 years to build and nearly bankrupted the empire, but did you know that it was originally built so that the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan could express his love for one woman, his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz died giving birth to their 14th child, her death caused him such grief that he not only banned music and entertainment for 2 years, but set about building the Taj Mahal as a monument to her memory. He is now buried alongside her in the mausoleum.
2. JOE DIMAGGIO SENDING FLOWERS TO MARILYN MONROE’S GRAVE
Although only married for less than a year in 1954, Joe remained infatuated by the blonde beauty for the rest of his life. DiMaggio was the one who secured her release from a psychiatric ward when she sustained an emotional collapse in the wake of her divorce from Arthur Miller. It was rumoured that DiMaggio was going to propose again before her death in 1962. DiMaggio never remarried and never mentioned Monroe in any interview afterwards. In one of the most famous romantic gestures in history, he sent red roses to her grave three times a week for the next 20 years. Now if that’s not love, we don’t know what is.
3. THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON
King Nebuchadnezzar II supposedly built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the sixth century B.C. as a gift for his wife, Amytis of Media. Ancient history suggests that Amytis had difficulty adjusting to life in the flat deserts of Babylon and yearned for the forests and mountains of her native Media (Kurdistan). To rid her homesickness, Nebuchadnezzar II demanded the construction of a series of terraced gardens within the walls of the city. The Hanging Gardens were hundreds of meters wide and filled with a variety of exotic plants and flowers. The oasis within the desert is one of the ancient wonders of the world and the location still unknown, therefore it’s reality remains uncertain, but it’s certainly a romantic gesture we’d like to believe in.
4. EDWARD V111’S ABDICATION OF THE THRONE
The affair between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII is the stuff of legends. Is there anything more romantic than choosing a woman over your throne and country? Probably not. But their love story was not without controversy. Not only was Simpson an American, she was also married and had already been previously divorced. The media portrayed Simpson as everything from a manipulative seductress to a German spy and their relationship threw the monarchy into outrage. Edwards was forced to choose between his love for Wallis and the love for his crown and country, he chose love. In December 1936 he abdicated, Simpson divorced her husband, and the pair were married in 1937, spending the rest of their lives in France.
5. HORACE GREASLEY’S PRISON CAMP ESCAPES
One of the most romantic gestures in history has to be this one, tragic though it is. The British soldier, Horace Greasley was a World War II prisoner who escaped from his prison camp over 200 times to be with his lover Rosa Rauchbach. Greasley was originally captured by the Nazis in 1940 and sent to a detention centre in Germany, where he began the passionate affair with Rosa Rauchbach, a German of Jewish descent who was working as a translator at the time. The couple were separated when Greasley was taken to a new camp 40 miles away. In a desperate bid to see Rauchbach, Greasley would break out of prison up to four times a week, making his way to wherever she was working and returning before his absence was noticed. Tragically, after Greasley’s liberation in 1945 Rauchbach and her baby (assumed to have been fathered by Greasley) died in childbirth shortly afterwards.