Last year, I wrote a blog post about the worst boyfriends in history – and I’m not talking about my ex who looked like Count Chocula. From Henry VIII (who executed more than one wife and invented a religion simply so he could get a divorce) to Vlad the Impaler (who has the word “impaler” in his name!), the list tackled five male historical figures who were not only ruthless and manipulative, but who would also make horrible boyfriends. Did your boyfriend forget your anniversary? Well, he’s a saint next to Emperor Nero.
Of course, I couldn’t put together a “worst boyfriends” list without posting a list of the worst girlfriends in history as well! Because of women’s roles over the past few centuries, this was a much harder list to create. A lot of the women who were deemed “crazy” by society were actually victims of infidelity and physical/mental abuse, so there was a lot more to the story than met the eye. However, a few of history’s leading ladies still stand out as pretty bad girlfriends/wives.
Dust off those history books, kids. You’re about to get schooled.
The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends in History
1. Elizabeth Bathory.
Nobody wants to bring home a serial killer, and that’s exactly what this Hungarian countess was. Over the years, she tortured and brutally murdered hundreds of young servant girls. Some stories even suggest that she drank and bathed in their blood to steal their beauty and youth. Although those stories are probably just a myth, Lady Dracula was not someone you’d want to spend time alone with.
2. Mary I of England.
The daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, this queen burned so many people at the stake in the name of “religion” that history has nicknamed her “Bloody Mary.” Often dubbed one of the most evil women in history, she exiled and executed hundreds of Protestants simply because they were Protestant. This was one religious extremist you wouldn’t want to introduce to your parents.
3. Elizabeth I of England.
We can’t forget Henry VIII’s other daughter, who also eventually became the Queen of England. Unlike her half-sister, Elizabeth never married, though she did entertain offers from several suitors throughout her life. It turned out that Elizabeth was in love with Robert Dudley, her friend since childhood who happened to already be married. Over the years, she considered many proposals, but ultimately turned them all down and ruled alone. She was a powerful queen whose reign ushered in a golden age. However, she would not be one of history’s best girlfriends even if she did decide to settle down, as it was clear she would always carry a torch for Robert Dudley.
4. Mary, Queen of Scots.
Mary always reminded me of one of those girls who says “I hate drama,” but always seems to attract it. After the death of her first husband Francis, Mary was married to her first cousin Lord Darnley. However, she most likely had an affair with her private secretary, who was later murdered by Darnley and others. Soon after, Darnley was murdered – probably by James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, with whom Mary conspired. As if this wasn’t soap opera enough, Mary and the Earl of Bothwell then married. Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of history’s worst girlfriends in part because of the men she was drawn to (sorry, Mary, it happens to the best of us). If you were to begin courting her, you might want to make sure there wasn’t another jealous guy out there looking to kill you.
According to some religions, Eve was the first woman on Earth, created as a companion for Adam. After listening to a trouble-making serpent who probably was getting bored in the garden, Eve ate the forbidden apple from the tree of knowledge, and soon she and Adam were evicted from Eden. The worst punishment of all? God decided to make childbirth unbearably painful. Eve ends up on the “worst girlfriends in history” list for taking advice from a serpent with legs (aren’t they creepy enough without legs?) instead of using critical thinking skills to weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately getting herself and Adam kicked out of paradise.
Who would you consider one of the worst girlfriends in history? Sound off in the comments below.