16 People in History Who Schemed and Plotted Their Way to the Top

14. Anne Hyde Married Her Baby Daddy – the Future King

Charles II, the heir apparent to the British throne in the seventeenth century, earned the consternation of the entire country when he courted a commoner, Anne Hyde. The two could often be seen in public engaging in public displays of affection, such as hugging and kissing, something considered extremely inappropriate at the time. To make things even more scandalous, though, the couple engaged in premarital sex. When Anne discovered that she was pregnant with the heir apparent’s son, the couple quickly became married. The child died soon after birth, but Anne was now in a position of power and prestige in what was becoming the most powerful nation in the Western world.

Samuel Pepys, a navy administrator and member of Parliament, said of the marriage, “… that the Duke of York’s marriage with her hath undone the kingdom, by making the Chancellor so great above reach, who otherwise would have been but an ordinary man, to have been dealt with by other people …” The couple went on to have seven more children, all but two of whom died in infancy. Anne II and Mary, their two surviving children, went on to achieve their historical prominence as British rulers. Following Anne’s premature death, due to advanced breast cancer, the royal court would not let him marry another commoner.