Throughout history many names became linked together to the point that one is seldom heard without the other. Lewis and Clark for example, forever joined as if they were one entity, in reality lived totally separate lives beyond the Voyage of Discovery which bears their name. Celebrities have been linked together as well, writers, performers, critics, and couples, though their relationships were viewed, or in some cases came to be viewed, as somewhat odd, either in their time or due to its inexorable passage. The first president/vice-presidential team in American history – Washington and Adams – were viewed as an odd combination in their day, for example; a New England Yankee, short, rotund, well-versed in political discourse and dispute, and a tall, elegant, Virginia gentleman and war hero, well-above the political fray.
Not all of history’s odd couples were involved in personal relationships, yet they are linked to each other by their shared history. Some were of course linked personally, others politically, and still others professionally, as performers, inventors, relatives, or simply as fodder for editors and gossip columnists. At one time they were all well known for their interactions with each other, some more so than others. History shows their relationships to have been, well, somewhat different, notably so at the time and since. Here are some of history’s odd couples, from different walks of life.
1. Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
Henry VII had been married three times already when he became betrothed to Anne of Cleves, destined to become his fourth wife (technically, Henry was only married three times in total, since three of his marriages were annulled, a legal term which denies that a marriage took place). One of the annulled marriages was to Anne of Cleves, who was unseen by Henry until shortly before their wedding day. By that time the marriage was a political and diplomatic necessity, though Henry was unimpressed by what he had seen of his new bride. According to all parties involved, the marriage was never consummated, and was annulled after only six months.
Henry did not have the courtier responsible for the match with Anne executed, as legend reports, and there is some doubt whether he truly said “but now I like her much worse” after seeing her on their wedding night. After the annulment Anne remained a member of Henry’s court, and actually outlived all of the other of Henry’s wives, treated by the King as a close and trusted friend. Their marriage was the shortest of his six, but she was the last of the fabled six wives to die, and probably became the most trusted of all of his marital companions, regardless of the length of their union.