Bianco Capello was an Italian noblewoman who was the mistress, and afterward the second wife, of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 1541-1587). She was promised by the duke that he would marry her—but only if she bore him a son. That was a problem because Bianca was barren. So the clever mistress found a way, though. Bianca simply pretended to be pregnant for nine months! She then adopted the newborn son of an unmarried girl, smuggled the infant into her bedroom, and secured the crown.
Kissing a Leper
Leprosy was once believed to be highly contagious and was treated with mercury. Leper kissing became fashionable among medieval ascetics and religious nobility during the 1100s and 1200s in Europe. Lepers at the time were the lowest of the low and getting too close to them was risking infection and becoming as low as they were. So kissing lepers was considered proof of humility. It was proof that the persons considered themselves to be above no one.
The Country That Was Not
After the end of the Second World War, Denmark was liberated from German occupation. It was unclear what was going to happen to far-flung provinces and colonies of the Kingdom of Denmark, which at the time included Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. The residents of Faroe Islands took matters into their own hands. They voted 50.74 percent in favor of independence from Denmark. But their declaration of independence was annulled by the Danish King, Christian X. Technically the Faroe Islands had been independent for just two days!
Compiled by: Sameer Miyaz Ahmed
Famous People, Funny Stories
George W. Bush’s press secretary Dana Perino was injured in the commotion after someone threw a shoe at Bush in Baghdad. The president thought she was just crying on his behalf. He leaned down and put his arm around her and asked, "What happened? I saw you crying but I thought it was just because the guy threw a shoe at me." Perino leaned into him and replied, "You know I love you, Mr. President — but I grew up out West, and I am a little tougher than that.”
American singer Bob Dylan and Hollywood actor Warren Beatty were neighbors in the late ‘80s, but it seems their relationship wasn’t all that neighborly. According to Peter Biskind’s book on Beatty, Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, Beatty found himself at Dylan’s place quite a lot while trying to woo Joyce Hyser. And while Beatty liked Dylan because Dylan made him feel “normal”, Dylan did not feel at ease. Instead, he found Beatty so secretive that he suspected him of being a Freemason.
Sir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad, was the world's richest man. He had 86 mistresses, 100 illegitimate sons and employed 38 staff to dust palace chandeliers. Yet he also knitted his own socks, wore the same patched clothes for months and cadged cigarettes from his guests. The crumpled turban that he always wore was in stark contrast to the USD50-million ostrich-egg sized diamond he used as a paperweight. He was officially called His Exalted Highness, but was nicknamed His Exhausted Highness because of his complicated love life.
Indian National Congress leader Vallabhbhai Patel’s wife Jhaverba Patel was admitted to a hospital and went to Ahemdabad to fight a case in a court. While the court procedures were going on, he got a telegram. He read it and quietly kept it in his coat and continued with the proceedings. After adjournment of the court, judge asked him, “What was that you got during the proceedings and interrupted the court? Did you get another evidence in the case?” Patel calmly replied, “No my lord, telegram conveyed the demise of my wife.”