Who hasn't heard the love story between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson? Oh, it's such a modern fairy tale, a king in love with a commoner! True love conquers all!
Blah, blah, blah.
For a decade before Edward and Wallis there was King Carol II of Romania and his mistress, Elena (also known as Magda) Lupescu.
The duo met in 1923. Carol's parents were the king and queen of Romania. Elena's parents were Romanian Jews who converted to Christianity; her father was an apothecary. Carol, then the crown prince, was on his second marriage, Elena was either freshly divorced or still married to her first husband (the sources are not clear). A love affair ensued. Carol divorced his wife, abdicated in favor of his son Michael, and was forbidden to return to Romania.
Soon after, Carol's father died and five-year-old Michael was crowned king. Carol and Elena, not content with shtupping in exile, made their triumphant return, with Carol deposing his son and declaring himself king. He and Elena did not marry, but she was described by some as the power behind the throne.
In 1938, Carol proclaimed himself dictator, but then a little conflict called World War II happened. Carol was forced to abdicate in favor of his son for the second time, and fled Romania, never to return. He and Elena ended up in Brazil, and were finally married in 1947, after knowing each other for 24 years.
How is that for a love story?