The Architecture of Love

My husband and I have a strict embargo on pricey Valentine’s gifts that dates from the time we first starting dating nine years ago. Back then we could barely afford our rent so the idea of giving one another something as extravagant as, say, a castle never would have crossed our minds.

Luckily for us, however, some lovers with deeper pockets than ours decided to declare their devotion through real estate — and now we can all enjoy these architectural testaments to love!

1. The most famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India was built by the Emporer Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal and completed in 1653.

2. Built on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay, New York, Boldt Castle was built by millionaire George C. Boldt at the turn of the last century. He intended to give the estate to his beloved wife Louise as a Valentine’s Day present — sadly, tragedy struck and Louise died before it was finished.

3. The testaments to the love between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are many, but Balmoral Castle, which Albert helped to design for his wife and family in their beloved Scotland, is one of the most enduring. Balmoral is also the site of the platonic romance between the widowed Queen and Mr. Brown, her Scottish servant.

4. Completed in 1892, William K. Vanderbilt gave Marble House in the fashionable summer community of Newport, Rhode Island to his wife Alva as a 39th birthday present. Though they divorced in 1895, there must have been some form of admiration between the two to occasion such a lovely gift!

5. Long before Marie Antoinette flounced around the property in her milkmaid costumes, King Louis XV built the Petit Trianon at Versailles for his longtime love Madame de Pompadour. Sadly, she died before its completion so the mini-palace went to her successor Louis’s mistress Madame du Barry.

Have any of you received a gift of real estate from your beloved? Would you like to?

Images: 1. Local Travel Tip, 2. BoldtCastle.com, 3. Balmoral Castle, 4. Branch, 5. Catherine Delors