Three Historically Terrible Father/Son Fallouts

Some fathers just like imprisoning their sons' wives in convents.

We all know how this father/son relationship ended... Image HBO

Every son fights his father at some point in life, especially if that point is puberty. But fortunately, most cases never end in tragedy.

But, what happens with famous fathers and sons? Or with kings and their heirs? Well, more often than not, things get messy. And bloody. Here at loaded, we have compiled a list of the three weirdest fallouts between fathers and sons in history.


Ivan The Terrible vs Ivan Ivanovich

Painting by Ilya Repin
Ivan the Terrible regretted killing his son after hitting him

If the nickname “The Terrible” doesn’t convince you that the guy was indeed terrible, his actions will.

Ivan was Tsar of Russia in the 16th century. In fact, he was the first leader to be known as “Tsar.” Which doesn’t make his deeds any better. You see, Ivan was prone to rage outbursts, probably caused by some type of mental illness.

But if there is one occasion in which he earned being called “terrible,” it was during his encounter with his son an heir, the Tsarevich Ivan, whom we will call Ivan Jr.

In 1581, Ivan Sr spotted Yelena, his pregnant daughter-in-law, wearing what he considered light clothing, so the demented Tsar beat her up, which led to her miscarriage. Ivan Jr wasn’t exactly happy about this, so he decided to confront his father –bad idea. Ivan Sr reacted by hitting his son in the head with his sceptre, and Ivan Jr lost consciousness and a great deal of blood.

Old Ivan then realised what he had done and started screaming “I have killed my son!” instead of calling for a medic. Poor Ivan Jr died a few days later, and his younger brother Feodor became the new Tsarevich. Apparently, Feodor was completely incompetent when it came to politics, but at least he wasn’t a murderous maniac like his father.



Alfonso the Brave vs Pedro the Cruel

Inês de Castro with her children at the feet of Afonso IV, seeking clemency for her husband Pedro

Don’t let Alfonso’s nickname fool you: this king was just as malevolent as his son.

Alfonso IV was King of Portugal in the 14th century, and one thing that defined his reign full of intrigues was his relationship with his son and heir, the future Pedro I.

As it happened back then, kings decided who their children married, and Alfonso did some matchmaking of his own and set up Pedro with Constanza Manuel. When the woman arrived at court, 19-year-old Pedro instantly fell in love with Inês de Castro, one of her ladies-in-waiting.

Pedro and Inês started an affair that would become public when Constanza died six years later. He recognised all the children she’d had as his own and declared he’d marry her. Obviously, Alfonso didn’t like this one bit.

What did he do then? What medieval kings do. He had Inês imprisoned in a convent and, very discreetly, he sent three hitmen to murder her. Needless to say, Pedro was quite mad at his father for this, and didn’t forgive him until two years later, shortly before Alfonso died.

The legend goes a bit further, because apparently, Pedro had Inês’s body exhumed so that she could be present at the coronation and everyone had to kiss her hand –not the best smell in the world.

What it is in fact true and not a legend is that Pedro had two tombs constructed so he and Inês could be buried next to each other, with an engraving that says “Until the end of the world…”, so at least in the afterlife, Alfonso can’t separate them.


Peter the Great vs Alexei Petrovich

Peter I interrogating his son Alexei

It seems like a common pattern for Tsars of Russia to have the worst relationships with their sons and heirs, and the case of Peter the Great was no different.

Peter, who reigned in the 17th and 18th centuries, had divorced Alexei’s mother à la Henry VIII, and put the poor woman in a convent, which would be enough to turn the son against the father. And of course, this means he spent his childhood listening to his mother bitch about his father.

But apparently, Peter was an abusive father, which led Alexei to alcoholism (imagine the levels of booze you have to consume to be considered an alcoholic in Russia). In the end, Alexei grew up to become a rebel.

Or at least that is the rumour. Alexei was suspected of being part of a plot to overthrow Peter. It is not likely that he had a fair trial, but we can be sure that he was tortured and then sentenced to be executed. Just what happens when your father hates you and also rules the country. Either way, poor Alexei died in prison due to all the injures he suffered while being tortured.

Lesson of the day: don’t plot against your father if he is batshit crazy.


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