Encouraging Women to Propose on Leap Day: How did it start?
The legend goes that St. Bridget of Ireland was frustrated that all the non-nun ladies in 5th century Ireland had to sit around waiting for proposals that might never come. She complained about it to St. Patrick who, probably impressed by Bridget’s ability to turn her used bathwater into beer, finally proclaimed that women could have the chance to propose themselves once every four years on the leap day. This became known as “The Ladies’ Privilege.”
Who’s done it?
A handful of famous women have proposed to their husbands, although sadly none that we can find on a leap day.
In 1839 Queen Victoria proposed to Albert, a situation necessitated by the fact that she held a much higher rank than him. Victoria recorded in her diary,
“At about half past 12 I sent for Albert; he came to the [room] where I was alone, and after a few minutes I said to him, that I thought he must be aware of why I wished [him] to come here, and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (to marry me); we embraced each other over and over again, and he was so kind, so affectionate…I told him I was quite unworthy of him and kissed his dear hand.”
Zsa Zsa Gabor has claimed that she proposed to all of her nine husbands. The first proposal was when she was only 15 years old, to her 35-year-old boyfriend, a Turkish official named Burhan Asaf Belge. It was Gabor’s parents who provided the ring, sporting a ten carat diamond, for their daughter.
More recently, celebrities such as Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Heather Mills, and the singer Pink have admitted to proposing to their husbands (or ex-husbands).
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