Such a wife is hard to find!
Few wives, royal or commoner, could have been more patient and loving than Empress Maria Leopoldina Josepha Carolina, consort of Dom Pedro I of Brazil.
Leopoldina married Dom Pedro when she was 19, but was deeply hurt to find her husband, also 19, had a mistress, Dona Domitila de Castro e Mello. But she loved her husband and after he had pleaded tearfully with her, Leopoldina swallowed her pride and agreed to make Dona Domitila her lady-in-waiting.
Dona Domitila, by the way, had a husband, but he was out of the way. He was in jail for stabbing her for infidelity!
Life went on in the strange household with Dom Pedro never ceasing to sing the praises of his understanding wife, and when Dona Domitila’s husband came out of prison, giving him a huge sum of money as an inducement to stay away from the Court in Rio de Janeiro.
In December 1825 both the patient wife and the mistress bore sons to Dom Pedro, within five days of each other. Empress Leopoldina, of course, was unhappy about this but she would refuse her husband nothing. So when the royal Don Juan asked her for another favor – to allow Dona Domitila to accompany her on an ocean cruise so both women could recuperate after childbirth, she couldn’t say no.
Dom Pedro then created his mistress a Countess, while at the same time showering praise on his wife. But in the end the Empress could take no more and, during the voyage, sacked her lady-in-waiting. Dona Domitila was so furious that Dom Pedro could not quieten her until he had made her a Marchioness with her own palace!
Leopoldina the generous died not long after in childbirth. And although Dom Pedro may have wanted to marry his mistress, political considerations made it impossible for him to do so. So Domitila was dismissed, returning to São Paulo, where she married again, this time to Brigadier Rafael Tobias de Aguiar.