Reading, 30

You are going to read about five men with strong wives. For questions 22 – 35, choose from the list of men A-E. Some of them may be chosen more than once. When more than one answer is required, these may be given in any order. There is an example at the beginning (0).

Which husband:

eventually took the role of influencing his wife?  0: A 

harmed his wife’s career?    22: ___

was much older than his wife?   23: ___

was of a much lower social status than his wife?  24: ___

caused great sorrow to his wife when he died?   25: ___

did not stand by his wife when she needed it?    26: ___

was murdered by his wife?   27: ___

had a devoted wife?    28: ___      29: ___

helped his wife improve her looks?  30: ___

was not happily married to his wife?    31: ___     32: ___

helped his wife’s career by giving her money?     33: ___

was of aristocratic origins?       34: ___         35: ___


A Mr Queen Victoria

Born in 1819, Prince Albert, the younger son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, married Queen Victoria in 1840 and became her private secretary, His position as a foreigner in Victoria’s court required a great deal of tact from the royal couple and initially he was excluded from state affairs. Soon his political abilities and social skills began to show and eventually he found that he was advising his wife on most aspects of her political duties. The renowned Great Exhibition was held at his suggestion in 1851. It wasn’t until after his death, in 1861, that his contribution to the arts, science and social welfare of Britain was recognised. The Queen remained in mourning for the rest of her life.

B Mr Benazir Bhutto

Former Pakistani ‘first husband’ Asif Ali Zardari does not have a good reputation as a political figure. Many people believe that his wife lost her position as Prime Minister in 1996 as a result of his arrest on charges of corruption. As Finance Minister, he was unofficially named ‘Mr Ten Per Cent’ supposedly referring to the cut he took in all state contracts during Bhutto’s reign, in which 1 billion pounds is believed to have been mishandled. Zardari was then accused of involvement in the murder of his wife’s brother, and political rival, Murtaza, who was shot dead in a mysterious police ambush in September 1996. Bhutto has supported him through his darkest moments, even though she suffered guilt by association. Should he avoid blame this time, however, the couple’s relationship may become a lillie distant.

C Mr Catherine the Great

Pity poor Peter III. In marrying the German Princess Sophia Augusta von Anhalt-Zerbst (Catherine II), the successor to the Tsarina Elizabeth bit off more than he could chew. His first act after coronation in 1762 was to return to Frederick the Great all the Prussian provinces conquered by Russia during the Seven Years War. Unsurprisingly the military was unimpressed and he was killed in a coup led by his wife and her lover Count Orlov. Catherine’s subsequent love affairs with different officers and politicians were widely publicised, although it is said she was devoted to Peter in the early years of their marriage.

D Mr Celine Dion

When the parents of 12-year-oid Canadian singer Celine Dion sent promotions manager Mr Angelil a demo tape, he liked it so much he cried. Then, much to his first wife’s annoyance, he mortgaged the family home to finance her debut album. By the age of 18, Dion had had seven French-speaking hit albums, before Angelil paid for English lessons to help her make an impression on the major pop markets. Then it was time to get her teeth fixed and for her to lose some weight to squeeze into all those cute little Chanel numbers. Enter the new Mrs Angelil, 26 years his junior, and the most successful singer in the world.

E Mr Liz Taylor VII

The marriage of former truck driver Larry Fortensky to Elizabeth Taylor never had much chance of success. However, the couple was optimistic. Fortunately, her seventh husband, even signed a prenuptial agreement which left him very little in the case of divorce. According to insiders it wasn’t Taylor who caused the breakdown of their four year marriage but Fortensky who went out on the town while his wife was recovering from a hip-replacement operation. Consequently, the marriage was over. Oh, and about that pre-nup: he attempted to have it overturned to sue for 3 million pounds.

Check your answers here


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