The name is Bond. James Bond. The uber-cool secret service agent has led one of the longest running film series of all time. You may think you know quite a bit about the international man of mystery (and his iconic preference for shaken, not stirred, martinis), but brace yourselves as we unveil little-known facts about the 007 movies.
Apparently, Ian Fleming didn't approve of Sir Sean Connery playing James Bond in the first movie, Dr. No. The reason? Connery was, in many ways, the complete opposite to Fleming’s vision of Bond. He was Scottish, while Bond was British, working class instead of upper class, and rugged instead of refined.
However, Connery’s portrayal of the agent definitely won over Fleming. The author even added Scottish ancestry to Bond’s character in a later novel. Unfortunately though, Fleming didn't have nice things to say about the rest of the movie. He felt extremely disappointed by the overall film version of Dr. No. He called it, “Dreadful. Simply Dreadful.”
Think of Bond and you imagine cars, martinis, impeccably dressed men, and…bikinis? According to the first Bond girl, Ursula Andress, that's exactly right. In her first scene for Dr. No, she wore a customized white bikini that got viewers' hearts pounding. Though bikinis weren't very popular at the time, this changed after the movie came out. Swimwear companies reported a sharp rise in sales and Andress's own iconic two-piece sold for 35,000 pounds at auction.
Of course, Bond couldn’t just be a tall guy. He had to be heroically tall! In order to give Connery (who was already 6’2’’) some extra inches in the films, the crew specifically made the sets and furniture smaller than usual.
From Russia with Love was supposedly Connery’s favorite out of all his Bond films.
Few viewers know about the heartbreaking behind-the-scenes tragedy of From Russia With Love. The actor who played Bond’s ally Kerim Bey, Pedro Armendariz, was actually dying as the movie filmed. He had come from a movie that was shot near a nuclear test site and only took the part in From Russia so that after he passed, his family would be provided for.
As his condition deteriorated, the director Terence Young had to step in and act as Armendariz’s body double. Just a month after the movie finished shooting, Armendariz passed by suicide, rather than let the cancer progress any further.
Sales of the novel, From Russia with Love, soared after President John F. Kennedy mentioned that it was his favorite book in 1961. The interest was so pronounced that studio executives chose it to become the next Bond movie. Unfortunately, it became the last movie that the president ever watched. He was assassinated only two days after seeing the film.
Naturally, Bond must have the best. Connery received eight specially stitched Saville Row suits for From Russia with Love. Each suit cost over $2000 each.
Although it came out towards the end of 1963, From Russia with Love became the biggest hit of the year in Britain. It also became the biggest commercial success in British cinemas, with people comparing its popularity to Beatlemania.
You know the Bond phenomenon is truly timeless when a major video game company decides to turn a 1963 movie into their latest release. In 2005, Electronic Arts adapted From Russia With Love. Connery not only let the studio use his likeness in the video game, he also recorded dialogue for it, reprising his Bond role 22 years after he had last played the character.
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The Aston Martin DB5 was not the first choice for a spy car for Goldfinger. The producers first wanted an E-type Jaguar, but when Jaguar declined, they went to Aston Martin’s David Brown. He supplied them with two prototypes, one for the usual driving, and another for Bond's fancy gadgets and gizmos. The producers had to buy the cars they used for this film.
However, that didn't last long. After the movie's unprecedented success, the sales of the Aston Martin skyrocketed. The producers never had to pay for any Aston Martin cars again.
When Prince Charles was about 15 years old, he was a huge James Bond fan. As in, such a huge fan that the toy manufacturer, Corgi, produced a miniature Aston Martin DB5 just for him.
In Goldfinger, the titular villain uses nerve gas to murder anyone who witnesses his crimes. The actor who played Goldfinger, Gert Fröbe, disliked this part of the movie for an incredibly dark reason. Fröbe had been part of the Nazi party, who famously used nerve gas in concentration camps. In the end, Fröbe was right to worry about the nerve gas scene.
Israel banned the movie for years and only lifted the restriction when a Jewish family revealed that Fröbe had actually protected them during WW2.
In 2010, the Aston Martin used in Goldfinger and Thunderball was sold at auction for four million dollars.
Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, was the oldest actor to ever play a Bond girl. Even though she didn't seem like your usual mid-20s love interest, the producers wanted to cast Blackman so badly that they specially added her ability to do judo to the script. She's since become an iconic Bond Girl, so it looks like that idea worked out for them.
Of course, Bond’s production team also had to be the best at what they did. Since no one was permitted inside Fort Knox, production designer Ken Adams had to use his imagination to design the set. In the end, it looked so realistic that a 24-hour guard had to stand outside Pinewood Studios to ensure that no one would steal the fake gold bars. The comptroller at Fort Knox even sent a letter to compliment the team on their imaginative design.
The things you must do when you play Bond! Connery wasn’t very happy when he discovered he had to swim with sharks in Thunderball. He reasonably demanded a plexiglass partition to separate him from the sharks in the pool. What he did not know was that the partition wasn’t fixed in place. Connery discovered this unfortunate defect when a shark managed to get through the partition. Thankfully Connery managed to flee the pool just in time.
The stuntman Bill Cummings asked for £250 of hazard pay when he had to jump into a pool of sharks for one of the scenes in Thunderball. Fortunately, Cummings survived the dangerous sequence and pocketed the money he had asked for (and, I think we can all agree, deserved). Personally, I would’ve asked for a whole lot more cash!
Thunderball’s story called for a scene in which a shark swam dangerously close to Bond as he exited the pool. To achieve this, the team decided to use a dead shark pulled by wires so no one would get hurt. The special effects coordinator, John Stears, got in the pool to engineer the sequence, but soon discovered that the shark wasn’t, ahem, actually deceased.
The other sharks had realized this as well, and Stears accidentally became caught in the middle of a “feeding frenzy.” The cameras recorded as the crew got Stears out of the pool, thankfully unharmed. He went on to win an Oscar for Best Special Effects for the film. He had a great story to tell at parties, but man, things could have really gone south.
A scene in Thunderball calls for the villain’s yacht to crash into rocks and explode. The team got some experimental rocket fuel from a US Air Force Lieutenant to help with the explosion. It turned out to be so strong that the boat flew out of the water and almost landed on the crew. Later, they discovered that the explosion had shattered windows 30 miles away.
Thunderball was originally supposed to be the first James Bond movie, until a messy lawsuit derailed that idea. The movie began life as a screenplay that Fleming wrote with two other men. However, before the script became a film, Fleming got cold feet and walked away from the project. He then turned the screenplay into a novel.
When Harry Saltzman bought movie rights for the Bond novels from Ian Fleming, the ish hit the fan. Fleming's old writing partner initiated court proceedings, fearing that Fleming would cut him out of the movie's profits. As a result, we got Dr. No as the first Bond movie, then the studio made Thunderball when the lawsuit got wrapped up.
The chief production team were in Japan trying to finalize locations for You Only Live Twice, when they had a narrow escape from doom. Having received a last-minute invite to watch a ninja demonstration, they missed the flight they were booked on. The plane took off on scheduled time and disintegrated over Mount Fuji 25 minutes after take-off, killing everyone on board.
I’m sure the incident gave the team a whole new appreciation for the term “you only live twice.”
The Bond team hired Japan’s only practicing Ninja master to advise the stuntmen for the climactic scene in You Only Live Twice.
Think James Bond and you think of action, martinis, beautiful women, and…Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Well, apparently someone did, because the scriptwriter for You Only Live Twice was Roald Dahl! The writer best-known for children’s literature was a great friend of Ian Fleming’s and asked to adapt the book into the movie version.
Dahl repaid his friend's kindness by shading him hard. He claimed that You Only Live Twice was one of Fleming’s worst books. Because it read like a boring, dry travelogue, Dahl basically decided to throw out everything except the general setting in Japan. That's why the movie bears almost no actual resemblance to the book it's supposedly based on.
George Lazenby, who replaced Sean Connery as James Bond in On her Majesty’s Secret Service, was virtually an unknown actor when he got this role. Although he signed a seven-film contract, he confessed that he was double-minded about continuing as Bond after this one film. He felt the character of Bond would be too outdated to attract audiences in the 1970s. Man, was he wrong!
The directors had originally thought they would explain the change in actors by showing that Bond had plastic surgery. Eventually they passed on this idea, thinking it would be better if they just avoided the subject altogether and stubbornly refused to acknowledge the fact that Bond looks real different from one film to the next.
The director of Sean Connery's final Bond film, Diamonds are Forever, had a strange quirk. Reportedly, he disliked big American cars and took great pleasure in destroying them in the movie’s many car-chase scenes. Even so, the Ford company agreed to let the filmmakers use their vehicles for the car-chases, on the condition that Connery would drive their Mustang Mach 1.
Connery demanded a sum of 1.25 million dollars to do Diamonds are Forever. The producers agreed to this amount, which was unheard of at the time.
It took six takes for the crocodile keeper and stuntman, Ross Kananga, to shoot a scene in which he had to run over the backs of three crocodiles as a body double for Roger Moore in Live and Let Die. He received $60,000 for his work. Oh, and he got a funny "bonus" of sorts: After the perilous stunt, he needed a whopping 193 stitches on his leg and face.
1973’s Live and Let Die is the first Bond film in which 007 has a liaison with an African-American woman (Rosie Carver, played by Gloria Hendry). When the film was released in South Africa, however, viewers realized that something had gone very wrong. All their love scenes had to be removed because of the apartheid policies of the South African government.
Producer Harry Salzberg envisioned an extravagant elephant stampede scene for The Man with the Golden Gun. However, his plan hit a snag when he learned that elephants needed special socks to walk on unfamiliar surfaces. Later, the production team received a phone call, informing them that the 2600 elephant shoes they had ordered were ready. The scene was never shot, and the guy who made the shoes was allegedly, never paid.
I wonder what they did with those shoes though…
Part of The Spy Who Loved Me was shot in Cairo and Giza. While on location, an Egyptian Government official oversaw all aspects of filming to ensure that the movie didn't say anything that criticized the Egyptian government.
When the cinematographer of The Spy Who Loved Me started having trouble with his eyesight, a curious person stepped in to help: Stanley Kubrick. The famous director oversaw the movie’s lighting but insisted that his involvement be kept top secret.
JFK wasn’t the only one to watch a Bond movie before breathing his last. Elvis Presley is also a member of this niche club. He passed six days after watching The Spy Who Loved Me. It was the last movie he ever saw.
It’s no wonder so many companies wanted their products featured in the Bond movies. One of the cars driven in The Spy Who Loved Me was a white Lotus Esprit. After the movie came out, the demand for the car shot up so much that the company had to institute a three-year waitlist.
Moore reportedly gave 390 interviews for the promotion of Moonraker.
Not everyone likes Bond, and some of these haters are, get this, angry monks. In For Your Eyes Only, some scenes involved shooting on Meteora Mountain and in the monastery. However, the monks did not like the violence and action associated with Bond and did what they could to obstruct filming. They would hang their laundry on the windows, or drape plastic sheets on top of the monastery room to obstruct shots.
In the end, they had to back down from their anti-Bond demonstrations once the court ruled that the monks only had power to deny filming inside the monastery. Since the James Bond movie crew was filming outside the monastery, they were good to go. However, they knew they weren't welcome, so they shot the indoor scenes on a studio set.
Roger Moore was allegedly so nervous about his climbing scenes in For Your Eyes Only that he would have Valium and a tall glass of beer before any climbing sequences. Oh, and in an even less Bond-y move, Moore did all this even though he had a stuntman for all the scary shots. He only had to hang over a four-foot drop, while his stuntman had to hang over a 20-foot drop.
While filming the famous bobsled chase in For Your Eyes Only, the film crew encountered utter tragedy. A stuntman named Paolo Rigoni somehow became pinned underneath a sled that was moving at incredibly high speed. He died of his injuries.
Roger Moore’s wife would come to set and supervise her husband’s romantic scenes. Awkward...
Steven Spielberg wanted to direct a James Bond movie at one time, but the franchise's producer Albert R Broccoli only wanted British directors to helm the flicks. Getting turned down must have stung at the time, but don't worry, everything worked out fine for Spielberg. After getting dumped by the Bond executives, George Lucas offered Spielberg the chance to direct another legendary hero—Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In 1983, two Bond movies came out, only…one wasn’t really a Bond movie. Confused? We don’t blame you. Basically, Eon Productions, the studio that had made all the Bond movies to date, came out with Octopussy starring Roger Moore as Agent 007. However, Ian Fleming's old writing partner (remember him?) had been working on his remake of Thunderball at the same time.
He released Never Say Never Again, with Sean Connery returning as Bond. The movie...wasn't the best and isn't really considered a Bond movie today.
After For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore’s contract was over and James Brolin had almost been finalized as the new 007. However, everything changed when the producers learned that Sean Connery was coming back for the off-brand Bond flick Never Say Never Again. The producers thought they needed an established Bond to compete with Connery’s return. Although both movies did well, Octopussy won the race at the box office.
An Indian newspaper reported that even after three decades, Octopussy (which was filmed in India) was still being screened every night at rooftop terraces and restaurants in Udaipur.
Not all co-stars get along, and the performers in the Bond movies are no different. Roger Moore and Grace Jones absolutely detested working together on A View to a Kill. They barely spoke throughout the movie shoot and in the scene where their characters share a bed, Jones brought along an, um, intimate toy to taunt Moore with.
The producer, Albert R Broccoli, felt that the audience would not be open to Bond taking orders from a woman, so he did not consider giving the role of M to a woman for a very long time. Eventually, Dame Judi Dench took up the role of M in Goldeneye and I for one can’t imagine anyone else doing the part any better than her!
You never know what people will get influenced by. For this reason, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors saw that A View to a Kill wanted to film some sequences on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, they absolutely forbade any falling stunts from appearing in that part of the movie. They were afraid it could inspire copy-cat behaviour, and even suicides.
Timothy Dalton officially became the new James Bond in 1987's The Living Daylights. Dalton had been offered the role at least five times before, but he didn't accept because he had felt he was too young for the part. However, after Roger Moore retired, Dalton finally accepted. From the beginning of his brief time as 007, Dalton was clear that he wanted to play Bond differently than his predecessors. There has been much difference of opinion on his interpretation of the character, with some loving it and others…not so much.
Pierce Brosnan was also in the running to play Bond after Roger Moore left the role. At the time, he was in the TV show Remington Steele, but since it had low ratings, Brosnan felt sure it would get cancelled, leaving him free to become Bond. That, uh, didn't happen. Ratings for Remington picked up when the public heard Brosnan might play Bond, and NBC renewed the show for another season. Unfortunately, this meant that Brosnan was now too busy to play Bond!
Of course, Brosnan eventually did play Bond. In the 1990s, he got the role based on the audition he had filmed back in 1986.
License to Kill was only Dalton’s second film as Bond, but it also turned out to be his last. Tons of messy legal issues with MGM resulted in long delays between LTK and the next Bond movie, and eventually Dalton got tired of all the hemming and hawing. Dalton, along with the longtime Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, composer John Barry, and director John Glen, all announced their retirement from the series in the early 90s.
But it wasn't all bad news. Their departures paved the way for Pierce Brosnan's fresh take on the secret agent.
When audiences saw Licence to Kill, they noticed something strange about the movie: all of a sudden, Bond wasn’t leaping into the sack nearly as much. At the time, dark rumors swirled that the studio had limited Bond’s bedroom time because of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, when the movie was filmed and released. At the time, Timothy Dalton denied these claims—but in 2007, he revealed the truth: the rumors were right all along.
Whereas there have been many actors who were considered and rumored to be in the running for Bond, there was also a time when the producers considered swapping his gender. According to longstanding rumors, Sharon Stone was considered to play a female version of the super spy back in the 90s. While that never happened, we will get a lady agent in the near future: Lashana Lynch plays a mysterious 007 character in the newest Bond flick, No Time To Die.
For years, Bond movies got their titles from Ian Fleming's books and stories. However, by the 1980s, there weren't too many titles left to choose from. License to Kill was the first Bond movie with a completely new title, while Golden Eye was named after Fleming's estate in Jamaica. On a cooler note, Golden Eye was also the codename for a special mission Fleming was involved in when he was part of the British Navy.
Pierce Brosnan embodied James Bond in the 1990s—but few viewers know that his link to the spy began in utter tragedy. Years before Brosnan took the role, his wife Cassandra Harris lit up the screen as a Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only, until tragedy cut her promising career short. Harris passed away of ovarian cancer in 1991 at just 43 years old.
When asked about the loss, Brosnan described it with heartbreaking words: “There is an incredible cruelty in losing a person you shared everything with.”
Nowadays, if a screenwriter wants to use an OG Ian Fleming title for the next Bond film, they're going to have to get pretty creative. The only titles left are...not the best. There's The Property Of A Lady, The Hildebrand Rarity, 007 In New York, and by far the best of the bunch, Risico.
The film’s producers initially hoped to rope in Sir Anthony Hopkins to play the villainous Agent 006 in Golden Eye. Sadly, Hopkins declined the part, leading the studio to make a massive change. They fully rewrote the character as a younger man, a presto change-o that allowed Sean Bean to take the role and do what he does best: Perish on screen.
Surprise: Tina Turner was not the first choice (gasp!) for singing the iconic opening sequence song for Golden Eye. Initially, Ace of Base had signed on to the belt out the tune. However, their record label pulled out of the project, leaving the song free for Turner. Truly, this is proof that sometimes things do happen for the best.
Although he had retired as producer, Golden Eye was the last film overseen by the franchise’s original producer Albert R Broccoli. He passed seven months after its release.
Golden Eye was the first Bond film to use computer generated imagery, and for good reason. The movie featured an elaborate stunt sequence where a tank chases Bond through the streets of St. Petersburg. To accomplish the scene, the crew had to replace the tank's tracks with rubber versions. The tank is now on display at the Old Buckenham Airport, where the East England Military Museum is also located.
The tough and beautiful Michelle Yeoh is a Bond Girl for the ages. She played Wai Lin, in Tomorrow Never Dies and performed all her own fighting sequences with aplomb. Her full-contact stunt fighting style was so advanced that none of the stuntmen on set wanted to do the scenes with her. Special stuntmen had to be called from Jackie Chan’s stunt team to fight with her. Wow!
"Tomorrow" may never die, but that doesn't mean anyone else is safe. The approximate number of people who are killed in Tomorrow Never Dies is 197. It's the highest body count in all any Bond film.
Tomorrow Never Dies didn’t just have the highest human body count of all the Bond films. 15 very expensive BMW were also sacrificed in the making of this film.
The real MI6 was unhappy when they heard that some scenes of The World is Not Enough were going to be shot near their actual headquarters. In fact, they were so unhappy that they actually made a move to block the shooting. However, the foreign secretary, Robin Cook, overruled them for an iconic reason: To use his words, “After all Bond has done for Britain, this is the least we could do for Bond.”
The tech wiz Q was a beloved recurring figure in the Bond films. However, in a sad twist, the actor who played him, Desmond Llewelyn, passed in a car crash shortly after the release of The World is Not Enough. Fittingly, Llewelyn had already introduced Q's successor, John Cleese, to Bond in his last filmed appearance, imagining that both he and his most famous character wouldn't be in the films for much longer.
The pre-credit boat chase scene in The World is Not Enough took seven weeks to shoot, all because of one deeply funny reason. Despite looking like a high-speed affair, there was actually a nine mile per minute speed limit on the Thames.
Being a Bond girl is no walk in the park. Halle Berry survived some uncomfortable—and sometimes near fatal—shooting conditions on the set of Die Another Day. During one scene, a piece of debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye! And in an intimate scene, she went through an unromantic experience and almost choked on a fig.
Product placement was always a big part of the Bond films. In Die Another Day, however, the studio really kicked it up to another level. 20 companies paid around $70 million to have their products featured in the blockbuster. Indeed, there was so much product placement that some people jokingly referred to the movie as “Buy Another Day."
Did you know that there are actually three film versions of Fleming’s Casino Royale? One was a TV movie made in 1954, one was a spoof made by Peter Sellers in 1967, and the third was the one starring Daniel Craig.
In Daniel Craig's first Bond movie, the filmmakers didn't just need actors to do stunts. They needed Bond’s Aston Martin to join in too. The crew installed an air-powered cannon behind the driver’s seat specifically so that the car could do seven complete barrel rolls. This was a record and even got a shout-out in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning that this stunt was mega expensive. Three Aston Martins (worth around $300,000 each) were ruined during the car roll sequence.
Ian Fleming was very happy when he finished writing Casino Royale. So much so that he bought himself a gold-plated typewriter as a reward. It is believed that Pierce Brosnan actually bought the typewriter at an auction for $52,000.
Daniel Craig’s second outing as Bond was more painful than the first! The actor was injured three times on the set of Quantum of Solace. First, Craig had to get four stitches on his face. Then, one of his fingertips was sliced off. Finally, Craig he hurt his shoulder so badly that he had to get six surgical screws inserted into his body. Ouch.
When writers were busy working on the script for Quantum of Solace, they were under some pretty intense time pressure. The Writers’ Guild was set to go on a historic strike, meaning that the script had to be completed mere minutes before the strike began. It is no wonder it is the shortest Bond film to date! (And, according to most viewers, the worst of Daniel Craig's Bond movies by a mile).
Skyfall was the first completely original Bond movie. By the time 2012 rolled around, almost all of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels and short stories had already been adapted into films, meaning the screenwriters had to get creative. That didn’t deter the audience from flocking to watch it in droves though. In fact, financially, Skyfall had the most successful opening worldwide of any Bond movie.
At 50, Monica Belluci would be the oldest Bond girl to be cast in the film franchise. However, the general opinion is that she is not a true Bond girl because her character does not conform to the stereotypical Bond love interest. For instance, she and Bond do not scare any physical intimacy on screen. Sounds like haters be hatin. In my books, Belluci definitely counts as a Bond girl.
After a whole whack of 2020-related delays, the next Bond film is scheduled to come out in 2021 and is titled No Time to Die. The producer, Barbara Broccoli, has mentioned that this film will show Bond enjoying himself as opposed to being on active duty. With Phoebe Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag fame) contributing to the script and Rami Malek starring as the villain, we have high hopes for this one!
For fans who were listening carefully, it’s no surprise that No Time To Die will mark Daniel Craig’s last appearance as Bond. When Craig promoted Spectre, he gave controversial interviews where he called the character a “misogynist” and said he’d “rather slash his wrists” than play the super spy again. Because of these moments, many critics believe that Craig been done with the character for a while now.
Roger Moore returned to the Bond franchise after Octopussy, when he played Bond for the seventh time in A View to a Kill. He was 57 and is, to this day, the oldest actor to have played the character. Moore later said he knew it was time to hang up the towel when he realized he wasn't just older than the actress playing the film's Bond girl. He was older than her mother too.
David Bowie was offered the role of Max Zorin in A View to a Kill, but he turned it down in favor of Labyrinth. Allegedly, he told the producers he didn’t like the script, and they were not very happy with his directness. Later, Bowie also mentioned that he didn’t really like the Bond movies and hadn’t watched any since Connery had left the franchise. Yeah, considering all that, I can see why he passed.
The premiere of Die Another Day marked the 40th year of the Bond film franchise. In celebration of the momentous occasion, all the actors who played Bond attended the event. Well, except for Sean Connery. He couldn't make it because of his involvement in the now pretty much forgotten movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Connery signed onto the comic book adaptation after turning down roles in two mega-successful franchises (he passed on playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and declined the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies). Connery hoped the League movie would be a hit—only for it to flop. Shoulda gone to the James Bond premiere, Connery!
After trying and failing to get Hopkins to play the baddie in Golden Eye, the Bond producers must have cheered when Hopkins signed on to play the villainous Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. However, after just three days on set, Hopkins dropped out of the movie yet again. He was uncomfortable with the chaos on set, specifically pointing out the fact that the script was being written as they worked. Hopkins opted to act in The Mask of Zorro instead. Honestly, good call.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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