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  • For years, you'd heard tales of the glamorous princess who mysteriously washed up in the

  • next village over.

  • Allegedly, she'd come all the way from an exotic island in the middle of the ocean after

  • pirates kidnapped her and she escaped.

  • She must have liked it here in England, because she decided to move in permanently, setting

  • up camp by the village lake and spending all day swimming and meditating.

  • Tourists came from near and far to see her.

  • Tourists like you.

  • One day, you finally got round to visiting the village to lay your eyes on the elusive

  • princess.

  • And there she was, sitting on the ground by the lake just a few meters away from you.

  • You can't believe your eyesthis Princess looks oddly familiar.

  • Is thatit can't bewhy, that's just the girl that used to work for you!

  • But before we get to the bottom of one strange tale, let's launch into another.

  • 1918 was the year of revolution in Russia, and unsurprisingly, the royals were on the

  • receiving end of the proletariat uprising.

  • One of the royals killed was Anastasia Romanov, the daughter of the last Russian tsar ever,

  • Nicolas the second.

  • But for some reason, people refused to believe that she and her brother had truly died.

  • This paved the way for claims that Anastasia had risen from the grave.

  • It was the perfect rumor for posers to capitalize on.

  • I don't think I'd fancy pretending to be somebody who authorities had executed,

  • but hey, each to their own.

  • A few years after Anastasia supposedly died, a woman emerged claiming to be her, and she

  • had come fromwait for it — a mental asylum.

  • Always a promising sign for credibility.

  • Then again, if Anastasia genuinely had survived her execution by some miracle and started

  • telling everyone who she was, I guess she would end up in an asylum.

  • So, we can't rule out this claim outright.

  • In fairness to the woman, she did look an awful lot like the young Princess.

  • She also seemed to know plenty about the personal details of her life.

  • Anastasia's living relatives dismissed the woman as a fraud, but for some reason a group

  • of wealthy and powerful Russians who had left the country decided to believe the woman anyway,

  • even supporting her as the rightful heir to the throne.

  • The ruse went pretty well.

  • The former mental asylum patient ended up moving to the US and starting a new life under

  • the name of Anna Anderson.

  • Naturally, she made no effort to actually become heir to the throne or reunite with

  • her family, but she did inspire various books and movies.

  • Well played, Anna.

  • Eventually, the wonders of science put this absurd theory to the test once and for all.

  • A DNA test carried out after the woman's death confirmed what, apparently, the ability

  • of a family to recognize their own relative couldn't.

  • Anna wasn't Anastasia.

  • Shock horror.

  • So, who was she?

  • That, nobody truly knows

  • It's pretty crazy to successfully pose as a royal for most of your life.

  • But not as crazy as pretending to be a royal from a place that doesn't even exist.

  • In the early nineteenth century, there was a man called Gregor MacGregor, and I guess

  • he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder from having such a stupid name.

  • Poor guy.

  • So, he told everyone in London who'd listen that he wasn't just some dumb Scotsman whose

  • parents hated him, but he was in fact the prince of a mysterious country called Poyais.

  • By mysterious, I mean that nobody but Gregor knew anything about this country and whether

  • it actually existed.

  • The things people got away with before Google Maps

  • According to Gregor, Poyais was a small country in Central America with fertile land, lovely

  • people, and even a working government.

  • Weird that nobody had ever heard of such a prosperous nation.

  • Oh, and they called princes of Poyais like Gregor Caziques.

  • It's all about the small details.

  • The Cazique even produced various maps, drawings, and writings about his homeland to prove it

  • was real.

  • Seems legit.

  • But Gregor wasn't just doing this for the fun and gameshe was a savvy businessman

  • with a plan.

  • Once he convinced Europeans that Poyais would be the perfect country to visit and invest

  • in, he sold them land.

  • Damn, he was good.

  • We can only assume that he dug himself into a bit of a hole and things escalated too far

  • for him to control them because eventually, his investors decided to actually head across

  • the Atlantic to begin their ventures.

  • Gregor said nothing, maybe hoping they'd die on the perilous journey.

  • The investors arrived in jungles where Poyais was supposed to be, and many died of local

  • diseases.

  • Tragic for them, but very handy for Gregor.

  • He fled to France and tried his luck at the same swindle a second time, only this time

  • round he was promptly arrested.

  • It's all very well making some dollars or fooling people, but imagine creating a delusion

  • so successful that it actually landed you the throne?

  • That's what the man now known as False Dmitri the first managed to achieve.

  • Let's go back to Russia, this time in the seventeenth century.

  • The infamous Ivan the Terrible had died, and challengers to the throne had assassinated

  • his son Dmitri.

  • Feodor the first, the son of one of Ivan's favored leaders during his reign, was ruling

  • as the Tsar of Russia.

  • Luckily, Russia's royals have a useful tendency to rise from the dead.

  • Some guy in Poland turned up out of nowhere one day claiming to be Dmitri.

  • Apparently, he'd fled from his captures before they could murder him.

  • Convenient.

  • Amazingly, when the supposed Dmitri arrived in Russia, the public actually believed his

  • story.

  • His speeches charmed them and, against all odds, he assumed power.

  • In 1605, he became Tsar.

  • Unfortunately, False Dmitri just couldn't resist taking things too far.

  • Instead of going about his reign quietly to avoid arousing suspicion, he decided to go

  • about implementing all kinds of radical reforms and policies, like restoring a day where serfs

  • were allowed to move to another lord.

  • He even had the audacity to marry a woman who didn't convert to the Eastern Orthodox

  • religion.

  • This angered elites and eventually led to his downfallhe was overthrown and killed

  • in less than a year.

  • Confusingly, False Dmitri the first was followed by a False Dimitri the second and a False

  • Dimitri the third, who were also pretending to be Ivan the Terrible's son.

  • Together, they're known as the three pretenders.

  • But it was only the OG False Dmitri who actually managed to achieve powerthe Russians

  • aren't quite that gullible.

  • In most of the tales we've told so far, historians have figured out what was really

  • going on.

  • But now for a mystery that we still don't know the truth about.

  • Richard of York was the great-grandson of King Edward the third.

  • He was one of the wealthiest and most powerful nobles in England during his time and had

  • a strong claim to the throne thanks to his royal ties, but never ascended during his

  • lifetime.

  • Although he secured an agreement stating that he would become the King after the current

  • ruler, Henry the sixth, died, Richard unfortunately died in battle before that was possible.

  • So close but so far.

  • If only a miracle could happen, like him coming back from the dead

  • Oh, wait.

  • He did.

  • A man called Perkin Warbeck sprang up out of nowhere in 1491 in Ireland and claimed

  • to be Richard.

  • And people believed him.

  • To be fair to them, though, there was a lot of mystery at the time over how and whether

  • Richard really had died.

  • Perkin was so talented at bluffing that he even managed to convince James the fourth

  • of Scotland and Maximilian the first of Austria of his plight.

  • Whilst not exactly huge names now, they were pretty big deals back in the day.

  • Fast forward a few years and Perkinor should I say, Richardhad an entire army

  • consisting of thousands of people.

  • He was ready to take back the throne that was rightfully his.

  • Supposedly.

  • Actually, he came pretty close.

  • But just as he was about to battle the King and his forces, Perkin decided to flee.

  • Imposter's syndrome is a bitch.

  • Taking the coward's way out didn't do him any favors either since he ended up being

  • captured and hanged anyway.

  • But listen up, because this is where things get juicy.

  • The only evidence we have that Perkin was an imposter comes from Henry the seventh himself,

  • the king at the time who was almost dethroned.

  • So, some historians have suggested that the so-called imposter could have been the real

  • Richard of York after all.

  • Crazy stuff.

  • Now we're back to Russia again, the prime location of royal wannabes and scammers, for

  • an even weirder story.

  • Catherine the Great is one of Russia's best-known rulers and its longest-ever-ruling female

  • leader.

  • But she was almost usurped by a cunning lookalike.

  • Well, kind of.

  • Peter the third was the Emperor of Russia preceding Catherine before he was deposed.

  • He was a pretty unpopular guy and there were various conspiracies over his death.

  • Some said his own wifethat's Catherine herself, who went on to succeed himled

  • an uprising against him that resulted in his assassination.

  • Others said he had a drunken fight with his brother whilst he was captured by uprisers,

  • and died that way.

  • Either way, he suffered a cruel betrayal by those closest to him.

  • The mysterious circumstances surrounding his death provided the perfect opportunity to

  • claim that he'd never died at all.

  • A former Russian soldier called Yemelyan Pugachev had the blessing and the curse of being the

  • spitting image of Peter.

  • One day he presumably decided oh, what the hell, may as well see where using the identity

  • of the former ruler could take me.

  • And that's what he did.

  • Turned out it would take him pretty far because plenty of people got behind Yemelyan and it

  • resulted in a huge peasant uprising.

  • One of the biggest in Russian history, in fact.

  • Yemelyan promised to give the people what they wanted: an end to the feudal system that

  • was keeping many peasants poor.

  • He managed to take control of a good chunk of Russian territory, between the Volga River

  • and the Urals.

  • Because the move took them by surprise, it took the government a while to respond.

  • But eventually, they began to act, and the challengers suffered defeat.

  • Then Pulgychin's own lieutenants handed him into the Empress he was pretending to

  • be the wife of, and he was executed.

  • Oh, how the mighty fall.

  • Now for the most bizarre tale of the video.

  • We all know one of those people who claims to be way more special than they actually

  • are.

  • Well, Karl Willhelm Naundorff was one of those people.

  • The German watchmaker and clockmaker spent practically his entire life insisting that

  • he wasn't just some run-of-the-mill tradesman but he was, in fact, the son of Marie Antoinette

  • and the rightful king of France.

  • Right.

  • Another daydreamer who didn't twig that the worst time to pretend to be royalty is

  • when the royalty you're claiming to be part of are currently being hunted down and killed.

  • Karl thought it would be a fantastic idea to head over to Paris and loudly claim he

  • was Prince Louis-Charles.

  • Don't be like Karl.

  • I've got to give it to him though, many people believed his tall stories, including

  • some powerful figures and the prince's former governess.

  • Unfortunately, nothing came of his grand show, because there was literally no evidence that

  • he was Prince Louis-Charles other than the vague similarity between the two men.

  • His supposed sister didn't vouch for him, which doesn't bode well.

  • He was expelled from France, but he should probably count himself lucky that he survived

  • the ordeal with his head intact.

  • Still, it was sort of a happy ending.

  • Karl moved on to the Netherlands, where he was still claiming to be the Prince, and nobody

  • there knew any better, so they believed him.

  • In case there's still any doubt in your mind, a posthumous DNA test has since proven

  • he's conclusively not related to Marie Antoinette.

  • Amazingly, Karl wasn't the only one to attempt this feat.

  • There were several men claiming to be Prince Louis-Charles around the same period.

  • None of them were successful.

  • But anyway, were you wondering what happened to that princess I was talking about in the

  • intro?

  • It's time to finally find out.

  • Who wouldn't be taken in by the tale of a mysterious young woman speaking a foreign

  • language and claiming to be a princess from a faraway, exotic land?

  • Apparently, not the small English village of Almondsbury.

  • In 1817, a woman turned up who fit the above description.

  • After using a Portuguese interpreter to figure out what she was saying, it turned out that

  • she was Princess Caraboo from an island in the Indian Ocean called Javasu.

  • Funny how someone from the middle of the Indian Ocean would look English and speak Portuguese.

  • But anyway.

  • Apparently, pirates had kidnapped her and taken her away from her homeland and family.

  • Luckily, she'd managed to swim ashore to safety.

  • Everyone lapped the story up.

  • What could be more exciting than a glamorous princess who had escaped from her oppressors

  • against all odds?

  • From then on, she slept on the ground in the village, swam in a lake, and prayed to her

  • gods from the tops of trees.

  • Word spread and she became something of a tourist attraction.

  • Eventually, her reputation preceded her, when a woman recognized who she really was.

  • Mary Bakerthe most painfully ordinary of all names.

  • Even worse, she was the woman's servant.

  • Awkward.

  • For more content like this, check out our videos about insane ways people have faked

  • their death and the man from a country that doesn't exist.

For years, you'd heard tales of the glamorous princess who mysteriously washed up in the

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7 People Who Pretended to be Royals - Did They Get Away With It?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/19
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