Royals Who Chose Cards, Dice, and Wheels of Fortune

History has always shown us that the members of the royal family surrounded themselves with luxury, power and also a lot of responsibility for their people.

However, there have been intriguing instances when even the most illustrious monarchs and nobles chose to embrace a very human vice – the world of gambling.

Whether we are talking about gambling secretly at a royal wedding or engaging in games of cards driven by boredom, the truth is that royal blood is not immune to betting.

Thus, this article aims to take you on an adventure through time and history, to show you ca glimpse of the royals who loved a good game of cards, dice, or wheels of fortune.

The Reason Why Royals Gamble?

The reasons that drove royals to engage in gambling were as diverse as the monarchs themselves.

As we know, gambling, a pursuit often associated with risk and chance, might seem incongruous with the lives of royalty, who were entrusted with the weighty responsibilities of ruling nations.

However, a closer look at history reveals that even the most esteemed monarchs and nobles were not immune to the magnetic pull of games of chance. Here are some of their motifs:

  • Escaping the Pressures of Rulership and Responsibilities: For royals, gambling offered a brief escape from leadership’s demands and complexities. Decision-making, diplomacy, and subjects’ welfare created overwhelming mental burdens. In the gaming room, chance provided momentary relief, making dice rolls and card draws enticing distractions.
  • Seeking Excitement and Entertainment: Gambling, with its inherent unpredictability and the rush of anticipation, injected an excitement that few other pursuits could match. The clatter of dice, the shuffle of cards, and the wheel’s spin added spontaneity to royalty’s lives.
  • Filling Idle Hours with Engaging Activities: Royalty often found themselves with a surplus of leisure time, a luxury that, ironically, could lead to monotony. Whether in the company of fellow nobles or solitary moments, games of chance offered a mental challenge and strategic engagement that transcended the monotony of courtly routine.
  • A Way to Bond with Peers: At its core, gambling is a social activity. The gaming table became a place where the boundaries of rank and hierarchy softened. Monarchs could engage in casual conversation with knights, and nobles could exchange banter with commoners, all united by the shared pursuit of winning.

Notable Royals and Their Gambling Ventures

Throughout history, the world has had a few emblematic royal figures famous for their betting passions. We may even say they could have been the best online casino players if they were living today to try the games from Some of these personalities with important royal title characteristics are:

King Henry VIII and His Dice Games

King Henry is one of the most famous personalities that ever existed in history. He is mostly famous for his lavish lifestyle and imposing personality. This even applied to his gambling habits, especially on his passion for dice games.

When not making pivotal decisions for his kingdom, he could be found rolling the dice in pursuit of fun and fortune. His gambling sessions, however, weren’t without consequences, as his victories and losses often echoed throughout the royal court.

Empress Catherine the Great’s Card Obsession

Empress Catherine the Great of Russia was known for her strong leadership, but her passion for cards was equally significant. Faro, a high-stakes card game, became her chosen indulgence.

Gambling was not only an escape from the stresses of governance but also a way to connect with her courtiers on a more personal level. Given this love for card games, she even made gambling an essential aspect of her social life.

King Charles II and the Merry Court Gamblers

The Restoration period in England saw King Charles II leading the charge in normalising gambling as a royal pastime.

He was the one who established the “Cockpit,” the first official gambling house, which set the stage for a new type of gaming. King Charles II was quite a fan of all games involving luck. Meaning that he’d love throwing the dice and even participate in horse racing bets.

Thanks to that, his court slowly became famous for luxury gambling parties where royalty was mixed with the fun and enjoyment of betting.

Revealing Scandals and Consequences

As much as royal gambling provided an escape, it wasn’t without its pitfalls. The truth is that there was always the potential to drain royal treasuries if members continued with excessive gambling activities. These could cause financial problems that affected the entire kingdom.

Moreover, gambling debts had some serious political and social impact. That’s because royal gamblers often ended up in awkward and compromising positions.

Public opinion, which initially accepted gambling as a royal diversion, often soured when financial excesses became general knowledge.

When Royalty Crossed Paths with Commoners

Gambling was always a way to bring together people with different status. We’re talking here about rich people and commoners.

In the shared space of the gaming table, social hierarchies momentarily dissolved. This way, regular people could talk with kings, knights, and nobles, forming relationships that went beyond their social positions.

New Times, New Perspectives

As time passed, people’s perspectives on royal gambling changed too. The modern era saw a decline in gambling as a favoured pastime among royalty.

Modern times made royals avoid gambling as new norms now supervised them, and the media and the people were paying more attention to their responsible actions. With that, what once was celebrated was now seen as an act of excess.

Legacy and Lessons is What Remains

The stories of kings and kinds trying their luck in gambling have really left a true legacy. They humanise historical figures often remembered for their grandeur and majesty, showing that even the most powerful are susceptible to the allure of chance.

These tales also act as reminders to be careful in any situation regardless of your status, as gambling can lead to trouble and downfall.