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Romania Bids To Promote The Softer Side Of Dracula

Romania Bids To Promote The Softer Side Of Dracula

Her old boyfriend was something of a bloodsucker - but that didn't stop her having five children with him as he entered into the history books as the most infamous un-dead person in history.

Now the mistress of Vlad the Impaler - the cruel medieval ruler who provided the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula - is having her own moment in the spotlight.

Writer Ileana Gafton launched her book "Dracula's secret mistress Katharina of Corona" this week in the Transylvanian city of Brasov in central Romania, near the village where Dracula’s castle is located.

And local tourism chiefs are hoping that she might become the next big lure for visitors. Spokesman for the local tourism office Stefan Vasilescu, 46, said: "Dracula is all very well but it is all a bit grim, all this black and death, it would be nice if we could soften him up a bit by introducing his love interest."

According to genealogists, there is the most distant of links between Vlad, Katharina and Prince Charles in Britain.

"She was a 17-year-old girl from Saxony in Germany, a character who actually existed and was discovered by a previous historian. I just pieced together the information. I carefully researched the story," said Ileana.

"Any love story is well received by readers. She can become a representative figure of our city, Brasov, and the whole area."

Ousted from the throne after a reign of only a few months, Vlad the Impaler fled and established himself in Brasov, a city known in the Middle Ages as Corona, in a fortified house located on the street named today as Constantin Lace. Here he met the young Katharina Siegel, an amazingly beautiful 17-year-old girl raised at the local monastery. She became his lover, and remained with him for 20 years giving him five children.

Legend has it that Vlad wanted to marry Katharina, but he was not allowed for religious reasons. Vlad even wrote to Pope Pius II asking him in a letter of indulgence to nullify his marriage with his first wife, Anastasia Holszanska, granddaughter of the Queen of Poland.

Vlad earned his nickname because he impaled his enemies on staves, leaving them to suffer slow and agonising deaths that could take days.

But he was always a gentlemen to his mistress, says the new book.

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