In the 18th and 19th centuries, a quick way to a life of fortune was to be the child of a royal. With a large number of royal descendants in society (and no DNA testing) you could theoretically convince the right people you were an heir and attempt to get on the royal payroll. That was the plan of Aurora Florentina Magnusson, a young orphan from Stockholm, Sweden. She reinvented herself as Helga de la Brache, the lost daughter of the exiled King Gustav IV, and managed to con the Swedish government into paying her a monthly pension, in addition to receiving sizable sums from private benefactors. In 1870, an investigator finally found out the truth, and she lost everything she had not-so-rightly earned.
Photo via Nad.se