Royal Divorce down the Ages

At the dawn of humanity, marriage was deemed to be sacrosanct. Divorce in most societies – especially at the instigation of a female – was not permitted. Royalty – men only – were usually entitled to have a lover as their wife was usually married for political and not affection reasons. In these circumstances, divorce was never considered as the wife was the baby production machine whereas romantic love was reserved for their mistress. What happened when the wife could not deliver a male heir or, like in more modern times, when mistresses were no longer tolerated, how did the king or the royalty get their divorce? 

This blog dissects four vastly different royal divorces each of which exposes much about the milieu in which each occurred. Included in this blog will be the vignette on how [Bessiewallis] Wallis Simpson obtained her divorce from her second husband in order to marry King Edward VIII.

Main picture: Anne Boleyn in the Tower awaiting execution by Edouard Cibot (1799–1877)

Continue reading

Was the English Idyll of Yore a Myth?

Does the romantisised imagery of verdant fields, sylvan lined cobbled streets and stone walled meadows belie the real England obscured beneath such idealistic mythology?

Being an avid reader of history and subscriber to history magazines such as the BBC History Magazine, I possess a smidgeon of an insight into the medieval world. The error that ordinary people make when they conjure up visions of the “good old days” is that they extrapolate what the Tudor reign would be like by means of picture postcards of the English countryside idyll of half a century ago.

Continue reading