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Marriages and Divorces in the United Kingdom: Interesting Facts

Did you know that Queen Victoria was the one who came up with the idea of getting married with a white dress on? Also, thanks to her initiative, since the beginning of the 20th century, wedding rings made from Welsh gold have been the symbol of the royal class ceremony. However, when talking about the monarchical couples in the UK – their marriages could be considered political contracts rather than celebrations of true love. 

What are the other curious facts in this regard? Has something changed now? Let’s find out together with the experts of the website

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In medieval Britain, royal weddings were quiet. These were unpretentious ceremonies for friends and close relatives. Although, all of them had far-reaching political implications, for sure. It was the opinion, a well-planned marriage could contribute to the reconciliation of warring countries or the return of disputed territories. This is why royal children were often husbands or wives long before they could walk! For example, French princess Isabella of Valois married 29-year-old Richard II before she reached the age of seven years. Feelings in such unions, of course, were not taken into account. Monarchical marriages were nothing more than contracts that were concluded behind closed doors for the benefit of both dynasties. It was never about love. We guess the members of the Royal Family are happy it has changed nowadays. 

And what about the ordinary British people? Their private life was and still is different compared to kings and queens. Actually, it was not easy, from the beginning – since marriage and divorce laws in England were not reformed until 1865. 

Before that, divorces were crazy expensive and simply unaffordable for poor citizens. The simplest solution was barbaric – men declared their wives cattle and then sold them at the local market. They were tied up or put up for auction with a rope around their necks. Still, according to historical reports, for some married couples, this possibility was sometimes the only possible way to end an unhappy family life. Therefore, often the successful divorce (auction) was also extensively celebrated in the tavern by all parties. For most women, however, this procedure was infinitely humiliating. Because at these times – they were often treated not as people but as things, due to the fact the human rights that already existed back then were made by men for men.

Okay then, what about this day and age? Is it any better now? The UK Supreme Court has recently ruled that a 68-year-old woman cannot get a divorce, notwithstanding her great desire. She wanted to separate from her husband because she was joyless in their union. The Court rejected this as a reason for divorce, though. Nowadays, In England and Wales, separation can not be approved unless both partners agree. This does not apply to the mentioned before lady: her husband wants to save their relationship. In such cases, according to British attorneys, marriages can only be divorced for specific reasons, including cheating or inappropriate behavior, as the current law says. In addition, it can be enforced solely if the couple has been separated for at least five years.

Maybe, for this reason, so many modern Britons prefer civil partnership before good old marriages. Such couples are absolutely equivalent to regular ones. They are subject to the same laws on inheritance, taxes, pensions.

Earlier, only couples of the same sex could enter into such a partnership. For them, the opportunity to start a full-fledged life together, avoiding the church and the institution of marriage in general, opened back in 2004, 10 years before the final legalization of same-sex marriage in Britain.