Divorced, Beheaded, Died…

Roderick Phillips considers if marriages were ever made in heaven.

Recent concern about divorces in the royal family has been a salutary reminder that, as common as divorce is throughout the Western world, its acceptance is not unequivocal. It might be, of course, that royal divorces are utterly different from others, that men and women of that rank are still expected to behave according to rules that the masses can only aspire to. Almost sixty years ago, when Edward VIII's proposed marriage to the twice-divorced Mrs Simpson threatened to cause a constitutional crisis, one MP observed: 'A thousand years hence, perhaps, we shall be liberal enough to allow such a thing; but it is too early now'. The MP in question was in favour of liberalising English divorce law, but drew the line at the royal family.

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