The Royle Family….

14 November 2013

…. I mean, the Royal Family…. oops! Today is a historical day for our current monarchy. In 1948, Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George) was born. He is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Known in Scotland as Duke of Rothesay and in South West England as Duke of Cornwall, he is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having held the position since 1952, when aged just four. He is also the oldest heir to the throne since 1714.

On Charles’ twenty-fifth birthday, his younger sister, Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, a lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey. Following the wedding, Anne and her husband lived at Gatcombe Park. He was made acting captain by the start of 1974 when he was appointed a personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II. However by 1989, the Princess Royal and Mark Phillips announced their intention to separate, as the marriage had been under strain for a number of years. The couple divorced in 1992.

In 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer and they had two sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (born 1982) and Prince Harry of Wales (born 1984). In 1996, the couple divorced following well-publicised extra-marital affairs.

Until 1858, divorce could only be obtained by a private act of Parliament. The process was way beyond most people, but quarrelling couples could go to church courts to seek annulment on the grounds that one party was a bigamist or (from 1754) had married below the age of twenty-one without parental consent. In 1858, divorces became much more easily obtainable, through the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, but it was not until 1923 that women were accorded equal rights with men.

I am sure that Princess Anne and Prince Charles would not have had any difficulty arranging their divorce, even prior to 1858!

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