Following on from last weeks trivia (about Love)  today I am going to talk about Divorce.
In today’s world, the two words often come close together!  We regard it as normal to have marriages not last long, and divorce is, in most places, seen as an ordinary part of life.
In Regency England, the situation was rather different.  Prior to an act of parliament introduced in 1857, the only way to get a divorce was via the church courts, or by bringing a private bill to parliament!  This was, understandably, rather extravagantly expensive.  Even with that option, it was much easier for a man to ask for, and get, a divorce, than for a woman.  If a woman was unfaithful once, the man could ask for divorce.  A man could be unfaithful as often as he liked, and the woman could not ask for divorce unless she could prove severe cruelty or a few other things.  It was a very, very, unbalanced situation. There is an excellent article on the history of divorce through the centuries at if you are interested.
The impact of this, combined with the ease with which a man or woman could get trapped into marrying as a result of being compromised (as we discussed last week), was that a very large proportion of the aristocracy were very unhappy in their marriages, trapped married to someone they did not love, and could not leave.  It is no wonder than both men and women took lovers, and that scandals were not uncommon!  This is also why there was such a focus, in the dreams of young girls at the time, on the concept of actually managing to fall in love with someone that you were able to marry.
Imagine living in that time – how would you go about trying to find someone that you could love for the rest of your life, when you couldn’t even be alone with them to talk????