Dating marriage elizabethan era

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For this reason, noble children were often betrothed at an early age as well.

To underscore the economics of marriage, the bride's family provided the groom with a dowry.

Nobles were equally cautious in their marital arrangements. Its purpose was to strengthen a family by preserving its claim to wealth and land.

With a well-secured marriage, a family could rise in society, move in court circles and enjoy other privileges.

One of them was her father, Henry VIII, who endured a succession of failed marriages.

The purpose of a royal marriage was not love and affection but the cementing of an alliance with another country.

Contemporary opinion was against the marriage of people who had not yet built up the means to maintain a family, or had little prospect of doing so.

This was especially true at the end of the 16th century, when a growing population and a succession of meagre harvests sharply increased the numbers of poor people needing relief.

When Elizabeth assumed the throne in 1558, only two English monarchs had ever chosen their own spouses.

Here, Professor Ralph Houlbrooke from the University of Reading reveals the customs surrounding love and marriage in Tudor times In Tudor England, most people who married did so only after they had the wherewithal to establish a household of their own.

This usually meant waiting at least until they were in their twenties.

” Even the children of the wealthy did however sometimes marry against their parents’ wishes.

The sixteen-year-old pair Thomas Thynne of Longleat and Maria Tuchet married secretly in 1594 despite the bitter enmity between their fathers (Any similarity between their situation and that of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s play of the same decade was probably fortuitous.) The nobility and royal family started planning marriages for their heirs at an early stage.

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