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Courtship Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era

Courtship, the very concept was derived from the Elizabethan era where the ladies of the court were wooed and won by knights and lords of the court through gestures such as of frequent visits, gifts and compliments.

What was Courtship in the Elizabethan Era?


The man generally asked a woman’s father for permission to court his daughter, that implied that the man was seriously and openly desiring the responsibility of marriage. In saying “yes” to a courtship proposal, the father was granted the man permission to visit his daughter, give her gifts, accompany her to formal to social events, etc.

Courtship Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era

Marriage Customs

Comparable to these days wherein every woman would look forward to that day when they have to walk in the aisle, Elizabethan marriages was also one of the highlights of every woman’s life. The chief difference between then and today is that back then the woman possessed very little right in choosing her husband. The matrimony was arranged by families of the bride and the groom in order for the two sides to benefit from one another.

Mostly, these were arranged marriages keeping wealth and reputation into consideration. Families of landowners were expected to marry just to attain land possession. Couples usually met each other ON the day of the wedding. This was a very well known tradition among well-known nobilities.

Courtship Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era

However, people in the lower class would normally go for arranged marriages with the children of friends and neighbours. Thus, the lower the status a family holds in the society than the larger power a person may have in choosing life partners.

Marriage Ceremony

Elizabethan Era marriages normally took place through the help of a miniature picture given by the man. The picture is a symbolism of the traits and looks of the girl he wishes to marry. Women were regarded as second class citizens and they were expected to tie the knot despite their social standings.

Single women were regarded as witches. With parent’s consent, a boy and a girl were allowed to marry at the age of 14 and 12 although it was not common for marriage to take place on such a young age. Boy would often not marry until they reached the age of consent, 21.

Courtship Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era

Even today these marriage ceremonies are considered to have a religious intonation. The ceremony would vary but the prerequisites before the matrimony were always the same. It commenced with the Crying the Banns in where the intention of the couples to marry was made into the public.

Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era Facts

It will be announced into three consecutive Sundays or Holydays thus when there was any objection, at least such party was given the time to speak out. Wedding invitations were not provided.

Courtship Marriages and Divorces during Elizabethan Era

Their tradition is to celebrate the occasion with a blast thus the event is carefully planned beforehand. The menu comprises of exotic dishes like a peacock.

There is no sign of any divorces during the Elizabethan times. Since women were considered to be inferior during these times this could be considered to be a terrible thing. However, the process worked pretty well since men were persecuted that would abuse their wives.

More Info on- Elizabethan England Marriage, Elizabethan Customs, Elizabethan Courts

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