Greetings Duchesses and Friends,
This week I’m celebrating the release of the third historical romance novel in my Secret Brides series. The book is titled Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage and it comes out October 1st! I’m so excited to share Lord Medford’s story with everyone.
In honor of the book’s title, I thought I’d give a little insight into one of the most scandalous marriages in history. It just happens to be during the English Regency (the period in which I write), as well.
Which marriage is that of which I speak? It’s the Prince Regent’s own marriage to the infamous Maria Fitzherbert, of course.
If you don’t know much about this scandalous union, allow me to shed some light. It’s quite fascinating and just goes to show that no matter how outrageous we might get in our books (I myself have written a fictional Regency bachelor auction and a recent bout of mistletoe mayhem) truth is often stranger (and more scandalous) than fiction.
I read a lot about the Prince Regent in Saul David’s fantastic book, The Prince of Pleasure. The book covers the prince’s life with many salacious details about his marriage to Maria.
Here’s how it went down.
The prince was young (22 years old) and fell madly in love with the very lovely and very Catholic Maria Fitzherbert was who an older woman at 28. The prince endlessly pursued the dashing widow who denied him again and again. She refused to be his mistress without the benefit of marriage even though she knew they could not legally marry (for several reasons which we’ll get to in a moment).
But the prince was a smitten kitten and he refused to take no for an answer. So, he bribed one of his chaplains into marrying them. The wedding took place in Mrs. Fitzherbert’s Mayfair townhouse and while the marriage was neither legal, nor valid, the prince and his ‘wife’ went about together living and acting as a married couple for the better part of 10 years. At which time, of course, the prince had to marry an actual princess (non-Catholic and someone of whom his father and the Privy council would actually approve). He ended up with his first cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, in a famously unhappy marriage.
So why couldn’t the prince marry Maria? Well, for one thing she was Catholic and for the future monarch to marry out of his religion was unthinkable. The future monarch could not be raised Catholic, after all. For another, she was a widow and that, too, would be very unusual. Mostly, she would not have received the blessing of King George III (Prinny’s father) or the Privy council, both of whom had to approve before the Prince could legally/officially wed. However, the Catholic ceremony was enough for Mrs. Fitzherbert, apparently.
When it came time to end their false marriage, apparently Maria was informed quite cordially via letter.
The Prince went on to clash with Princess Caroline (even going so far as to attempt to divorce her), have a string of other mistresses, reestablish his relationship with Mrs. Fitzherbert and then cast her aside when he became king. Apparently, they had a large row. One wishes one knew the specifics. But in the end, the prince kept all her letters, and asked to be buried with her miniature around his neck.
And he was.
So, that’s the story of one of the most infamous scandalous marriages in history. My newest book, Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage, isn’t quite as salacious as the true story of the Prince Regent and his Mrs. Fitzherbert, but it’s got a murder mystery, a scandalous pamphlet, and a love story all wrapped into one.
A NOTORIOUS CRIME
So, what do you think about Prinny’s secret marriage? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (print US only, or e-book anywhere else, void where prohibited).
I’m getting married in October myself, and I *do* hope my own marriage won’t be such a scandal. Be sure to follow along the rest of my blog tour for the story of my appearance on SAY YES TO THE DRESS, ATLANTA and the reveal of a super BIG overall giveaway!
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels (aka Racy Regency Romps) with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging story lines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands!
Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got.
Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. Valerie loves to hear from readers. Find her on the web at Facebook, Twitter, and at www.ValerieBowmanBooks.com.