#TBT: Marriage by Special License

July 9, 2015

This month on the #TBT portion of the blog we’re taking a look at things that while historically accurate may have been unlikely to happen but which I happily put in the Spy Series.  So join us in our lessons on creative license.

Son of a Duke: Book One of the Spy Series

Son of a DukeThe man watched them as he made his way to the back of the Chancel, slipping something into an inner pocket of the fine coat.
The man stopped.
Nora moved in front of Nathan, and he reached to get her out of the way.
“You must be the happy couple then?”
Nathan and Nora spun in the other direction staring up at the altar where the voice had originated. A priest was coming out from behind the pulpit carrying a Bible.
“Happy couple?” Nora asked.
“Aye, the pair who wished to be wed today at noon. I was afraid you were going to be late, but here you are. Prompt as prompt can be.” The priest’s bushy eyebrows rose and fell with his smile. There was more hair in his eyebrows than on his head.
“Shall we get started then? The special license arrived just as you said it would. You must only fill in the names.” He extended a roll of parchment. “Shall we sign it then and see you two married?”
Nora looked around Nathan back at the large man by the door. Nathan looked as well. The man watched them, assessing and then settled a hip against the furthest pew as if getting ready for the show.
Nora turned back to the priest, Nathan following her movement.
“Yes, we shall,” Nora said and grabbed the special license.

The History

This scene would really have historians rolling their eyes, but it is plausible.  That’s all I needed.  Back in the Regency period when Son of Duke takes place, a marriage was a lot harder to obtain than stepping out of the airport during your layover in Las Vegas.  Marriage typically occurred after banns had been read.  Marriage banns are read by the minister in one’s home church usually three Sundays during the three months before one is married.  Banns are a requirement of the Church of England and simply state a party’s intent to marry.  Sometimes a special license was granted to marry a couple, but this was extremely rare.  That Nora and Nathan would happen to be in a church where there happened to be a minister with a special license is a stretch.  But then that’s what fiction is all about, right?

Read On

To go along with this month’s theme, I’m featuring historical romances that stretch the creative license.

Here’s a favorite-

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