Monday, August 22, 2011
I’ve been reflecting lately on royal weddings. Often an occasion for national celebration, they are not always happy affairs. Poor Isabella of Hainault married Philip II of France in 1180 as a child of 10 – ridiculously young even by ancient standards (Philip himself was 14). Over the centuries, however, the the age of royal brides has gradually increased, as the graph below shows. Today, an age in the mid-twenties is normal.
In relative terms, however (that is, in deviation from the long-term trend), Diana, Princess of Wales was the all-time youngest, within my rather haphazard sample. Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark (née Mary Donaldson) was the second oldest. That may help explain Diana’s tragic story, and Mary’s greater ability to cope with the pressures placed on her.