Women, Rank and Marriage in the British Aristocracy, 1485-2000 : An Open Elite?


Women, Rank and Marriage in the British Aristocracy, 1485-2000 : An Open Elite?



By Kimberly Schutte, The College at Brockport faculty member.

For British aristocratic women from the beginning of the Tudor era to the end of the First World War, there was nothing more important than making a suitable marriage to a groom of high rank. Failure could well have catastrophic consequences. It was the marriages of these noble daughters, far more than the unions of their brothers, which ensured a family's continued place within the titled ranks. Through an analysis of the marriage patterns of thousands of aristocratic women as well as an examination of diaries, letters, and memoirs, Schutte demonstrates that the sense of rank identity as manifested in these women's marriages remained remarkably stable for centuries, until it was finally shattered by the First World War.



Publication Date


Publication Information

New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

xi, 290 pages : portraits, charts ; 23 cm.

Series: Studies in modern history (Palgrave Macmillan (Firm))


European History | Women's History




Located in Drake Library at: HQ613 .S38 2014

CONTENTS: Introduction : Marriages of aristocratic British women and stability of rank identity, 1485-2000 -- Prologue: Identity and rank -- Part I. The statistical side of the story. The basic marriage patterns ; "British" marriages ; An open aristocracy? -- Part II. The less statistical aspects of the story. The marriage market ; Practical considerations in securing a husband ; Kinship groups ; Elopement and defiant matches : marrying outside the bounds of propriety -- Conclusion -- Biographical appendix.