Thursday, February 6, 2020

How to announce you've eloped? 1816 style!

In the Georgian period, parents of the bride or the couple themselves could announce their engagement, elopement (!) or marriage, but did so more by word of mouth than by formal declaration. 
Rarely did they post any word publicly themselves.
Newspapers would often post a line or two. Announcements of noble families' unions were rare as they wished more privacy than middle classes.
I just finished a book due out May 5 in a new series, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FROLIC and I needed a good idea of how people gave any word of their nuptials and I did my research in British newspapers. FOUR WEDDING AND A FROLIC is a comedy series! 
Here are a few announcements of weddings from newspapers of the period. One is for a duke's imminent wedding.
Do enlarge them to read fully!

Monday, February 3, 2020

1816: The Year Without Summer and is it too cold to fall in love???
Can it snow in June? Freeze in July? Frost over in August?
Yes.. And it did when in 1816, the atmosphere filled with debris when Mount Tambora in Indonesia exploded in April 1815.  The ash and sulfur dioxide in the air chilled most of North America and Europe to the point that crops failed, animals died and people starved.
How cold had it gotten?
Only 3 degrees colder on average was what most experienced but it was enough to cause wide-spread devastation and hunger. In Ireland, thousands migrated to find food, shelter and new homes. In America, snow and ice meant many starved. In Europe, people rioted for bread.
For months, no one knew or understood the cause. Indeed the first indications I found of any idea of the cause was this entry in London Morning Post, May 4, 1816. (Do enlarge to read more easily!)

Why is this important to me? And why did I go looking for such detail? As you might imagine I wrote a novella, LADY MARY'S MAY DAY MISCHIEF, set  in late April and early May 1816 in Bath and London.

While I chose this time of year to coincide with the theme of this fabulous box set written by talented authors, I also chose it because it was May 1, 1816 that the Princess of Wales, the only direct heir to the throne of United Kingdom, married one of the great heroes of the Napoleonic Wars. Who was that? 

Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg. Yes, this is the same one you've seen portrayed as King Leopold, King of the Belgians, as uncle to Queen Victoria and to his nephew and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg. 

Leopold was a catch...and a hunk. Here he is in 1815. Yummy, yes?