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Sibling marriage being an incestuous taboo the world over, one would not expect such a thing ever to enter the environs of Austenia.
Yet tradition brought it to Jane’s doorstep, for the law not only forbade marriage between blood siblings but also between brothers and sisters by marriage.“Therefore, the marriage of Jane’s brother Charles to Harriet Palmer after the death of his first wife was “voidable” because Harriet was Fanny’s sister.
To evade this prohibition in still another Austen situation, Jane’s niece Louisa Knight went to Denmark in 1847 to marry Lord George Hill, who had been married to Louisa’s now deceased sister Cassandra.
Such dodges continued until the affinity laws were removed in 1907.”Anyone could challenge the validity of the marriage by lodging a complaint with the Ecclesiastical Court.
But I doubt many of these marriages existed, especially if titles and land were involved. Such marriages were not automatically void by law, but they were voidable if someone challenged them.
Lord Lyndhurst’s concerns about a challenge to the 7th Duke of Beaufort’s marriage was not without substance.
That was apparent from the reams of correspondence in the Beaufort archives on this very case.
Someone marries the sibling of their own sibling's spouse. Or if the weddings don't take place at roughly the same time, the first wedding provided the ideal opportunity for the second couple to get to know each other. This would also work if Alice and Carol were sisters, and Bob and Dan were brothers. Alice marries Bob, while Carol falls in love with Dan.Prohibition of marriage between certain degrees of kindred outlawed what is known as incest; prohibition between degrees of relationship by marriage (affinity) as opposed to blood (consanguinity) seems to have reflected an analogous taboo.At least one novel, Felicia Skene’s “Under ecclesiastical law, a marriage within the prohibited degrees was not absolutely void but it was voidable at the suit of any interested party.
But as this Act of Parliament included the marriage between a woman and her dead husband’s brother, an amendment was made – almost immediately- to exclude the marriage of a woman to her dead husband’s brother.“Parliament had to tack that part on to get the bill to pass.