Morganatic Marriage

In the context of European royalty, a morganatic marriage is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage. Now rare, it is also known as a left-handed marriage because in the wedding ceremony the groom traditionally held his bride's right hand with his left hand instead of his right.

Generally, this is a marriage between a man of high birth (such as from a reigning, deposed or mediatised dynasty), and a woman of lesser status (such as a daughter of a low-ranked noble family or a commoner). Usually, neither the bride nor any children of the marriage has a claim on the bridegroom's succession rights, titles, precedence, or entailed property. The children are considered legitimate for all other purposes and the prohibition against bigamy applies. It is also possible for a woman to marry a man of lower rank morganatically.

After World War I the heads of both ruling and formerly reigning dynasties initially continued the practice of rejecting dynastic titles and/or rights for descendants of "morganatic" unions, but gradually allowed them, sometimes retroactively, effectively de-morganatizing the wives and children. This was accommodated by Perthe's Almanach de Gotha (which categorised princely families by rank until it ceased publication after 1944) by inserting the offspring of such marriages in a third section of the almanac under entries denoted by a symbol (a dot within a circle) that "signifies some princely houses which, possessing no specific princely patent, have passed from the first part, A, or from the second part into the third part in virtue of special agreements." The Fürstliche Häuser series of the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels has followed this lead, likewise enrolling some issue of unapproved marriages in its third section, "III B", with a similar explanation (Die in dieser Abteilung nachgewiesenen Familien besitzen kein besonderes Diplom, sondern sind nach besonderer Ubereinkunft aus der 1 und 2 Abteilung ubernommen worden).

Variations of morganatic marriage were also practised by non-European dynasties, such as the Royal Family of Thailand, the polygamous Mongols as to their non-principal wives, and other families of Africa and Asia.

Morganatic marriage is not, and has not been, possible in jurisdictions that do not permit restrictive encumbrances with regard to the marriage contract, as it is an agreement containing a pre-emptive limitation to the inheritance and property rights of the spouse and the children.

Read more about Morganatic MarriageEtymology, German-speaking Europe, Luxembourg, Russia, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Transkei, Travancore, Examples

Other articles related to "morganatic marriage, marriages, marriage, morganatic":

Dower - Morganatic Marriage: A Post-medieval Application
... of spouses (Ebenbürtigkeit) was an important condition to marriages of dynasts of reigning houses and high nobility, the old matrimonial and contractual law provision of dowering was ... Marriage being morganatical prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage ... Morganatic, from the Latin phrase matrimonium ad morganaticam, refers to the dower (Latin morganaticum, German Morgengab, Swedish morgongåva ) ...
Morganatic Marriage - Examples
... the issue of Ferdinand's second (and equal) marriage were preferred ... A list of Morganatic branches of the Russian Imperial Family Genghis Khan followed the contemporary tradition by taking several morganatic wives in addition to his principal wife, whose property passed to their ... Imperial House of Habsburg, and by her first marriage an Empress of France) contracted a morganatic second marriage with a count after the death of her first husband Napoleon I ...
Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich Of Russia - Exile
... Because of his morganatic marriage, Grand Duke Michael would spend the rest of his life living in exile in England, France and Germany ... In 1908, Michael published a novel, Never Say Die, about a morganatic marriage, written in resentment at not being allowed back into Russia ... wife refused to go with him as she still resented the insults which had marred their marriage so many years before ...
Royal Intermarriage - Morganatic Marriage
... monarch's authorization for a dynastic marriage, or stipulated with whom a dynast must marry to comply with the principle of Ebenbürtigkeit, i.e ... to contract an equal marriage, or both ... Marriages which did not comply with this standard were considered non-dynastic, either being a mismarriage (inherently unequal, thus non-dynastic) or a morganatic marriage (unequal by mutual consent ...

Famous quotes related to morganatic marriage:

    From his childhood onwards this boy will be surrounded by sycophants and flatterers.... In due course, following the precedent which has already been set, he will be sent on a tour of the world and probably rumours of a morganatic marriage alliance will follow, and the end of it will be the country will be called upon to pay the bill.
    James Keir Hardie (1856–1915)