British Royals celebrate 70 years of marriage

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip on their wedding day.

As the Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary, Rosa Silverman in The Telegraph asks whether a modern marriage can last 70 years.

As she points out, the Royal couple married in their twenties, while in 2014 the average age for men was 33 years, and for women, 31. Unless more people live to over a hundred, platinum anniversaries will be rare.

As she also notes, in the 1960s the Pill for unmarried women meant that marriage was delayed, and then seen as irrelevant for many. Birth control campaigners maintained that ‘trying out’ partners would mean happier marriages, but the result of whole generations of people being ‘tried out’ and discarded was a breakdown in trust between the sexes and an increase in divorce. Divorced couples can hardly notch up 70 years of marriage.

Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation “remains optimistic about the potential for long-lasting marriages,” insisting that ‘“[p]eople still want reliable love”’; true, everyone seeks commitment - but few are willing to commit.

In holding two people together through the inevitable ups and downs of life, with their intense but passing emotions, marriage – not divorce -- is the answer to failing marriages.

Ann Farmer writes from the UK.


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