If there’s one journey that defines the Regency romance, it’s the flight to Gretna Green. This is a staple of many a m/f historical, and my latest m/m romance, Wanted, a Gentleman, also involves a flight to the border. (There is only so long you can write British historical romance before this happens.) But what was it about Gretna Green that made it some sort of kilted Las Vegas?
Well, mostly, it’s in Scotland, and Scotland had different marriage laws. In England after 1754, an under 21 could not marry without parental consent (unless they managed to publish the banns over the course of several weeks without the parents finding out, which would be a challenge). However, in Scotland, boys could marry at 14 and girls at 12–with or without parental consent. Furthermore, Scottish law allowed for ‘irregular marriages’ which could be conducted by almost anyone in the presence of witnesses, not just by […]