Helen Mirren played Elizabeth II in the movie THE QUEEN. We watched this movie last night on TV. This movie made me think about the issue of divorce in our society. I contemplated what leads to divorce, and how it effects our lives, for example in my own family but also in families like the British Royal family. Often one can see the signs that lead to divorce, but sometimes a divorce can come more or less totally unexpected.
First I want to say how well I think Helen Mirren portrayed the queen. We already saw several movies with Helen Mirren as British queens.
Wikipedia says apart from Elizabeth II Helen Mirren portrayed these queens:
“The first was a queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in The Madness of King George (1994), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; the second was a queen regnant, Elizabeth I, in the 2005 miniseries Elizabeth I. She also played a policewoman, under cover as the Queen, in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu.”
THE QUEEN is a 2006 British drama film that depicts the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who died on 31 August 1997. I remember, how shocked we all were about her death. After her divorce from Prince Charles the media had kept haunting her unceasingly. I ask myself, did the public expect her to live like a nun after her divorce? Probably not. However the interest in Diana’s private life was kept alive by a very intrusive media. She was an extremely good looking, very kind woman. The public just loved her. The excessive media attention led to disaster. In the end not only Britain but the whole world was grieving her death.
I recall an interview with Diana as she opened up about her marriage. She said it was like there were three people in the marriage. She came across as being very honest and heartbroken about it. I think she felt as though she did not have a husband any more. She had fulfilled her duty to give the throne two heirs. Now Prince Charles felt free to follow his muse. Diana was too young and fun loving for him. She played no big part in his life. He probably had married her more or less only because she was young and good looking and likely to give him some children. But it turned out he had no real connection to her. She wanted some affection in her marriage. She did not get it the way she felt she needed it. How very tragic! Divorce followed after a long struggle. The rest is history, as the saying goes.
There were quite a few divorces in my immediate family:
First my favourite aunt was divorced, then my parents were divorced, my husband’s parents were also divorced, my favourite cousin was divorced, also one of my daughters did get a divorce (in her twenties!), one of my brothers got a divorce. And so it goes. It seems there were plenty of divorces within my immediate family. Have divorces increased during the past fifty or a hundred years? Probably. Is divorce always a disaster? And who benefits from a divorce?
These are very general questions. I would say more often than not one partner wants a divorce to be able to marry someone else. The partner who is left behind may initially feel quite deserted but in time adjust to the new conditions and possibly be able to find solace in being free again. Sometimes divorce may be due to difficult economic circumstances . . . .
Does a deteriorating love life necessarily lead to divorce? Yes and no. After a man has been married for a number of years, he may wonder what it might be like with somebody else. He may feel that some new exciting love affair would be quite a challenge. What man can resist if an attractive woman indicates to him that she could be willing? The man tumbles into a new relationship. The new woman is hopeful the man is going to leave his wife and marry her. So he needs to get a divorce. Then he can marry the new woman. As simple as this.
In the ‘old’ days some women would refuse to grant the husband a divorce. Then maybe the husband would just live apart from his wife with the other woman. Sooner or later the other woman might find another man who could marry her. Then perhaps the first wife would end up with her husband living at home again. Or not, if she found it impossible to forgive him. Or found someone else herself in the meantime!
If a woman falls in love with a man who is married already, is it morally right if this woman accepts the advances of a married man. They both might feel they are made for each other. It may turn out then that the first woman is left behind. The new woman might be married herself and end up asking for a divorce if she wants to stay with the new man.
So far I have never mentioned children of divorced marriages. If there are any young children involved this can complicate matters quite a lot. I’ll write about my thoughts on this some other time.