The Last Lion. Volume 1: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932

Manchester, William

Dell, 1984

p. 74

“When an Englishman crossed his threshold he was in his castle, with almost absolute power over everyone within. That wasn’t true of his wife, but if diaries and letters are to be trusted, she enjoyed their hearth even more than he did. It was a good thing [women] liked it. They hadn’t much choice. Divorce usually meant ruin. It was almost impossible to obtain; a woman had to prove, not only that her husband was an adulterer, but that he was also guilty of desertion, cruelty, incest, rape, sodomy, or bestiality. Simple infidelity on his wife’s part was all a man need show. However, the moment he picked up his decree, he was an outcast. Victoria dismissed one divorced member of her court even though he was the injured party. Often families turned a divorced relative’s picture to the wall and spoke of him, if at all, as though he were dead.”