Monday, February 9, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #9: To Marry Up or Down

Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

To Marry Up or Down
Patricia Kiyono

It’s a dream most young girls have at one time or another: meeting Prince Charming, being swept off her feet and riding on his white steed up to his castle on the mountaintop, where she will live happily ever after. In other words, living out a fairy tale. Later on, our dreams and expectations change, and that ideal of Prince Charming is replaced by someone who has good hair, nice clothes, and a nice car. For some women, that goal continues as they seek out men who will provide them with a certain lifestyle that they would otherwise not have. They want to “marry up.”

The royals (in several European countries) actually have a name for this kind of union: morganatic marriage. It’s when a royal marries a commoner or someone of lower rank. Generally, the groom is of high birth. Until World War I, when a noble married a commoner, the bride and her children had no claim on the husband’s succession rights, titles, or property! So while a young lady might enjoy comfort as the wife of a royal, those comforts could be taken away if her husband died and his heir wasn’t generous enough to kick her out.

Lately, we’ve seen examples of highborn women marrying men of lower social status. Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter is married to a rugby player, and a few years ago the Spanish Duchess of Alba gave away a big chunk of her wealth to marry a civil servant twenty-four years younger. If you think about Hollywood royalty, I suppose you could lump Elizabeth Taylor and several other actresses in this group.

The desire to “marry up” in order to gain wealth, fame, and social status is understandable, but what’s in it for the partner? Is it always the prestige of having young and attractive arm candy? Is it a desire to feel young by aligning yourself with someone from a different generation? Or is it genuine love and caring? I’d dare to bet you can name examples of each.

As a romance writer, the main couples in my stories always marry for love, whether one holds a higher station or not. They find a place where they are on common ground, and from there they build a relationship of respect, trust, and then love. I don’t write about royalty (at least not yet, but maybe someday!) but in my novella Searching for Lady Luck, a former heiress falls in love with an artist from a working-class family. If they had met ten years earlier, they wouldn’t have made a match, but the Great Depression has leveled the playing field for them. They both care about their families, and find a common interest – helping the town and its people by creating a popular resort destination.


Bio: In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she’s taking care of the youngest grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn’t involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, in addition to writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.

Links: Searching for Lady Luck can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


This beautiful handmade necklace from HMC by KATE


  1. Hello Patricia, a very interesting article. All the best with your writing.

  2. I'm with you. My characters always marry for love. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a romance to my way of thinking.

    1. That's true, Elaine. I guess that's why we keep writing them! Thanks for stopping in.


***NOTICE*** Thanks to a spam bot infestation, every comment must now be subjected to a full-body search. If you pass, you can skip the anal probing...maybe.