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Now call me cynical, but I will bet that there will be a get-out from the six months rule if you can persuade a judge to allow it, and one circumstance which gets you off the hook is that the wife or the husband’s intended next is pregnant.

The English (and Welsh, we are all inclusive now) have always indulged in legal hypocrisy in these matters. At the lower end of the social scale, in the days of the Poor Law the overseers would meet the incumbent’s fees for the banns and the marriage ceremony for a pauper woman if, but only if, she was pregnant and the child would be born with a settlement in another parish. As for their betters: in the days of divorce by Private Bill the husband had first to get a divorce a mensa et thoro in the Consistory Court and to get that he had to make a solemn affidavit that he did not intend to seek a divorce a vinculo by Act of Parliament!

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