Posted by Lizard on December 29, 1997 at 19:28:52:
In response to Have I been mis-lead?, written by Emmy on December 29, 1997 at 14:09:30
Interesting question, Em and quite complicated, because there were no hard and fast rules. There was a tradition several centuries old for the highest nobility to have separate rooms: this was partly a status symbol in the days when a bed could have several occupants!
Marriage was often an economic measure for the joining of lands and money and marriage relationships were not as close as romantic alliances (although many couples became totally devoted to one another).
By the late-ish C18 the romantic movement, which emphasised the close love between parents and children and affection between husbands and wives, was beginning to take hold and it became more common for loving couples to share a bed. The husband often retained a room, even though he hardly slept in it.
There were always exceptions to the separate room custom, The Duke and Duchess of Marlborough slept in the same room in the early C18 and I'm sure that there were others.
The middle and burgher classes had slept together anyway, not being able to afford the extra rooms and certainly Queen Victoria and Prince Albert always shared a room - they retained separate dressing rooms, however!
Separate rooms were often a birth control measure as Austen suggests, or the husbabd would have a small bed in his dressing room.
So, no hard and fast rules here!
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.