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Janna MacGregor | Brother, Sisters, and Cousins—One of These Things is Not Like the Others
Author Guest / June 30, 2021

In the first book of my Widow Rules series, A DUKE IN TIME, a war hero duke falls in love with his stepbrother’s wife. Could he legally marry her? Under the Church of England’s rules of consanguinity and affinity, a brother couldn’t marry his brother’s widow. Nor could a sister marry her sister’s widower. Yet they could marry first cousins. But what about stepbrothers and stepsisters? Do these rules apply in the blended families of yesteryears? Way back in the day of merry ol’ England, the Church of England had pretty strict rules of who could marry whom related to family. Let’s get some definitions out of the way to make this a little easier to understand. Consanguinity basically means two people are related by blood relation and that they share common ancestors. Affinity is a relationship by marriage. When people married in violation of the Church of England’s prohibition of consanguinity or affinity, the marriages were either void or voidable. If a marriage is void, it’s invalid and illegal. End of story. Any children born of such union were illegitimate. If a marriage is voidable, then it’s valid. However, it could be annulled if an interested party successfully challenged…