Chapter

Family, sex and marriage

Jennifer Mori

in The Culture of Diplomacy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780719082726
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702703 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719082726.003.0004
Family, sex and marriage

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Marriage is a tool of career development in the modern British diplomatic service. It indicates emotional maturity on the part of the diplomat, and denotes his/her readiness for positions of higher responsibility. Eighteenth-century diplomacy was very much a career for single men. The diplomatic profession was badly paid, as a result of which diplomats were unattractive propositions on the London market. Besides, few women wished to be parted from family and friends to live in social and linguistic isolation abroad. Many diplomats took mistresses wherever they could be found. One advantage of living abroad was the licence it gave to men and women to pursue irregular unions comparatively free from prying eyes. The question what women thought they were getting into when they chose to marry a diplomat, and why, marks the closing decades of the eighteenth century, a once unattractive choice of spouse had become more acceptable.

Keywords: marriage; diplomatic profession; family; British diplomatic service; career development; sex

Chapter.  11447 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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