Annulments in Royal Marriages

I can think of one marriage in history that was annulled, but the children remained legitimate:

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, king of France.

She was only able to bear two living daughters, which meant she was barren (wtf).  She convinced Louis and the Pope that the reason she couldn't give Louis sons was because they were cousins (I think to the fifth degree) which was considered cause to set aside a marriage or Plight Troth (I think cousin to the seventh degree was considered cool, but most royals who married were much closer than this.  To an extent this may have been intentional since it left a backdoor out of a marriage that didn't turn out as advantageous as originally believed).

Her two daughters kept their legitimacy and Eleanor went on to marry her other cousin to the same degree, Henry II of England and bare him I think four or five sons and a handful of daughters.

Her French daughters were used in marriage as political pieces and the subsequent marriage of their father to another woman, and that marriage producing King Phillip, was not to their detriment.

If Rhaegar could convince a Septon that his wife could not fulfill her purpose (children) I'm sure they would figure out a loophole that could allow him to remarry and set aside his previous wife while protecting his children.

Oh, and Eleanor was the one who really pushed for the annulment, King Louis was originally supposed to be a monk (and was raised to be celibate and pious from an insanely young age), but his brother died in a hunting accident.  He was an insecure king and thought women were temptress daughters of Eve.  Being married to the most beautiful (richest) woman in the world was very difficult for the both of them.  Although he did seem to care about her, I think she was too much for him, and he eventually let her go.

Being a "spiritual relative" such as Godmother or Godfather could also get you out of a marriage, since it was spiritual incest.  I didn't hear of that one ever being invoked though.


  • Henry VIII comes to mind, but his situation was rather ... unique to say the least, lol.

    He had three (surviving) children: a legitimate daughter (Mary) with Catherine of Aragon (his marriage with Catherine of Aagon was annulled), a bastard son with a mistress (who he 'recognized', but wasn't supposed to ever sit on the throne because he wasn't legitimate). He also had a daughter, Elizabeth, with Anne Bolyon (he had Anne Bolyon beheaded).

    His marriage situations were all over the place, and the status of all three kids were in constant flux pretty much at his whim. They were all in the line of secession/considered bastards at different times of their lives. In the end, all three of his surviving children eventually ended up on the throne.

    All said, he had six wives, two of those marriages were annulled. (Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleve's)
  • From our own own history I would say Rhaegar could do whatever he wanted.

    I wonder what his wife thought about it, but she was Dornish and perhaps she was more okay with it?
  • CoryCory New Scotland
    I thought Elia fully supported Rhaegar and his belief in the prophecy.
  • As I was listening to your spoiler podcast, you said that the annulment of Rhaegar's marriage would make Aegon illegitimate. Could Elia have convinced Jon Connington to swap out her son for another? Now, Aegon is representing a new "Blackfyre" heir. GRRM could elaborate in the books, but the show wouldn't have enough time to flesh it out.
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