Barely a whisper heard about 'virgin bride' this time, note historians

Historians in the News

...As Kate Middleton and Prince William have thrilled the British public this week with the news of their engagement, there's been barely a whisper about the fact that they've been co-habitating on and off for years.

"It's amazing how little one has heard about the co-habitation issue," said Deborah Cohen, a professor at Northwestern University who specializes in modern British history. "The modernization of the monarchy has developed very quickly in the last 30-plus years on those sorts of social issues."

Historically, societies began to prize virginity as a marital attribute when they started to develop inherited wealth and social status, said Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage."...

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