A Sure Divorce or a Long Union: How Does the New Royal Couple of Britain Stack Up Statistically?

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La Jolla, CA – Millions of Americans tuned in to watch the royal wedding this year–an estimated 29 million, if you’re counting. Why the fuss about something taking place halfway across the world? The most popular answer to that would be the enticement of watching a fairy tale unfold, as a commoner marries her prince charming. It’s also interesting to see an American enter into the royal family, as that has not happened for decades.

However, there is a more complicated answer to the level of excitement exhibited by many people watching this wedding. In a world where half of marriages fall apart, a union like this raises many questions and people want a front row seat as they watch the saga unfold. Will it be an epic tale of love that overcomes dooming statistics or a textbook example of why marriages end in divorce? Only time will tell, but we can still study the data.

Remarriage and Divorce

Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Henry will be her second. She was married to producer Robert Pattison for two years and they got divorced five years ago. While the marriage was a short one, she lived with this man for six years before marriage, which statistically is correlated to higher divorce rates. Statistics also show that second marriages are 17% more prone to divorce than first marriages. Third marriages are 7% more likely to fail than second marriages. This may be because once-married people are bringing the debts of divorce, children and and also the general tendency to resort to divorce into the relationship. Let’s hope that Meghan’s marriage to Prince William will be the exception.

Intercultural Marriage and Divorce

It is hard to find numbers regarding multicultural marriages involving nationals from different countries, as most American studies involve multiracial marriages between nationals of the same country (which do show higher rates of divorce than other marriages). However, Asian countries have started publishing data on intermarriage between partners of different cultural backgrounds and statistics show that divorce rates are higher among them as well.

While the allure of a culture other than one’s own is often something that attracts partners to one another, very different expectations about holidays, customs, relationships to inlaws and ideas about child-rearing soon arise. These cause tensions that drive people to separation and divorce.

Ms. Markle and Prince Henry are both from Western, English-speaking countries, but even between these, some stark cultural differences exist–one country is about independence and innovation, while the other one is about loyalty to traditions.

Age at Time of Marriage and Its Impact on Divorce

Latest surveys show that marriages commenced when the partners in the couple were in their early twenties or later thirties had higher divorce rates. The ‘sweet spot’ for marriage, at least according to the numbers, is between ages 28 and 32. Unfortunately both the Prince (33) and his new princess (36) are out of that window.


Of course, it is impossible to predict the outcome of any marriage, as each partnership is unique and some pairs are better at navigating the challenges before them than are others. However, divorce continues to be a hard fact of life.

If you would like divorce advice from experienced, compassionate family law attorneys in La Jolla, Carlsbad or San Diego, call Griffith, Young & Lass at 1(858)324-5330. We also offer legal counsel regarding custody, child support, spousal support, restraining orders, grandparent rights, and more.

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