The history of British romance

  • Fred Vigeant

Lucy Worsley is back on WITF with A Very British Romance. The host and historian recently brought us 12 Days of Tudor Christmas, Victoria & Albert: The Wedding and Tales from the Royal Bedchamber. For Valentine’s Day Lucy delves into the steamy and seductive history of British romance, uncovering the social, political and cultural forces that shaped ideals of romantic love during the Georgian and Victorian eras — ideals that surprisingly continue to resonate today.

This two part series airs over two Sundays February 9 at 8pm and February 16 at 8pm.

In the first episode, Lucy’s exploration of love’s rituals begins in the Georgian age, when the old rules of courtship were being rewritten. Traditionally, marriage had been as much about business as love. Now, a glamorization of romantic love inspired women and men to make their own romantic choices — they could flirt in newly-built assembly rooms, or elope to Gretna Green as an act of romantic rebellion.

On the second episode, Worsley discovers how medieval chivalry shaped Victorian courtship by defining the roles men and women were expected to play and explores the romantic gestures which emerged and continue today. With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, Valentine’s cards were mass-produced in factories and the “penny post” made it affordable to send a written expression of love, cementing this as a customary romantic gesture.

Watch A Very British Romance on WITF February 9 and 16 at 8pm. The program will also be available to stream through the PBS Video App.

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