Royal Weddings celebrated at London’s Cartoon Museum

We don’t always get the goods we bargain for in this sham old world! Arnold Taylor @ Bamforth Cards Ltd.

‘Marriage,’ as Elizabeth Taylor commented, ‘is a great institution’ – and she had more experience than most! As Prince William and Kate Middeleton prepare to tie the knot, London’s Cartoon Museum is presenting a bouquet of barbed wit on the state of matrimony today and yesterday, with a new exhibition – Marriage à la Mode: Royals and Commoners in and out of Love.

Mel Calman, Marriage, © S & C Calman

The highs and – more often – the lows of marriage have provided a wealth of material for cartoonists over the last 250 years. The exhibition, which opens next week (Wednesday 23rd March) includes over 100 cartoons on many familiar themes: the hen-pecked husband, the all powerful mother-in-law, the irritating personal habits and the battles of the bedroom.

Since the 1960s, the divorce rate has climbed steadily and remarriage and ‘blended’ families have become more common. Royal marriages of the past have ranged from George, the Prince of Wales’s ‘illegal’ marriage to Mrs Fitzherbert in 1785 to Victoria’s idyllically happy marriage to Prince Albert. For almost 150 years cartoonists shied away from any hint of scandal and it was really only with the marriage of Charles and Diana in 1981 that the private lives of the royals became public once again. The ‘fairytale wedding’ excited unprecedented media interest, which lasted throughout the marriage, its intrigues and its dramatic demise.

Kate and William: A Very Public Love Story by
Rich Johnston, Mike Collins, Gary Erskine, 

 Owen Jollands. © Markosia

When Kate Middleton weds their son William on 29 April 2011, she will become the first ‘commoner’ to marry a royal close to the throne since 1660. Their relationship has inspired a number of cartoons, including Markosia’s forthcoming book Kate and William: A Very Public Love Story, a graphic telling of the couple’s modern-day romance (see our news story), which is also featured in the exhibition.

The show also includes Posy Simmonds’ telling observations on the complexities of marriages both modern and historical; Andy Capp and Flo’s ups and downs; comic postcards by Donald McGill and Arnold Taylor; William Hogarth’s revealing commentary Marriage A la Mode (1745), as well as cartoons by Steve Bell, Grizelda, Mel Calman, James Gillray, and over thirty other artists.

Marriage à la Mode: Royals and Commoners in and out of Love Wednesday 23 March – 22 May 2011 

The Cartoon Museum is open Tue – Sat, 10.30 – 17.30; Sun 12.00 – 17.30 Tel: 020 7580 8155 


Panorama © Peter Schrank Independent on Sunday, 19th November 1995

Kate And William: A Very Public Love Story will be sold in bookshops, select comic stores, supermarkets and all good outlets from 2nd April.

Order Kate & William – A Very Public Love Story from

Order Kate & William – A Very Public Love Story from

• Markosia Enterprises:

Mike Collins Official Site

Gary Erskine Official Site and Blog

Categories: Exhibitions

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