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The Marriage Certificate of James III and Maria Clementine Sobieska, 1719

That the union took place at all is nothing short of remarkable given that the events that led up to it played out like a soap opera: the bride was ambushed and imprisoned at Innsbruck to disrupt the match at the behest of King George I. The Irishman Charles Wogan, 'the Chevalier Wogan', and his band of officers facilitated the subsequent jailbreak. A chase across Europe then ensued, involving faked illness, a maid in disguise, lost jewels, forged passports, broken axles and the spiking of some hapless pursuers' drinks. The escape party made it across the Alps to Montefiascone, where James and Clementina were finally married in a ceremony performed by order of the Pope on the night of 1 September 1719. The episode caused a scandal throughout Europe but unfortunately did not have a fairytale ending as the couple separated soon after their second son was born.

Shelfmark: TCD MS 7574

Estelle Gittins

Estelle Gittins is an Archivist in the Department of Manuscripts & Archives with a focus on post-medieval historical collections. She works on public and academic engagement with the collections including outreach and exhibitions.