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Man marries his own mother-in-law after divorcing his wife and getting 500-year-old law overturned - healthyfrog

Man marries his own mother-in-law after divorcing his wife and getting 500-year-old law overturned

A man has married his own mother-in-law after divorcing his wife of eight years and getting a 500-year-old law overturned.

Clive Blunden, 65, and Brenda, 77, have been together for over 30 years and officially tied the knot in 2007.

But Clive, from Warrington, Cheshire, was arrested in 1997 after the pair announced their plans to marry.

Clive Blunden, 65, and Brenda, 77, above in 2012, tied the knot in 2007. Clive made history when he became the first man in over 400 years to marry his mother-in-law

Clive and Brenda first began dating in 1989, four years after Clive divorced from Irene

Clive's ex-wife and Brenda's daughter, Irene Little

Clive and Brenda first began dating in 1989, left, four years after Clive divorced from Irene Little, right, who previously said she felt her mother ‘totally betrayed’ her

The 65-year-old was told he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison due to a ‘lawful impediment’, so the couple decided to change Brenda’s surname by deed poll instead.

Clive then went on to work for the law to be changed, with a European Court overturning it ten years later, in 2005.

European human rights judges granted a British woman the right to marry her father-in-law, with the decision forcing the UK’s Government to alter British law so that she could become the wife of her ex-husband’s father.

The Government had claimed the existing law protected the family and morality, prevented sexual competition between parents and children and shielded children from confusion, anxiety and harm.

The seven European judges said the British ban broke Article 12 of the European Human Rights Convention, which gives men and women the right to marry. 

Clive told the Mirror: ‘People thought we wouldn’t last but we are stronger than ever. We’re together 24/7 and there’s a magic to it.’ 

Clive and Brenda pictured on ITV's This Morning in London in 2012. The pair renewed their wedding vows five years after they married in 2007

Clive and Brenda pictured on ITV’s This Morning in London in 2012. The pair renewed their wedding vows five years after they married in 2007

Clive Blunden, 65, and Brenda, 77, above in 2012, have been together for more than 30 years

The pair married two years after the ancient law was overturned

Clive Blunden, 65, and Brenda, 77, above in 2012, have been together for more than 30 years. The pair married two years after the ancient law was overturned

Ancient law that bans marrying your parents-in-law is overturned

European human rights judges granted a British woman the right to marry her father-in-law in September 2005.

The decision forced the Government to alter British law so that she could become the wife of her ex-husband’s father.

The couple were banned from marrying due to an ancient law that said parents-in-law cannot marry their sons and daughters-in-law.

The Government had claimed the existing law protected the family and morality, prevented sexual competition between parents and children and shielded children from confusion, anxiety and harm.

At the time, family values campaigners condemned the Strasbourg judgment.

Hugh McKinney of the National Family Campaign said: ‘This ruling will remove legal safeguards against such relationships which have been in place for hundreds of years for good legal, sexual and familial reasons.’ 

The seven European judges said the British ban broke Article 12 of the European Human Rights Convention, which gives men and women the right to marry.

They said since the couple were already living together, the ban had no bearing on the condition of their family life.

The couple first began dating in 1989, four years after he divorced from Brenda’s daughter, Irene Little.

Brenda added: ‘Clive is a gentleman and he looks after me. I can get a bit argumentative but he quietens me down.’ 

Referring to how the pair got together, Clive previously told the BBC: ‘I used to come and see the children at the house.

‘We got talking, went for a drink, a meal, like any normal relationship.

‘At the time it was just like any other relationship, I had been on my own for four years.’

He added that the decision initially came as a shock to the family but said they have developed to a friendlier relationship over time.

Brenda said that her ex-husband even stirred them on, claiming the decision to marry was not related to her daughter as she had re-married at the time. 

Clive and Irene married in 1977 and had two daughters, divorcing in 1985.

Irene did not attend Clive and Brenda’s wedding and previously said she felt her mother ‘totally betrayed’ her.

She told The People in 2012: ‘I don’t even know who my mum is any more – she totally betrayed me.

‘This person who is smiling and laughing with my ex, posing for photographs and talking about renewing her vows is a total stranger to me.’

Irene also earlier accused Clive of being violent during their marriage – a claim which he denies.

Referring to her mother, she added: ‘I feel sorry for her and I fear for her safety – but she knows exactly what she’s getting into.’

The mother-of-three said Brenda helped to support her after the divorce, claiming she confided in her about his allegedly vicious behaviour.

Irene’s ex-husband and mother disagreed with her claims, with Clive saying their marriage broke down due to her working night shifts at the time.

Brenda also said she has a close relationship with her daughter, adding that she regularly came to visit.