On this day in history : 28th November 1582 – William Shakespeare, at the age of 18, marries Anne Hathaway, aged 26…. Six months later Anne gives birth to their first child – a daughter whom they name Susanna….

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The Chandos Portrait – National Portrait Gallery, London – John Taylor – Public domain

Shakespeare was still a minor in the eyes of the law – so he would have had to seek the permission of Anne’s father to marry…. An early marriage meant he would have been unable to legally complete an apprenticeship….

To avoid scandal over Anne’s pregnancy Shakespeare applied to the Bishop’s Court, in Worcester, for a special marriage licence….allowing them to marry outside of the parish of normal residency (in this case Stratford-upon-Avon)….

In 1585 Anne gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl named Hamnet and Judith…. (Hamnet died later, at the age of 11)…. Some time after the birth of his children Shakespeare went to London to become an actor…. By 1592 he was well established in London’s theatrical world, both as an actor and playwright….

Anne and Shakespeare remained married until his death in April 1616….

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A 19th-Century German engraving depicting Shakespeare surrounded by his family – Unknown engraver – Public domain

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