20 NOVEMBER 1926, Page 3

• Astonishment has been caused by the announcement that the

Duke of Marlborough's first marriage to Miss Consuelo Vanderbilt has been annulled by the Roman Church. The annulment was in response to the plea of the wife (who is now married to Colonel Balsan. a French officer) that she was married to the Duke under pressure from her mother. Apparently she wishes to be married to her present husband according to the rites of the Roman Church. That Church, of course, does not recognize divorce, so that annulment is the only way of securing a religious marriage. To those who prefer the compromise of divorce, it seems amazing that 'a marriage which lasted for twenty-five years, and of • which children were born, can be thus annulled. Annulments, for reasons similar to those now put forward, are, however, familiar enough. The cases of the Princess of Monaco and of Baron de Forest are within the public memory.