On May 29, 1884, Irish playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde married Constance Lloyd at St. James Church, Paddington, London. Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is best remembered for his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death. After graduating from Trinity College, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. He tried his hand at various literary activities and published a book of poems, then embarked on a lecture tour of the United States and Canada.
Upon His return to London he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day. In 1881 he was introduced to Constance Lloyd, daughter of Horace Lloyd, a wealthy lawyer. She happened to be visiting Dublin in 1884, when Wilde was lecturing at the Gaiety Theatre. He proposed to her, and they married on May 29, 1884 at the Anglican St. James Church in Paddington in London. The couple had two sons.
At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Ernest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensberry for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years hard labor. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six on November 20, 1900.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: