Charles Parnell forced to resign due to involvement in a divorce case

(292 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Charles Parnell, the iconic and charismatic leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party as an MP at Westminster, was at the pinnacle of his power in the late 1880s. Prime Minister William Ewert Gladstone was even in negotiations with him to draft an Irish Home Rule Bill, which would have been the greatest breakthrough of any Irish politician of the century. In 1889, however, a scandal emerged which, although it had been an open secret among politicians, shocked the population at large. He had had a longstanding relationship with Katharine O'Shea, the wife of Captain William O'Shea, who had not divorced her in part because he expected her to receive a large inheritance. When the money went elsewhere, Captain O'Shea filed for divorce, and in 1…

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Editors. "Charles Parnell forced to resign due to involvement in a divorce case". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]