Melanie McDonagh Melanie McDonagh

Children are the big losers from the decline of marriage

(Credit: Getty images)

Funny, isn’t it, the way people bandy the word ‘bastard’ nowadays, without any notion that it pertains to the condition of being born outside marriage? It says lots about how illegitimacy was once regarded that its descriptive noun is now simply a bad word. And yet most children who were born last year are what we’d once have called illegitimate; the Office for National Statistics finds that 51.3

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