In 1502 Machiavelli married Marietta Corsini, who bore him several children, with whom, in spite of his own infidelities, he lived on good terms, and who survived him twenty-six years.
On the 3rd of May Lady Jane Gordon, who had become countess of Bothwell on the 22nd of February of the year preceding, obtained, on the ground of her husband's infidelities, a separation which, however, would not under the old laws of Catholic Scotland have left him free to marry again; on the 7th, accordingly, the necessary divorce was pronounced, after two days' session, by a clerical tribunal which ten days before had received from the queen a special commission to give judgment on a plea of somewhat apocryphal consanguinity alleged by Bothwell as the ground of an action for divorce against his wife.
In spite of the popular stories of his amours and infidelities, he is the patron-God of the monogamic marriage, and his union with Hera remained the divine type of human wedlock.
To all his three wives, in spite of numerous infidelities, he seems to have been warmly attached; and this is perhaps the best trait in a character otherwise more remarkable for arrogance and heat than for any amiable qualities.
The marriage, only accepted by Wilhelmina under threats from her father and with a view to lightening her brother's disgrace, proved at the outset a happy one, though it was clouded at first by narrow means, and afterwards by the infidelities of the future margrave with Dorothea von Marwitz, whose ascendancy at the court of Baireuth was bitterly resented by Frederick the Great, and caused an estrangement of some three years between Wilhelmina and the brother she so devotedly loved.