Wife of King George II: Caroline of Ansbach

Caroline of Ansbach was born on the 1st March 1683, to parents John Frederick, the Margrave of Bandenburg-Ansbach and Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach.

In 1686, her father died, and her life would change; Caroline along with her younger brother William Frederick, moved to Dresden with their mother, where she married the Elector of Saxony.  The marriage was short lived, and Eleanor died in 1696.

Caroline and William returned to Ansbach, and lived with half-brother, George Frederick II, the Margrave of Ansbach.

Caroline was placed with new guardians; Frederick, the Elector of Brandenburg and Sophia Charlotte his wife, the daughter of the Electoress, Sophia of Hanover and sister of George, Elector of Hanover, and future King George I of England.

In 1701, Frederick the Elector of Brandenburg and Sophia Charlotte, became King and Queen of Prussia.  Caroline was exposed to a new life, in the Prussian court; an intellectual environment.

Sophia Charlotte died in 1705, and that same year Caroline was considered for the wife of the future Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor.  An offer she rejected, as she would have to renounce her Protestant faith.

In June of 1705, George Augustus was put under pressure to marry, and produce an Hanoverian heir.  His father had a rough time with his own wife, so let his son choose his own wife.

George Augustus visited the royal court at Ansbach, to see Caroline, and found an attractive and intelligent young woman, and the feelings were mutual.  On the 22nd August 1705, George and Caroline were married at the Palace Chapel at Herrenhausen in Hanover.

She bore George the following children:

Frederick, Prince of Wales

Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

Princess Amelia

Princess Caroline

Prince George William

Prince William, Duke of Cumberland

Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel

Louisa, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Caroline’s father-in-law, the Elector of Hanover, ascended to the English throne, as King George I in 1714.  George Augustus and Caroline along with two of their daughters, re-located in England.  Prince Frederick remained in Hanover as a figurehead representing the House of Hanover.  George was invested as the Prince of Wales and Caroline as the Princess of Wales.

George an Caroline made an effort to learn the English language, Politics through Parliament and its customs, whilst George I favoured the German styled court.  This resulted in two courts, one run by King George I and the other by the Prince of Wales.

In November of 1717, the tense relationship between father and son; George I and the Prince of Wales, came to a head, with the baptism of their son, George William.  An argument erupted over the choice of godparents, leading to the house arrest of the Prince and Princess of Wales at St.James Palace, and their children placed under the King’s care.  He went a step further, refusing them any contact with their children.

In February of 1718, Prince George William died, and the Prince and Princess of Wales laid the blame of his death, firmly at the feet of King George I.

Caroline, the Princess of Wales got interested in politics, working with Robert Walpole.

Caroline helped to popularise the practice of immunisation.  Six convicts due to be executed, underwent the process of immunisation, and followed up by six orphan children, against the smallpox disease.  The trial was a success, and her own children were immunised.

King George I died on the 11th June 1727.  George II and Caroline were crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 11th October 1727.  In 1728, their son Frederick, arrived in England, and resented his parents, leaving him to grow up in Hanover.

Frederick had mistresses, large debts and loved gambling.  Opposed his father’s political beliefs, and expected to receive more power over the government.

In June of 1737, Frederick informed his parents that his wife; Augusta of Saxe-Gotha was with child, and due in October.  In July when she went into labour, removed her from Hampton Court Palace to St.James Palace where she gave birth.  (According to tradition, royal births are witnessed by the royal family).

As Queen Caroline’s life was slipping away, her husband King George II slept in a cot by her bed, during her final days.

On the 20th November 1737, Queen Caroline died, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

Queen Caroline was mourned by her people, and when King George II died on the 25th October 1760, he was buried by her side on matching coffins.  They were devoted to each other in life, and till the end…

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