Wife of King George IV: Caroline of Brunswick

Caroline the Princess of Brunswick was born on the 17th May 1768 in Brunswick, Germany to parents Charles William, the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel and Princess Augusta of Great Britain, sister of George III.

In 1794, Princess Caroline and George Augustus Frederick were engaged.  On the 8th April 1795, they were married at the Chapel Royal, St.James Palace.

On his wedding night, George was so drunk, that he fell into the bedroom grate, and Caroline out of disgust left him there.

Neither liked the other, but for George it meant, Parliament would clear his debts and increase his allowance.

In fact the marriage was illegal, as George had married Maria Fitzherbert in secret, violating the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.

Caroline bore George a legitimate child; Princess Charlotte Augusta at Carlton House on the 7th January 1796.  George replied by making a new will, leaving all his property to my wife; Maria Fitzherbert, and to Caroline the sum of one shilling.

George rejected his wife, and sent her a note, informing her she could do what she liked, as he had no intentions of having any relations with her again.

Caroline, wife of the future King of England, took it to mean she was free to do as she liked.

Rejected by her husband, she moved to Blackheath, and was given to sexual dancing in front of her guests.

In 1806, rumours abounded, that William Austin a four year-old boy, who lived with her, was her son, and the father was her footman.  A Royal Commission; “Delicate Investigation” was to prove the rumour was without substance.

In 1814, Caroline left England, much to the delight of George.  In Geneva she danced naked to the waist, and whilst in Naples, became the mistress of King Joachim, brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In January of 1820, King George III died, and was succeeded by George IV her husband, making her Queen.

The English government offered her the sum of £50,000 to stay out of England, and not claim her rightful place as Queen.  She rejected the offer, returning to England and took up residence in Hammersmith, she would prove an embarrassment to George and Parliament.

On the 17th August 1820, she was summoned to appear before the House of Lords, an attempt by George to dissolve the marriage.  After 52 days the divorce case was dropped.  Could it have been Lord Brougham her defence lawyer, or the fact she was popular with the English people, which led to the case being dropped.

King George’s coronation took place on the 29th April 1821.  The Prime Minister informed Caroline, she would play no active part.

On the day of the coronation, when Caroline arrived at the doors of Westminster Abbey, they were firmly shut in her face.

On the 7th August 1821 Caroline died at her home, and was buried at Brunswick Cathedral.  The words inscribed upon her coffin: “CAROLINE THE INJURED QUEEN OF ENGLAND.”

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