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Caroline of Brunswick, or more completely, Caroline Amelia of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, was wife to first cousin George IV. In fact, they only married because of an agreement to pay off George's debts.

Sure, Prince George was no prize, being a drunkard of loose morals, but Caroline was supposedly short, rude, fat, and smelly (in one history book it was said she "smelt like a farmyard"). They wed in 1795, after it was decided that George's marriage 10 years ago to Maria Fitzherbert didn't count, because Maria was a Catholic.

It says a lot about what kind of marriage they would have when, on their honeymoon, George invented his friends over to a house they had rented and even brought his mistress along, Lady Jersey. Of the house, Caroline said it "resembled a bad brothel much more than a palace." Despite all that they had a daughter on Jan. 7, 1796 (if you count, it was just nine months after the wedding, Caroline was denied any rights in the raising of little Charlotte. Shortly after the girl's birth, George even wrote up a will where all he left his wife was one shilling. By 1814, after a "delicate investigation" into her private life, attempts by the king to get a divorce and tell tales against her to the newspapers, Carolyn left England and traveled. Somewhere, available on the web, is a wonderful political cartoon caricature from the time of her with her valet and another manservant (tailor, I think), both of whom she was rumor to have been sexually involved with.

Carolyn returned to the Sceptered Isle in 1820, precipitated in part by the death of her daughter in 1818, to fight for the right to be recognized as queen. The Hoi Polloi were with her for this one, even though popular figures, like the Duke of Wellington, were against - the duke once said to some of her supporters, "Well, gentlemen, since you will have it so, Gd save the queen. And may all your wives be like her." There was a bill in the House of Lords against her, debate on which lasted for months and included the whole Italian servant dalliance while in Europe issue.

Long story short: bill does not get passed, George IV does not get divorced, and Caroline doesn't get to be queen either.

She died shortly thereafter, most likely of intestinal blockage, on August 8, 1821 at the age of 53.

Queen of George IV of Great Britain
Born 1768 Died 1821

Queen Caroline Amelia Augusta, second daughter of Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, was born on the 7th of May 1768. She was brought up with great strictness, and her education did not fit her well for her subsequent station in life. In 1795 she was married to the then Prince of Wales, (see George IV), who disliked her and separated from her after, the birth of a daughter in January 1796. The princess resided at Blackheath; and as she was thought to have been badly treated by her profligate husband, the sympathies of the people were strongly in her favour. About 1806 reports reflecting on her conduct were circulated so openly that it was deemed necessary for a commission to inquire into the circumstances. The princess was acquitted of any serious fault, but various improprieties in her conduct were pointed out and censured. In 1814 she left England and travelled on the continent, residing principally in Italy.

On the accession of George in 1820, orders were given that the English ambassadors should prevent the recognition of the princess as queen at any foreign court. Her name also was formally omitted from the liturgy. These acts stirred up a strong feeling in favour of the princess among the English people generally, and she at once made arrangements for returning to England and claiming her rights. She rejected a proposal that she should receive an annuity of £50,000 a year on condition of renouncing her title and remaining abroad. Further efforts at compromise proved unavailing; Caroline arrived in England on the 6th of June, and one month later a bill to dissolve her marriage with the king on the ground of adultery was brought into the House of Lords. The trial began on the 17th of August 1820, and on the 10th of November the bill, after passing the third reading, was abandoned. The public excitement had been intense, the boldness of the queen's counsel, Brougham and Denman, unparalleled, and the ministers felt that the smallness of their majority was virtual defeat. The queen was allowed to assume her title, but she was refused admittance to Westminster Hall on the coronation day, July 19, 1821. Mortification at this event seems to have hastened her death, which took place on the 7th of August of the same year.

See A Queen of Indiscretions, the Tragedy of Caroline of Brunswick, Queen of England, translated by F. Chapman from the Italian of Graziano Paolo Clerici (London, 1907); with numerous portraits, etc. Of contemporary authorities the Creevy Papers (1905) throw the most interesting sidelights on the subject.

Being the entry for CAROLINE AMELIA AUGUSTA, QUEEN in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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