Caroline of Brunswick

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Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (Caroline Amelia Elizabeth; later Queen Caroline; 17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821) was the wife of George IV of the United Kingdom from 1795, and his queen consort from 29 January 1820 until her death.

Contents

Early life

Caroline was born as Princess of Brunswick, with the courtesy title of Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel on 17 May 1768 at Braunschweig (Historic English name: Brunswick) in Germany, daughter of Karl Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Augusta Frederika of Wales, eldest sister of George III.

Engagement

In 1794, she was engaged to George III's eldest son, her first cousin, George, Prince of Wales. They had never met—George had agreed to marry her because he was heavily in debt, and if he contracted a marriage with an eligible princess, Parliament would increase his allowance. Caroline seemed eminently suitable: she was a Protestant of royal birth, and the marriage would ally Brunswick and Britain. Though Brunswick was only a small country, Britain was at war with revolutionary France and eager to obtain allies on the European mainland. On 20 November 1794, Lord Malmesbury arrived at Brunswick to escort Caroline to her new life in Britain.[1] In his diary, Malmesbury recorded his reservations about Caroline's suitability as a bride for the prince: she lacked judgment, decorum and tact, spoke her mind too readily, acted indiscreetly, and often neglected to wash, or change her dirty clothes.[2] He went on to say that she had "no acquired morality, and no strong innate notions of its value and necessity."[3] However, Malmesbury was impressed by her bravery; on the journey to England, the party heard cannonfire, as they were not far from the French lines. While Caroline's mother was concerned for their safety, Caroline was unfazed.[4]

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