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Caroline of Brunswick
QueenCaroline1820.jpg
Portrait c. 1820 by James Lonsdale, "Principal Painter in Ordinary to the Queen". Her wedding ring is displayed prominently to emphasise fidelity to marriage vows.
Queen consort of the United Kingdom and Hanover
Tenure 29 January 1820 – 7 August 1821
Born (1768-05-17)17 May 1768
Brunswick, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Holy Roman Empire
Died 7 August 1821(1821-08-07) (aged 53)
Hammersmith, Middlesex, England
Burial 25 August 1821
Brunswick Cathedral
Spouse
George IV of the United Kingdom
(m. 1795; separated 1796)
Issue Princess Charlotte of Wales
Full name
Caroline Amalie Elisabeth
House Brunswick-Bevern
Father Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick
Mother Princess Augusta of Great Britain

Caroline of Brunswick (Caroline Amelia Elizabeth; German: Caroline Amalie Elisabeth von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel; 17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821) was Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George IV from 29 January 1820 until her death in 1821. She was the Princess of Wales from 1795 to 1820.

The daughter of Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, and Princess Augusta of Great Britain, Caroline was engaged to her first cousin, George, in 1794 despite the two of them never having met. He was already illegally married to Maria Fitzherbert. George and Caroline married the following year but separated shortly after the birth of their only child, Princess Charlotte of Wales, in 1796. By 1806, rumours that Caroline had taken lovers and had an illegitimate child led to an investigation into her private life. The dignitaries who led the investigation concluded that there was "no foundation" to the rumours, but Caroline's access to her daughter was nonetheless restricted. In 1814, Caroline moved to Italy, where she employed Bartolomeo Pergami as a servant. Pergami soon became Caroline's closest companion, and it was widely assumed that they were lovers. In 1817, Caroline was devastated when Charlotte died in childbirth. She heard the news from a passing courier as George had refused to write and tell her. He was determined to divorce Caroline, and set up a second investigation to collect evidence of her adultery.

In 1820, George became King of the United Kingdom and Hanover. He hated his wife, vowed she would never be the queen, and insisted on a divorce, which she refused. A legal divorce was possible but difficult to obtain. Caroline returned to Britain to assert her position as queen. She was wildly popular with the British populace, who sympathised with her and despised the new king for his immoral behaviour. On the basis of the loose evidence collected against her, George attempted to divorce her by introducing the Pains and Penalties Bill to Parliament, but he and the bill were so unpopular, and Caroline so popular with the masses, that it was withdrawn by the Liverpool government. In July 1821, Caroline was barred from the coronation on the orders of her husband. She fell ill in London and died three weeks later. Her funeral procession passed through London on its way to her native Brunswick, where she was buried.


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