Caroline von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

ROYAL CONSORT (GERMANY)
BORN 17 May 1768, Braunschweig, Niedersachsen - DIED 8 Aug 1821, London: Brandenburg House, Hammersmith
REAL NAME Caroline Amelie Elisabeth von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
GRAVE LOCATION Braunschweig, Niedersachsen: Dom St. Blasii (Fürstengruft)

Princess Caroline of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel was a daughter of Karl II, Duke of Brunswick (Braunschweig in German) and Augusta of Hanover. On 8 Apr 1795 she married George, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne. He didn´t like her and had secretly married Maria Fitzherbert himself, but this marriage was not legally valid.

Caroline didn´t like her husband either and from George´s correspondence became clear that they had only three times sexual intercourse during the first two nights of their marriage. But it was enough for a daughter: in January 1796 Charlotte Augusta was born. Caroline and George lived seperate lives and didn't appear in public together. They both had other lovers. Caroline wasn't often allowed to see her daughter and in 1799 she was banished to Blackheath. Possibly George Canning and Sir Sidney Smith were her lovers there.

Although she had many supporters among the Whigs (among them Lord Byron and Lady Jane Oxford), she left England in 1814 and travelled through Europe, leaving debts wherever she went. Her daughter Charlotte married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1816. She died in 1817 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

The English government sent investigators to Milan to collect eveidence that she had committed adultery with her servant Bartolomeo Pergami. She was found guilty, but a bill to strip her of her rights only passed the house of Lords and was withdrawn because it wouldn't stand a chance in the House of Commons.

In 1820 George succeeded to the throne as George IV and this prompted her return to England. Caroline was refused entry at Westminster Abbey where George's coronation took place on 21 Jul 1821. She fell ill the night after the coronation and died three weeks later. She had been under observation all the time by a man who spied for Lord Liverpool. Caroline thought she was poisoned, but the cause of her death was never cleared since Caroline forbade an autopsy herself. Her body was returned to Brunswick, where she was buried in St. Blasii Cathedral.

Related persons
• was supported by Brougham, Henry, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
• has a connection with Byron, George Noel Gordon
• employed Craven, Keppel Richard
• has a connection with Harley, Jane, Countess of Oxford and Countess Mortimer

Events
8/8/1818Milan commission ordered to investigate the behaviour of Caroline of Brunswick. Prince-regent George suspected her of adultery. She would have had an affair with Joachim Murat around 1810 and she would have a bastard son, William Austin. 
10/2/1820The Milan commission report on Caroline of Brunswick is presented. She was found guilty of adultery with her servant Bartolomeo Pergami and she was no longer allowed to use her title. She was also denied to enter England again. Caroline didn't want to comply with the verdict. The Pains and Penalties Bill 1820 that stripped of her title of queen and dissolved her marriage was passed in the House of Lords. But it wasn't submitted to the House of Commons because it was clear that it wouldn't pass there. To her friends she joked that she had committed adultery once, with the husband of Mrs. Fitzherbert, the mistress of the king. 
5/6/1820Caroline of Brunswick arrives in Dover. She had returned to England to seek the confrontation with parliament and prince-regent George. 
6/6/1820Caroline of Brunswick is cheered by the publuc when she arrives in London. Parliament wanted to start divorce proceedings against her, but public opinion was on her side. She was seen as a victim of the very unpopular prince-regent George. 
19/7/1821George IV is crowned in Westminster Abbey. His wife Caroline of Brunswick tried to enter Westminster Hall but she was stopped. Byron called George IV a worthy successor of 'the headless Charles I and the heartless Henry VIII'. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
30/7/1821Caroline of Brunswick falls ill during a performance at Drury Lane. She visited the Drury Lane Theatre shortly after her husband George IV had been crowned. Not long afterwards she died. 
26/8/1821Caroline of Brunswick is buried in Brunswick. Her husband, king George IV, had forbidden that her coffin would be carried through the City of London. But the people wanted it and it happened, even though the royal troops shot at the crown near Hyde Park Corner with casualties as a result. After this the coffin was brought to Harwich and shipped to Braunschweig, where she was buried next to her father in the royal crypt. 

Images

The tomb of Caroline of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel at St. Blasii, Braunschweig.
Picture by Androom (24 Mar 2007)

 

Sources
• Stephen, Leslie [Sir], Sidney Lee [Sir] [Editors], The Dictionary of National Biography, From the Earliest Times to 1900, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1960
• Hibbert, Christopher, George IV, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1988
• Burke, john, An Illustrated History of England, Book Club Associates, London, 1978
Oosthoek's Geillustreerde Encyclopædie, Oosthoek, Utrecht, 1925
Point de Vue (Images du Monde), Point de Vue, Créteil
Caroline of Brunswick - Wikipedia


Caron, Pierre Louis Auguste, baron

Published: 01 Jan 2008
Last update: 04 Jul 2021