Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Wedding of George IV and Caroline
The prince was originally married to Maria Fitzherbert but that marriage was considered null and void by the Royal Marriage Acts. The prince was quite in love with his wife but he was also extremely short of cash so he agreed to his father's terms of marrying someone of his choosing. The king's choice was his niece, the prince's first cousin, Caroline of Brunswick.
Since George was only marrying Caroline in order to have his father pay off his massive debts, you can imagine how thrilled he was to marry the 26 year old German relative whom he had never met. When the two did meet, Princess Caroline hugged her husband and he immediately wretched himself away and called for a stiff drink. He considered her fat and of bad hygiene which turned out to be a mutual feeling.
Prints of the time disguise the truth of the marriage: a handsome, slender couple promenade arm in arm, a glorious royal wedding ceremony where the prince is lost in his bride's eyes- nothing could be further from the truth. George felt the only means of getting himself through the ceremony was to become inebriated. Instead of staring into his bride's eyes he was being held up by two men because he was too drunk to stand. Caroline was so decked out in jewels and finery she could barely walk up the aisle, let alone stand. It is little wonder she took to the simple empire-style gowns.
Caroline knew that if her wedding was this bad, the wedding night would be even worse. George had already decided she wasn't a virgin and thought she could have used a bath which may have added to his decision to go through the wedding in a drunken state. He claimed he only consummated the marriage twice, on the wedding night and the night after. However that wouldn't be entirely accurate. On the night of the marriage while a frightened Caroline waited under the sheets, her husband blacked out on the floor. He most likely woke up in the morning in order to go about the process of creating heirs. After the second intimate encounter with Caroline, George vowed he'd never touch her again. He stayed true to his word and after Caroline gave birth to his daughter, the two were estranged.
Thanks to Margravaine Louisa who suggested we celebrate Will and Kate's engagement with stories of other royal weddings. Let's hope this royal marriage goes much better!