Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Wedding of George IV and Caroline

Royal weddings are the hot topic as of late. Nary a day passes without us hearing about the upcoming nuptials of a prince and his future princess.  Royal wedding ceremonies have been happening for centuries and some go off without a hitch but others, such as the Prince of Wales' in 1795, are quite infamous.

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!


  1. I feel confident William & Kate's marriage will be a much bigger success than Prinny and Caroline -- for starters, I'm pretty sure Kate bathes!

  2. That's got to be one of the worst marrige i've ever heard of!

  3. @Jillian, Ha! If she doesn't bathe, she pulls off a good farce.

    @Rebecca, I think it's safe to say it only got worse.

  4. oooooooh - more dish!
    is everyone picking out their outfit to wear when we stay up late to watch the Wills and Kate?

  5. Heather, have you ever seen the TV movie that was done about George and Caroline starring Richard E. Grant and Susan Lynch? Their wedding scene is particularly good and follows the historical record. After having read about it, seeing it the flesh as it were, was hysterical.

  6. It seems that this new common girl Cinderella's wannabe will get a quite common royal jewel...

    (...the way he holds it...Oh dear...)

  7. Will note that the above link is NSFW and of a very Gillray-ian nature!

    @EKM, I haven't seen that but now I will have to scour netflix for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    @Fabu, I can't believe that naughty picture (which is now burned into my retinas) didn't cause a world-wide scandal. Oh well, everyone pees!

  8. Oh, the poor bastard canna even take a piss without paparazzi!

    I feel very much for poor Caroline. I do have a small amount of sympathy for Prinny, but his treatment of Caroline was deplorable.

    I am looking forward to witnessing a real royal wedding, considering the last one, between Prince William's parents, I was in utero. My mother got up extra early to watch it on tv, and she said her first thoughts were that Diana was making a huge mistake. Poor Diana was too young to understand she was the royal brood mare and Charles probably would have married Camilla in a heartbeat if he were allowed. Anyway....

    I do hope the best for Kate and William. Being a Princess isn't all that, and I think she has better preparation than her 19 year old mother in law did.

  9. As faras i remember Caroline were not 26 six years older than George? Wasn't she born in 1768 and he in 1762?

  10. That's queen Charlotte sitting? there should be an article on her if there hasn't been already. She was not a glittering naughty it-girl like Georgina but she was loyal to his husband to the end.

  11. She was almost as well-behaved as it got! She has her own tag although, you are right, I haven't written about her extensively.

  12. OMG, The Wedding of George IV and Caroline was so cute. Thanks dear for this wonderful share. The vintage weddings are my favorite because they used to be simple yet super elegant. We also had a gorgeous ceremony at one of the best San Francisco wedding venues which was vintage themed.