Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tart Weddings: Maria and George Prince of Wales
Maria had two husbands under her belt when she first met George Prince of Wales. The first, Edward Weld, died three months after the wedding; the second, Thomas Fitzherbert, died three years after the wedding. Maria then went into a sort of state of retirement and began a socialite life in London, it was there that she met the young prince. Prinny was almost instantly smitten with Maria and pulled out all his tricks to seduce her. But Maria wasn't going to budge, she was not interested in filling the role of "royal mistress." The prince would have to resort to more desperate measures.
Devonshire House. Georgiana was enjoying drinks on the balcony with friends when she was called away and explained that her presence was needed and it was of dire importance. Feeling as though she had no choice in the matter Georgiana handed party-duties off to her sister and joined Maria on the trip to Carlton House. There they found the prince covered in blood, dramatically begging for Maria's hand in marriage. She accepted, but a ring was needed to seal the deal which Georgiana begrudgingly provided. The next day, Maria realized the magnitude of what was done (the prince couldn't marry without his father's permission, especially a Catholic) and possibly realized that she had been duped. She flew to France to hide out in hopes Prinny would forget about her in her absence.
In this case though, absence does make the heart grow fonder and Maria eventually gave in to her yearnings for her socialite life...or a royal husband. The December 15, 1785 ceremony was sketchy. The two were married in the drawing room of her London home by Prinny's chaplain whose payment was the £500 bond needed to get him out of debtors prison. Maria's brother and uncle served as witnesses. Not quite the usual royal wedding.
Of course King Dad was not pleased at all when he found out. However he considered the marriage null and void since it was illegally done. That didn't stop Prinny from seeing Maria, especially after his marriage to Caroline of Brunswick. Maria considered Prinny to be her rightful husband (and a bigamist) until the day she died. When he died in 1830, he wore and was buried with, a miniature of her around his neck.