George IV and Caroline of Brunswick
Caroline of Brunswick (1768 – 1821) married her cousin George, Prince of Wales, in 1795 and became Queen Consort when he succeeded as George IV in 1820. The marriage was a disaster from the start and the couple separated a year later, after their daughter Princess Charlotte was born. After many years in England, quarrelling over Charlotte’s upbringing , Caroline went to Europe, travelling round Switzerland and Italy, where she was suspected of having one of her servants, Bartolomeo Pergami, as her lover. After the death of Princess Charlotte in childbirth in 1817, George determined on a divorce and vowed she never would be Queen, but she refused a divorce and became wildly popular in England with the many people who despised the King. After his succession the King attempted to achieve a divorce with various accusations, but the Government under Lord Liverpool withdrew the case which had begun in the House of Lords.
Support for the Queen
The Queen returned to Great Britain, a figurehead for new Radical movement, and 800 petitions and loyal addresses with a million signatures supported her cause. Middle class women had begun to form associations for charity work, but supporting the Queen against the King was felt to be more dubious so they stressed their respectability as married women . On one day in September 135 carriages carrying married women and householders of St Marylebone visited the Queen. This loyal address was from the married women of St Marylebone, her most dutiful loyal and affectionate subjects and female friends, saying that if we were individually falsely accused of the crimes charged against Your Majesty we should inquire into the moral conduct of our adversary in the divine words of our Saviour, let he that is without sin let him cast the first stone. Many souvenirs were produced for supporters, including this lustre jug saying Success to Queen Caroline.
A sad ending
However, her attempts to fight her way into Westminster Abbey by different entrances for the Coronation in July 1821 from which she was barred on orders of the King, failed. Caroline became ill and died nine weeks later. Her funeral procession through London taking her body back to Brunswick caused large crowds and disorder as they blocked the government’s chosen route in order to force the procession to go through Westminster .