Rebel Queen: The Trial of Caroline by Jane Robins - review by Richard Boston

Richard Boston

‘Pray Get Me a Glass of Brandy…’

Rebel Queen: The Trial of Caroline


Simon & Schuster 370pp £20 order from our bookshop

Even by Hanover-Windsor standards, the marriage of the future George IV and his cousin Caroline of Brunswick was spectacularly ghastly. They were betrothed before they had even met, and when they did so they took an instant dislike to each other. George found her to be dumpy, and neglectful of her personal hygiene to the point of being smelly. On their being introduced the Prince turned to the Earl of Malmesbury and said: ‘Harris, I am not well. Pray get me a glass of brandy.’ For her part Caroline merely told Malmesbury that the Prince was very fat and nothing like as handsome as in his portrait.

One problem was that George was already married. His wife, the widowed Mrs Fitzherbert, was a Roman Catholic, and the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 did not allow the heir to the throne to marry an RC. So, depending whose side you were on, either the first marriage was invalid

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