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Caroline of Brunswick

Caroline of Brunswick (May 17, 1768 - August 7, 1821), Princess of Wales April 8, 1795 - January 29, 1820 and, technically, queen consort of King George IV of the United Kingdom January 29, 1820 - August 7, 1821.

Caroline was born on May 17, 1768 at Brunswick in Germany, daughter of the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel by Augusta, eldest sister of King George III. She became engaged to the king's eldest son, her first cousin, who saw marriage as an opportunity to increase his financial allowance, whilst having no intention of giving up his playboy lifestyle. Caroline and Prince George, who held the title of Prince of Wales, were married on April 8, 1795, at St James's Palace[?] in London.

The marriage was a disaster even before it had taken place. Caroline was not attractive, but her main shortcomings in the eyes of her new husband were her lack of personal hygiene and the fact that she was apparently not a virgin. For her part, she found him fat, ugly and rude. Recently-discovered correspondence of the prince's reveals that the couple only slept together three times in the whole of their married life. The consequence of this was the birth of Princess Charlotte Augusta, George's only legitimate child, who was born on January 7, 1796. The Prince and Princess of Wales never lived together afterwards, and appeared separately in public.

Caroline was prevented from seeing her daughter on a day-to-day basis, and was eventually banished to a private residence in Blackheath, where she adopted a licentious lifestyle. Those with whom she is alleged to have had affairs included the politician, George Canning, and the admiral, Sir Sidney Smith[?]. This gave her husband ample opportunity to discredit her. Following an investigation into her personal affairs, she left the country and went to live abroad, building up large debts throughout Europe. During this period, Princess Charlotte died.

Her husband's accession to the throne in 1820 caused Caroline to return to Britain in 1820, but he, liberated from the strict authority of his late father, was beginning divorce proceedings against her, and she was turned away from his coronation. A social outcast, dejected and suffering from various ailments, she died on August 7, 1821, and her body was returned to Brunswick for burial.

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