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Maria Anne Fitzherbert

Maria Anne Fitzherbert
'wife' of King George IV
Maria Anne Fitzherbert (1756-1837), née Smythe, married George IV (then the Prince of Wales) in December 1785. The marriage was considered invalid under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 because it had not been approved by the King and Privy Council. Had permission been asked, it would probably not have been granted, as Mrs Fitzherbert was a Catholic. Their relationship continued after the Prince's marriage to Princess Caroline of Brunswick, but ended in 1811. Following the death of George in 1830, William IV offered to make her a royal duchess, but she declined.

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