Historical Background

George IV

George Augustus Frederick, the future King George IV, was born on the 12th of August 1762 to King George III and Queen Charlotte. (Parissien 18) The young prince’s relationship with his parents was constantly strained and, in the eyes of his parents, he could do nothing right. (Parissien 22) Historian Steven Parissien cites his poor relationship with his mother as the reason George IV could often be found in the arms of older, matronly mistresses. (Parissien 27) Parissien also blames George III and Charlotte’s “spartan regime” as the cause of George IV’s excessive and lavish spending later in life. (Parissien 35) Indeed his disastrous marriage to Caroline of Brunswick came about only so that Parliament would pay off his enormous debts. (Parissien 74)

Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was born in 1768 to the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; her mother was the sister of her future father-in-law, George III. (Smith 70) Raised informally in a German court, the princess acted as tomboy and loved parties and gossip – quite the opposite upbringing from George’s austere childhood. (Smith 71) Caroline was chosen to be George IV’s bride not because the two would make a good match, but to satisfy George’s ever-increasing debts. Indeed, historian E. A. Smith explains, “[George IV] was prepared to marry anyone considered suitable, only to escape the mountain of debts that now threatened to overwhelm him.” (Smith 71) Caroline and George married in 1795.

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