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“The Affair” :: Crime, Scandal, Spectacle

“The Affair”

Bartolomeo Pergami

From the very onset of their marriage, it was clear to the court and to the English public that the prince and princess were unsuitable for each other. From their first meeting, George treated Caroline with “disdain and rudeness,” favoring the company of his various mistresses to the company of his wife. (Parissien 75) Shortly after the marriage however, George’s relationships with his mistresses, particularly Maria Fitzherbert with whom the Prince was rumored to be married, soured leaving the King even more volatile than usual. (Smith 70, 84) The marriage between the Prince and Princess produced one child, Princess Charlotte, who was likely conceived within the first week of her parents’ marriage. Only a few short months later, George stopped visiting his wife’s bed. (Smith 72) By 1796, George resolved to separate from his wife. (Parissien 77) George took up relations with another mistress, a one Lady Jersey, at this time and Caroline resolved to leave for the continent. She left with the hesitant blessing of King George III and Queen Charlotte. (Parissien 80)

After leaving England, Caroline traveled extensively throughout Europe. She lived in Italy for many years and employed a man called Bartolomeo Pergami (also known as Bergami) as her personal servant. Rumors of a carnal relationship between the two spread to England and to George IV’s ears. George took no action, however, until the death of his father when Caroline returned to England to claim her right to the throne.

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