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Caroline of Brunswick

Caroline of Brunswick, 1768–1821, consort of George IV of England. The daughter of Charles William Ferdinand, duke of Brunswick, she married George (then prince of Wales) in 1795. She bore him one daughter, but the couple separated in 1796 and Caroline, deprived of her child, lived in retirement. An accusation that she had borne an illegitimate child occasioned a commission of inquiry (1806), which found her innocent but imprudent. Caroline went abroad in 1814, but when George became king in 1820 she returned to claim her rights as queen. The government immediately instituted proceedings against her in the House of Lords for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Caroline was probably guilty of the charge, but her persecution by a profligate husband aroused popular sympathy for her and the bill was dropped.

See biographies by J. Richardson (1960), E. F. L. Russell (1967), and F. Fraser (1996); R. Fulford, The Trial of Queen Caroline (1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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