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The most disgraced daughter-in-law of the British royal family: Princess Caroline
The most disgraced daughter-in-law of the British royal family: Princess Caroline
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In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, England and Europe were rocked by a scandal - one of the few domestic violence scandals. He evoked such a warm response among the people that riots even broke out here and there - the British protested against the conversion of first the Crown Prince, then King George IV, with his wife. The unfortunate name was Carolina, and she was her husband's cousin.

The grubby princess

On April 3, 1795, the German princess Caroline of Braunschweg, the great-granddaughter of King George II of England by her mother, disembarked in England from a ship. She was taken by carriage to the meeting place with the future groom, also the great-grandson of George II, but by his father. Following etiquette, the princess sat down in front of him in a deep curtsy. He also followed etiquette: he raised her, held out his hand, and hugged her. After that, his face changed and literally fled to another room, where he immediately demanded brandy. “Something is bad for me,” he said. Still, the princess smelled awful.

This property of the princess was noticed by the Lord of Malmesbury, who came after her. It was a real shock for him to see that the daughter of an English princess (Caroline's mother and George's father were sister and brother) was so unscrupulous. He quickly found out that the princess rarely changes her underwear, that is, shirts, skirts and stockings. The lord tried to influence Caroline, but the too limited travel time did not allow him to achieve significant success.

Portrait of Caroline by Thomas Lawrence

The first wedding night also did not work out. The prince got drunk dead drunk and fell asleep on the rug by the fireplace. In the morning, he explained the absence of blood on the sheets not by the fact that he had not consummated the marriage (by the way, many would understand and consider it a manifestation of delicacy - the prince and princess barely knew each other). No, he blamed Caroline for this - they say, she probably had men before. She was very unashamedly behaving. How he managed to discern Carolina's unashamed behavior from the rug by the fireplace is a mystery.

The next evening, his wife shocked him by starting to wash away spots of an understandable nature in the hips, front and back on his nightgown. To do this, she diluted tooth powder in water and wielded a special brush. The origin of the stains, which was more than obvious, and the thought of how many times this operation had already been performed on the shirt since the last wash, left the prince in a depressed state. In general, several days passed before he was able, as it was then said, to enter into his marital rights. The princess became pregnant almost immediately, and the prince, with relief, put an end to visiting her chambers.

Portrait of Prince George

Joker Princess

Despite the fact that the maids of honor (among whom, by the way, was the prince's mistress) frankly told everyone curious about the hygienic habits of the princess, Carolina very quickly won the hearts of her father-in-law, many nobles and the rabble. It's all about her cheerful and kind disposition. True, her tendency to joke and not look back at the opinion of the world was sometimes excessive in her …

Once worried servants galloped to her mother, who was at that time at the ball: Caroline is dying! She rushes about the bed and screams. The alarmed mother came home urgently and ran into her daughter's room. She screamed at the sight of her mother that she was giving birth and that she needed to send for a midwife. The unhappy English princess died.Sixteen-year-old unmarried daughter - giving birth! What a disgrace! Seeing the mother's reaction, Carolina laughed and asked, they say, will you no longer leave your daughter at home alone while you yourself have fun at the balls?

The governess went to balls near Carolina, who was dancing with her gentlemen, until the very matchmaking. The fact is that the girl allowed herself such a risky joke not only with her mother. Either she was burdened by the family environment and wanted to behave defiantly, or Carolina thought that it was ridiculous to play an innocent child out of herself when you are deep in your twenties …

Her husband's father, King George III, very quickly realized that Carolina can be called a cheerful, kind and somewhat brave girl, but of the bad sides she only has hygiene problems that can be eliminated by gradual learning. He sincerely attached himself to her and always defended her in front of her husband. But the mother-in-law Caroline disliked and supported the prince in his dislike of his wife.

Portrait of Carolina of unknown authorship

The neglected princess

They began to humiliate Caroline at the hour when she got off the ship. According to etiquette, a carriage immediately drove up to the port, where - far from the port stench and rudeness - the prince's bride would quickly sit down. Responsible for this was the prince's favorite, appointed by him as a maid of honor to Caroline. And this favorite immediately wanted to show the future mistress her place.

The carriage was brought in only an hour later, all this hour Carolina did not understand what to expect, whether they forgot about her, not to mention the fact that she had nowhere to sit down. In the carriage itself, the prince's favorite tried to prevent Caroline from sitting in the seat she had chosen. Caroline began to realize that she was being tamed and resisted the transplant. A skirmish ensued.

Later, the prince's young wife was allocated only three rooms - a bedroom, a toilet and a salon. Yes, they were richly furnished, but did not correspond to the status of the crown prince's wife. At least by the fact that she was served by noble ladies who needed their own premises.

When Caroline gave birth to a daughter, the prince took advantage of the excuse that he was not given an heir to neglect his wife and humiliate her openly. The girl was selected for education at the court of the king (this was, alas, a widespread practice). Carolina herself was ousted, so that she was forced to live in a country estate.

Princess Caroline with her daughter Charlotte. Artist Thomas Lawrence

And the princess who was slandered

Theoretically, the princess was supposed to languish there away from her husband, between rare meetings with her daughters. But this was not the character of Caroline. She immediately organized a tumultuous activity. She visited local nobles, collected orphans and simply poor children for the upbringing. She received several ship captains as guests, so that later she could give the boys to the cabin boys and be sure that her pupils would not be offended. One of the captains also gave her drawing lessons. In general, from the outside it could look and be presented as if Carolina constantly receives sailors at home, and then she has children from nowhere. And there were people who were ready, at the request of the prince, to present the matter just like that.

The fact is that the people's love for Carolina, and just the whole Carolina, annoyed the prince. In general, the prince and princess would probably agree to some analogue of a divorce - separate living with payments from the spouse, and even then he would give his daughter to Caroline. But suddenly the king was against. He considered such a proposal an insult to his daughter-in-law, not noticing how much easier her life would become. So the prince tried to arrange a divorce in the spirit of Henry VIII: he intended to prove that the princess leads a dissolute lifestyle. Under English law, treason to the crown prince was equated to state treason. And in this case, Prince George could easily become a widower and marry whoever he wants …

One of the noblewomen, with whom Carolina managed to quarrel, having rudely joked, gave many testimonies about how Carolina almost harassed her, how the pregnant woman walked, how men constantly went to her.There were also some of the servants who were ready to testify against their mistress. When, six months later, the collected incriminating evidence ended up in the hands of Carolina, her hair did not stand on end. She tried to ask for an audience with the king - but he no longer wanted to see his daughter-in-law. Then Carolina said that … she would publish all the dirt on herself if the king did not listen to her. And let the people judge how she was humiliated and insulted. In the end, the evidence was examined more closely, and Caroline was acquitted.

Princess Caroline

The princess who never became queen

All this bullying led to the fact that Princess Caroline literally fled to the continent and began to travel across Europe. She went to a country that was considered the complete opposite of raw and boring England - to Italy. She hired a translator there. His name was Bartolomeo Pergami. A former soldier, he was tall and athletic. In addition, he was just good-looking and cordial in communication.

Needless to say, these two eventually got along and were happy together? Pergami even taught the princess to wash often - she took a bath with pleasure, if Pergami washed it himself. It is believed that they initially became close because of his wonderful little daughter Victoria - the princess loved children to madness.

Cartoons of Carolina and Bartolomeo

Together with Bartolomeo, his daughter and one of her young pupils, Carolina traveled to several countries. In particular, she visited Tunisia, believing there to ransom several Christian slaves. There were no Christians for the princess, but she was consoled by showing her a real harem. Somewhere along the way, Caroline bought Bartolomeo the Baronial title.

Of course, rumors reached Georg, and he urgently started a new investigation. By this time, he was already regent under his dying father and was about to become king. With new data on hand, he … No, he did not try to accuse Caroline of treason - oddly enough, if his wife's lover was a foreigner, it was not considered treason. He wanted to divorce Caroline. True, according to English law, this was only possible if the husband had an impeccable reputation. Georg was known for his debauchery. And yet the bill of divorce (and depriving Carolina of everything that is) was introduced by him to Parliament.

Caroline hastened to England. At home, she was greeted by jubilant subjects. People considered it an insult on the part of George with his adventures to take revenge on his wife, who had long been abandoned by him, even if she found consolation from another man. As a sign of support, the greeters unharnessed the horses from Carolina's carriage and drove her themselves.

Caricature of Georg, not expecting the arrival of Caroline

After Carolina's arrival in London, residents of the capital organized a flash mob: everyone who supported Carolina put a lit candle on the window in the evening. If a house stood without a candle in the window, hot Londoners threw stones at the windows. They even tried to attack with a cobblestone the residence of George, but did not succeed.

When Parliament began considering the bill, the building had to be surrounded by a double cordon - the crowd was so excited. Men in a sign of support for Carolina cling to white cockades, women waving white kerchiefs - never before this gesture looked so belligerent.

Oddly enough, despite the abundance of evidence against the Queen, her lawyers were able to refute many of them. One of the most striking rebuttals of evidence was the fact that lawyers discovered that witnesses were paid to testify. The trial lasted for weeks, the lawyers did not convince the judges of anything … But Carolina was acquitted. Maybe nobody wanted a riot. Maybe everyone understood everything about her husband.

Alas, the princess did not enjoy the victory for long. After the trial, her husband was to be crowned. According to tradition, she was to be crowned too - but Georg struck her off the list of admitted to the ceremony. Caroline tried to enter the cathedral on the day of the coronation - she was not allowed. She then had a sumptuous dinner at her place. He severely hit her digestive system.The wrong medication then aggravated the problems. The uncrowned queen died for several weeks. Her body was taken home. The king did not even look at him. Carolina herself remained in the memory of the people as the most insulted of the royal daughters-in-law.

Although, of course, she was not the only one who suffered from the British royal family: Who were the women whom the English monarchs kept in captivity, and for what they were imprisoned.

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