Monday, August 12, 2013

The Unruly Queen (1996)

The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline. Flora Fraser. 1996/2009. Anchor Books. 560 pages. [Source: Library]

George IV married Caroline because his father (and/or parliament) agreed to pay off his debts if he got married. This marriage was a complete disaster. Not only was it a loveless marriage, it was extremely bitter! He HATED his wife. And I believe she hated him as well. Half the biography focuses on the bickering and the back-and-forth correspondence between her legal advisers, his legal advisers, and King George III. The situation was complex because George III and George IV (he was Prince of Wales, but it's easier for me to just call him George IV) did not get along at all. They fought continuously. Their relationship was extremely strained. There were times when George III sided with "the injured Princess" Caroline instead of with his son. His wife was at various times popular with the people as well. George IV, well, he wasn't very well-liked. He had a habit of spending lots of money and wanting parliament to pay all the bills. He also had more than a few mistresses. Some of these mistresses were in favor with society--were popular enough, I suppose--others were NOT. He was never faithful to Caroline; he never even pretended to like her or love her. He made it clear that he hated to be even in the same room with her. For better or worse, the two did have one child together. (Princess Charlotte was conceived within the first month of marriage.) Princess Charlotte was more popular than her mother and father.

The biography is very detailed. It details correspondence and records. It follows Caroline's movements from her marriage to George through her death--just three weeks after her husband's coronation. She was banned from attending. For Caroline was not always on good terms with her in-laws. Sometimes she enjoyed the favor of George III and his wife. Other times, her treatment was barely civil. There were definitely times she embarrassed the family and they disapproved of her.

The Unruly Queen was an interesting read.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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