Charlotte’s Family: Caroline of Brunswick



Caroline Amelia Elizabeth (17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821), daughter of Charles William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and his wife Princess Augusta of the United Kingdom; Princess of Brunswick (1768 – 1821), Princess of Wales (1796 – 1820), Queen Consort of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1820 – 1830) and of Hanover (1820 – 1830), Charlotte’s mother

‘Caroline was the Prince of Wales’s [original spelling] first cousin; there was insanity in her family, and she at times behaved in a wild, freakish way which was disturbing. Forbidden, at sixteen, to go to a ball, she pretended, convincingly, to be in the throes of pregnancy; but on the arrival of the accoucheur, Caroline sprang out of bed, wiped the deathly make – up from her face, and screamed with laughter. “Now, Madam”, she demanded of her mother, ‘will you keep me another time from a ball?’ She behaved like a spoilt child, but she was not loved, and somehow she was not loveable. She was obsessed with sex, and had to be closely watched: both her parents were baffled by her behaviour. It seems odd that these facts about her character were not investigated, and that there was never any thought of looking into her medical history, before she was invited to become the Prince’s wife, and the mother of a future monarch. The King’s word was enough: she was his niece, and would learn to be docile, with such an example before her as her mother-in-law. Queen Charlotte said little: she had never liked the Princess Augusta, Carolines mother; moreover she had heard disturbing rumours about the young princess. But she kept them to herself, refusing to interfere. It was not an auspicious beginning.’

An extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter. A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales by Thea Holme

Engraving: Caroline in 1795, shortly before her marriage to the future George IV

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