In consequence of his recent extravagances, moreover, George soon found his financial resources strained to such an extent that it was imperative that something should be done immediately to relieve the tension. The King would help only upon condition that his son should declare himself willing to marry a Protestant princess from Germany. Desperate ailments call for desperate remedies; the Prince wavered, and, while he was wavering, temptation spoke to him through the mouth of a self-seeking, fascinating woman.
Needless to say, there was the inevitable woman in the case. In her dealings with George, however, Lady Jersey does not appear in a very favourable light; she undertook the task of sapping Mrs. Fitzherbert's influence and of marrying George to a German princess solely in order that thereby she might win favour from the King. Her self-imposed task was one which was not difficult to perform, for already Mrs. Fitzherbert's power was on the wane, and the Prince, being but a man, was quite unable to resist the wiles of a clever woman bent on captivating him.
Among the many unmarried Protestant princesses in Germany, two were especially eligible - Princess Louise of Mecklenburg-strelitz and Princess Caroline of Brunswick. The former was refined, beautiful, and clever, and subsequently became famous as Queen Louise of Prussia. The latter, however, had been but sparingly endowed by Nature, but she was the woman whom Lady Jersey decided to create Princess of Wales, for that George should fall in love with his wife was, to her ladyship, an altogether undesirable possibility. George, however, agreed readily to the proposal; one German frau, he declared, was as good as another, and, in August, 1794, he informed his father that he was willing to marry the Princess Caroline.
To Mrs. Fitzherbert the news came as a stunning blow; it was the realisation of her worst fears - incredible, awful. Moreover, that George would desert her and marry again was a possibility which she had never really anticipated. But Mrs. Fitzherbert
The first meeting between the "lovers" was not a happy augury for the future. Lord Malmesbury, who introduced the Princess to her fiance, has himself described the scene. "The Prince," he says, "raised her gracefully enough and embraced her, said barely one word, turned round, retired to a distant part of the apartment, and, calling to me, said: "Harris, I am not well; pray get me a glass of brandy.' I said: "Sir, had you not better have a glass of water?' Upon which he, much out of humour, said, with an oath: ' No, I will go directly to the Queen.' And away he went."
At the wedding his behaviour was even more pitiable, and it has been said that he looked "more like a victim going to the scaffold than a bridegroom to the altar." Moreover, while driving from Carlton House to the Chapel Royal, he said to Lord Moira, who was sitting opposite to him: " It is no use, Moira; I shall never love any woman but Fitzherbert."
The marriage ceremony was performed on April 8, 1795. On January 7, 1796, was born the Princess Charlotte, the child the nation learned to love, but whom the Prince treated with cruelty such as cannot be excused, and in April, 1796, one year after his marriage, the Prince sent word to Princess Caroline to say that he could live with her no longer. The Princess received the news with equanimity; a few weeks after the birth of her daughter she declared: " I receive a message through
Lord Cholmondeley to tell dm I never was to have de great honour of inhabiting de same room wid my husband again 1 said, ' Very well,' but as my memory was very short, I begged to have dis polite message in writing from him. I had it, . free."
Caroline of Brunswick, the unhappy German Princess who was married to George IV. in order that she might share his throne. The King, however, treated her cruelly and she died an uncrowned queen From a painting by Sir T. Lawreme, in South Kensington Museum
Until 1806 the unhappy woman was allowed to live at Blackheath in peace a unmolested. But then, since her behaviour. had given wing to gossip, "a delicate investigation " was ordered. The Princess defended herself vigorously, and, to the delight of the nation, was acquitted on a 11 charges save that of " indiscretion."
In 1 8 1 4, she we nt abroad, but s o eccentric was her conduct, especi ally at the time during which she was residing at the Villa d ' E s t e, on Lake Como, that a commission was sent to Milan to collect evidence. In 1820, moreover, when he came to the t h r o n e George IV. imposed a further i n -dignity upon her by ordering her name to be omitted from the Liturgy. Such malicious treatment even the Queen could not tolerate. She returned, therefore, to England to defend her rights, and here found herself face to face with the ordeal of a trial. The Bill of 1 and
Penalties, however, was passed by so small a majority in the House of Lords that L< Liverpool, the Prime Minister, decided to abandon the proceeding
In 1821, King George IV. was crowned. Arrangements had been made for the mony to be conducted in state and with unprecedented splendour. Queen Caroline foolishly claimed for herself the privi-lege of being crowned also. This George would not sanction: the consort, he said,