The Trial of Queen Caroline

The Trial of Queen Caroline

The Scandalous Affair That Nearly Ended A Monarchy

Book - 2006
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Before Charles and Diana, before the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and long before the slogan "the personal is political," an astonishing British royal sex scandal threatened to trigger a revolution. Its lessons for leadership, popularity, and the impact of the absurd on history are fascinating.

In The Trial of Queen Caroline , Jane Robins tells the story of one of history's least happy marriages. The future George IV could not be bothered to meet Caroline, Princess of Brunswick, a woman "with indelicate manners...and not very inviting appearance," before she arrived for the wedding. He was immediately disgusted by her. He far preferred one of his mistresses, whom he had secretly married in a Catholic ceremony, knowing that the British state would not recognize the marriage if it ever came to light.

In 1797, just three years after George and Caroline wed, the couple separated. George wrote to her that "our inclinations are not in our power, nor should either of us be held answerable to the other. "As Robins relates, Caroline took him at his word and proceeded to live exactly as she pleased, departing for Europe and a life of scandalous associations and debauched parties. Rumors of Caroline's lifestyle soon reached George, still Prince of Wales, who determined that she would never become Queen. To the shock of the nation, he demanded that the popular Caroline face a trial for adultery. The potential consequences included a death sentence at worst, and certain divorce and disgrace. The voice of the popular press, raised in anger for the first time in Britain, roared in disapproval. Riots spread in the countryside. The mother of a single, deceased child, Caroline became the public's favorite martyr.

Jane Robins combines prodigious archival research with a sharp eye for telling detail. She shows how the rise of the partisan press helped magnify the story, until, at its peak, Caroline's trial became the story of a bad marriage that brought England to the very brink of revolution.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, c2006.
ISBN: 9780743255905
Call Number: 921 CAROLINE
Characteristics: x, 370 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm
Subjects: Caroline, Queen, consort of George IV, King of Great Britain, 1768-1821 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Queens -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Scandals -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Trials (Adultery) -- Great Britain.
Alternative Title: Trial of Queen Caroline


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Feb 24, 2015

A now little-know episode in British history that actually had major consequences for English political and public life reaching into today. It changed the whole way Brit's regard the Press and was the first time the British press really got their teeth into a story that the "Nobles" wanted hushed up as well as the illegal means the King tried to use to get rid of a wife he did not like.

A really good, and quite a shocking read. The scandal was much bigger than Princess Dianna ever was.

Jul 07, 2008

This is a fascinating book, up to a point. I found myself bogged down in all the details of who did what to whom and when. It's an interesting look at the morals of the nobility in Britain in the early 1800's. The king could have as many affairs as he wanted; he had a secret wife, and a mistress was the queen's lady-in-waiting. However if the queen had an adulterous affair she could be put to death - if it occurred in Britain. It was sort of okay if it happened in Europe!

When Caroline married George IV she was an exuberant young woman who spoke up, often tactlessly, and flirted outrageously, at a time when ladies and especially the queen, were supposed to blend quietly into the background. The common people loved her partly because she was so put down by the nobility.

I skimmed quickly through the last half of the book to find out how the trial went and what happened to Caroline. All the minute details were just too much.


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