Trashy Royals podcast

52. Caroline of Brunswick, featuring Sam from I'm Horrified!

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We touched on England's King George IV in our episode about Queen Victoria's Trashy Hanoverian Uncles (episode 17), but there's so much more to the story of his misspent youth and his cataclysmic marriage to Princess Caroline of Brunswick. To help out, we asked our friend Sam from the podcast I'm Horrified!, who recently delivered this banger of a story over there. The daughter of King George III's eldest sister, Caroline was raised in the German duchy of Braunschweig, or Brunswick in English. Her family situation was fraught; while her parents remained married throughout their lives, her father's undisguised and longstanding mistress made for difficult family dynamics, where a kind interaction with one parent led to rebuke and allegations of disloyalty from the other. Upon meeting her soon-to-be new husband, Crown Prince George of England, the antipathy was mutual. Not only was George already illegally married, he also openly brought his mistress (to be clear, these are two separate women) to their introductory dinner. That would set the stage for the rest of Caroline's life. They managed to have one child, Princess Charlotte, but quickly agreed to live separate lives at separate residences due to their mutual disdain. George seems to have spent a good amount of time trying to dirty his estranged wife's reputation, but she was quite popular with the public, especially balanced against his poor reputation as a drunkard and wastrel. Propaganda campaigns were waged against one another in the press and in Parliament, and as King George III's health deteriorated and Crown Prince George's power grew, Caroline left the country. Her travels across Europe and the Holy Lands with a handsome Italian servant set tongues wagging everywhere, but when George III died in January 1820, Caroline realized that she had to return to England if she had any hope of blunting her husband's power - he was king now, and she was queen - and asserting any of her own. But it didn't go that way; George's mission with his new throne was to exclude his wife from everything and try to formally strip of her titles. Because of his own rampant infidelity, divorce was out of the question, but perhaps poisoning wasn't? Thanks so much to Sam for sharing this banger of a story. Listen to new episodes of I'm Horrified! every Tuesday! Listen ad-free at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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