Historical figure Carolina di Brunswick

Born in: 1768  - Died in: 1821
Carolina Amalia of Brunswick, was the wife of George IV of the United Kingdom from 1795, and her Queen consorted from January 20, 1820 to death.
Carolina was born as a princess of Brunswick, with the courtesy of the Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel on May 17, 1768 in Braunschweig (or even Brunswick) in Germany, daughter of Charles William, duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Augusta Federica of Great Britain , elder sister of George III.
In 1794 she was engaged to the eldest son of George III and his first cousin, George, Prince of Wales. They had never met in person; Giorgio agreed to marry her because she was heavily indebted, and if she had a marriage to a suitable princess, Parliament would have increased her allowances. Carolina seemed indeed fit: she was a royal-born Protestant, and the marriage would ally the Duchy of Brunswick and Britain. Although the Duchy of Brunswick was only a small country, Britain was at war with Revolutionary France and was eager to get allies on the continent. Carolina and George were married on April 8, 1795 in the Royal Chapel of St James's Palace in London.

She was applauded in public and won acclaim for her "winning familiarity" and calm, her open character. Giorgio was dismayed by the popularity of Carolina and his unpopularity and he felt trapped in a marriage without love with a woman he hated: he wanted a separation. In April 1796 Giorgio wrote to his wife a letter informing her that, since there could be no basis for happiness in their marriage, she asked her to find a solution that could be convenient for both. The result was that Lady Jersey resigned from the dependencies of Carolina and, from August 1797, the coppià began to live separate lives.

Carolina moved to a private residence: first at The Vicarage in Charlton, then at Montagu House, the home of the Count of Sandwich, in Blackheath. No longer tied to her husband, or according to the voices, from her wedding vows, she entertained those who seemed to her and liked them. He flirted with Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith and Captain Thomas Manby, and probably also had a love affair with politician George Canning.

His daughter Carlotta was entrusted to the care of a housekeeper in a house near Montagu House and Carolina often visited her. It seems that a single daughter was not enough to satisfy Carolina's maternal instinct, so she adopted eight or nine poor children, who were entrusted to people in the district. In 1802, he adopted a three-month-old boy, William Austin, and took him to his home. In 1805 Caroline had quarreled with her neighbors, Sir John and Lady Douglas, who claimed that Carolina had sent them obscene and asserting letters. Lady Caroline Douglas also accused Carolina of infidelity, claiming that William Austin was an illegitimate son of Caroline herself.

He also claimed that Carolina had been rude to the royal family, talking about it in a despicable sexual way, and had claimed that any woman who behaved in a friendly way with a man was surely destined to become her lover. [22] Among the names of potential lovers of Carolina, also emerged that of the painter Thomas Lawrence. The servants of the princess, called to testify, did not confirm the truth of the accusations, but reported that Austin was brought to Carolina's residence by his real mother, Sophia Austin and the latter confirmed that she was the true mother of the child.

The meetings with her daughter Carlotta were essentially reduced to one a week, as long as the widow duchess of Brunswick, mother of Carolina, was always present in the room. From the end of 1811 the conditions of George III worsened further and the Prince of Wales was proclaimed regent of the kingdom. He did not lose the opportunity to reduce Carlotta's already unwanted visits to his mother and Carolina was even more isolated from the London society, which chose to participate in the extravagant parties of her husband, rather than hers.

The princess moved to Connaught House, in the London borough of Bayswater, from where, with the help of the liberal politician Henry Brougham, a smear campaign against George began. The prince responded by resuming and spreading allegations that Carolina was the real mother of William Austin. English public opinion (like daughter Carlotta), sided openly with Carolina. In this regard, Jane Austen wrote, referring to the Princess of Wales: "Poor woman, I will endure her as long as I can. Above all because she is a woman, and then because I hate her husband. "

In 1814, after the definitive defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, the European nobility met in London for a period of dances and festivities. Needless to say, Carolina was totally excluded from the celebrations. Meanwhile, even the relationship between George and his daughter got worse, since she opposed the draconian restrictive measures that the father imposed on her. On July 12th she was informed that from that moment on she would be confined to Cranbourne Lodge, near Windsor, where she could not receive visitors, apart from her grandmother, Queen Carlotta, once a week. Horrified, Carlotta took refuge at her mother's home in Bayswater.

After a sleepless night, the princess was persuaded by Brougham to accept the imposition of her father, given that he remained his legal guardian and that, if he continued to disobey him, his situation could also have worsened. After this last humiliation, Carolina decided to put an end to her stay on English soil. He negotiated with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lord Castlereagh, an agreement according to which he would leave the country in exchange for an annual loan of £ 35,000. Both daughter Carlotta and Henry Brougham were astonished at the choice of Carolina, well aware that her absence would increase George's power over them. On August 8, 1814, Carolina left England.

After a two-week visit to Brunswick, Carolina arrived in Italy via Switzerland. Along the way, probably in Milan, the princess took a certain Bartolomeo Pergami as a valet. In a short time, this Italian became the head of the servant who accompanied Carolina and, thanks to her influence, the princess promoted her sister, Angelica Countess d'Oldi, as her first lady of companionship. Towards the middle of 1815 Carolina bought Villa d'Este, a residence on the shores of Lake Como, despite its finances were not very prosperous.

At the beginning of 1816 Carolina and her valet embarked on a Mediterranean cruise, visiting Napoleon's palace on Elba Island and Sicily, where Pergami obtained the title of Knight of the Order of Malta and a barony. From that moment he and the princess began to have lunch and dinner together and the rumors that they were lovers spread. They also visited Tunis, Malta, the island of Milos, Athens, Corinth, Istanbul and Nazareth. Carolina entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and at the head of a caravan of camels. Pergami was also named knight of the Order of Jerusalem.

In August they returned to Cernobbio, not without first stopping in Rome to pay homage to the Pope. After that trip gossip about Carolina spread. Lord Byron wrote to his publisher that he was certain that the princess and Pergami were lovers, and Baron Friederich Ompteda, a spy of the ruling prince, bribed a maid of Carolina to let him enter her mistress's bedroom for evidence of adultery, which but they were not found.

In August 1817 Carolina's debts were increasing, so he sold villa d'Este and moved to the more modest Villa Caprile, near Pesaro. The whole family of Pergami, apart from his wife, soon reached her. The year before Princess Charlotte, the only daughter of Carolina and George, had married the German prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and the future of the English royal house seemed assured. But in November 1817 Carlotta died in childbirth, giving birth to a dead-born male.

The princess had always been very popular and her death shocked the British. George IV refused to write to Carolina to inform her of the tragic death of her daughter, leaving the thankless task to her son-in-law Leopoldo, who, prostrated by grief, never sent the letter. Nevertheless, the prince regent wrote to the pope about the tragedy and it was only because the courier passed from Pesaro, that Carolina learned the devastating news. He had lost his only daughter, and with it also the possibility of regaining prestige following the succession of Carlotta on the English throne.

George was more determined than ever to pursue divorce practices from the detested wife and formed a commission chaired by Judge John Leach, proving that Carolina was guilty of adultery. Leach sent three members to Milan to interrogate the princess's former servants and maids. In London, Henry Brougham still acted as an agent of Carolina and, worried that the Milanese commission might have hurt her, sent his brother James to Pesaro near the princess, hoping to find out if the accusations of the regent were founded.

Meanwhile, the Milan commission was gathering more and more evidence and, at the beginning of 1819, Carolina began to worry seriously. He informed James Brougham that, in exchange for money, he would consent to a divorce. However, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the English laws did not provide for divorce from mutual consent: the spouses could definitively separate only if one of them had admitted to being, or had been recognized, guilty of adultery. Carolina said it was impossible to recognize this guilt, so Brougham brothers warned her that only formal separation would be possible.

Both the Brougham and the government were willing to give the issue as little emphasis as possible and came to a compromise whereby Carolina would have, from that day, taken on the less demanding title of Duchess of Cornwall instead of that of Princess of Wales. While the negotiations continued, towards the end of 1819, Carolina traveled to France and this raised speculations about a possible return to England. However, with the approach of the new year, Carolina was ready to return to Italy when, on January 29, 1820, King George III died. Her husband became king and she, even if only nominally, queen of the United Kingdom.

Paradoxically, the successful succession of her husband to the English throne did not improve the situation of Carolina. During a visit to Rome, the pope refused to grant her an audience and the papal secretary of state, cardinal Ercole Consalvi, insisted that he should turn to her as a duchess of Brunswick and not as a queen. In an attempt to assert his rights, he began to organize his return to England. The king demanded that his ministers get rid of the threat that Carolina represented and persuaded them to remove the queen's name from the liturgy of the Anglican Church.

But the government, in view of the unpopularity from which it was surrounded, refused to grant the divorce to the sovereign, in fear of the effects of a public trial of the queen. In order to avoid any risk of revolts, the ministers preferred to open negotiations with Carolina and offered it an annual increase of £ 50,000, provided it remained abroad. At the beginning of June, Carolina had left northern Italy and in a short time had already reached Calais. Following the advice of the alumnus Wood and Lady Anne Hamilton, he refused the offer of the British government.

He said goodbye to Pergami and embarked for England. When he disembarked, on June 5, 1820, riots broke out in support of him; In fact, Carolina had become the symbol of the growing radical party, which called for strong political reforms and opposed the unpopular George. Despite this, Giorgio continued incessantly to seek a divorce and, the following day, presented to the Parliament the evidence of the Milan commission closed in two green exchanges. On June 15, the guards of the royal stables at Buckingham Palace mutinied.

The small revolt was contained, but the government was seriously worried that more serious series would arise in support of the queen. While the parliament continued to debate how to solve the thorny issue, the government, under the urging of the sovereign, approved on 5 July 1820 a law called Pains and Penalties Bill. This provision provided for the imminent opening of a trial to deprive Carolina of her queen's titles and to annul her marriage. The trial, which opened shortly thereafter, became famous in England as The trial of Queen Caroline.

The main charge was that Carolina had committed adultery with Bartolomeo Pergami. Numerous witnesses, including Carolina's Italian servants, were heard in what was actually a public trial of the queen. The accusers claimed that the two had slept in the same room and had been seen exchanging effusions and walking undressed for her villa. The trial remained confined to the House of Lords and continued until the end of the year. Carolina joked with her supporters, claiming that, indeed, she had once committed adultery, but with Mrs. Fitzhebert's husband, the king.

The outcome of the trial was that the queen was considered guilty, but fearing that the possible passage to the House of Commons (notoriously adverse to George IV) defined the defeat of the Pains and Penalties Bill, the government decided to cancel the sentence. Carolina considered it a victory, but when the trial ended, his alliance with the radicals also ended. The government extended again to the queen the proposal to increase her annual income of 50,000 pounds, provided that the queen accepted without laying conditions. This time Carolina accepted. Despite the innumerable attempts of the king, Carolina remained very popular among the masses and this gave her the impetus to pursue in her plan to participate personally in the coronation of George IV (scheduled for July 19, 1821) as a queen.

Lord Liverpool warned Carolina not to show up at the ceremony, but she did not listen to him and made up his mind and the morning of the day set up for the coronation showed up in front of the main entrance of Westminster Abbey. Giorgio ordered them to literally close the church doors. The Queen did not lose heart and reached Westminster Hall (a hall that was part of the old medieval London parliament, connected to the abbey and the place of solemn dinners that followed the coronation of every English monarch), where many aristocrats had gathered in waiting for the function to start. To greet her, however, she met a group of armed guards who aimed their bayonets at her chin, while she stared at them with a furious look. The military ordered her to leave, but Carolina did not move, determined to enter the church. All this ended with the intervention of the Lord Chamberlain, who also closed the doors of Westminster Hall, leaving the queen of course outside.

After this whammy, Carolina took the so-called Poet's Corner, an entrance close to the southern transept of the abbey, asking that access be allowed. To meet them was Sir Robert Inglis, Colonel of the royal cuirassiers. Inglis managed to persuade the queen to return to her carriage and Carolina, perhaps tired of receiving constant humiliation, picked up the suggestion and left Westminster. He lost many supporters thanks to the "scene" he made at the coronation: the crowd whistled and mocked her as the carriage pulled away, and Brougham himself expressed his disappointment at the unspeakable behavior of Carolina.

On the night of July 19-20, 1821, exactly a few hours away from her coronation, Carolina felt sick. He took large quantities of milk of magnesia and some drops of laudanum. In the next three weeks the pains increased and his condition worsened considerably. Realizing he was close to death, he decided to settle his business. His papers, letters, memoirs, and notebooks were burned. He wrote a new testament and prepared the details of his future funeral: he would be buried in Brunswick, in a tomb that had written on the tombstone "Here lies Carolina, the injured queen of England."

He died at Branbenburg House, at 10.25pm ​​on 7 August 1821, at the age of 53. His doctors diagnosed intestinal obstruction as a cause of death, but he is more likely to have cancer. Numerous rumors circulating at the time said that Carolina had been poisoned by agents of George IV, to prevent the queen from creating further problems for the sovereign. In support of the latter hypothesis, the fact remains that the queen, while lying in bed during the months of agony, was closely watched by Judge Stephen Lushington, who reported everything to Prime Minister Lord Liverpool, notoriously loyal to the king.

The reason for this presence at the deathbed of Carolina remains a mystery and the documents of the time are discordant in this regard. Even today, the exact cause of Brunwick's death is unknown. Fearing that a public funeral procession through the streets of London could launch the spark for further demonstrations against the ruler, the government and prime minister, Lord Liverpool, decided that the parade would avoid the city center and reach Harwich by going north of the capital .

Carolina supporters, who obviously accompanied the funeral procession, exasperated by government decisions, erected barricades in order to force the procession to pass through central London. The situation degenerated in a short time, sinking into chaos. The guards, who had to escort the coffin to the sea, opened fire and charged the crowd with their swords unsheathed. This, in response, began to throw pebbles and bricks against the soldiers, exacerbating the spirits even more. The result was that two members of the parade were killed and many were wounded.

In the end, to avoid further uprisings, the head of the metropolitan police, Sir Robert Baker, authorized the crossing of the center of London of the procession with the mortal remains of the queen. As a result, Baker was removed from office a few days later. Under a pouring rain, Carolina's coffin passed through the central streets of the English capital, eventually reaching Harwich, where it was embarked. The coffin reached Brunswick on August 24 and Carolina was buried in the city's cathedral the following day.

Carolina di Brunswick Visited places

Villa d'Este

 Via Regina, 40 - 22012 Cernobbio - Como
Palace/Villa, Wedding/Convention/Concert location

Villa d'Este, originally Villa del Garovo, is a Renaissance patrician residence located right on the shores of Lake Como in the municipality of Cernobbio in the middle of 10 hectares of well-kept... see

Offered services

Golf, Hotel, Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Park / Labyrinth / Pond / Garden, Restaurant, Wellness Center / SPA

Time period

Italy, Como