So I thought to myself that if I were going to blog about this ring, I should probably find out why Caroline of Brunswick was interesting and why our friends should be so impressed at dinner. After I started doing research, I have to tell you, you should buy this ring and show it off at a dinner full of the cool kids. After you tell them this story, you’ll be one of the cool kids too.
To be a cool kid, you need to know the hot topic of the group. As we all know, one of the hottest topics in our Cool Kid/Antique Jewelry Lovers Club is Lover’s Eyes. As it turns out, this ring has a connection to all the Lover’s Eyes we all want right now.
Yes, George IV was the same King that secretly married Maria Fitzherbert after proposing with a portrait miniature of his own eye. (Read that story here.) That particular marriage was never legally binding since he didn’t have his father’s permission to marry. Now this was not like a man asking a father’s permission to marry a daughter. In 1771, a law was enacted called The Royal Marriages Act to prevent the Royal Family from marrying anyone deemed “unsuitable.” Just like today, our siblings have to spoil all our fun. As it turns out, George’s brother had already married a commoner, Anne Horton, in 1771. His parents were furious. Since his parents were the King and Queen of England, they had a leg to stand on. Instead of grounding him, they enacted a law! Then George wanted to marry Maria, and well… you know the rest.
It was really interesting to read all the gossipy, little secrets. The whole thing was sort of like a novel. Evidently, Caroline and George didn’t care for each other. He objected to her personal hygiene and she thought he was just too fat as soon as they met! Once they were married, life didn’t improve. George carried on with his mistresses (yes, he had more than one despite his love for Maria) and Caroline moved into her summer home full time, resulting in a separation. I even read an account of George giving one of Caroline’s bracelets to a mistress who showed up at court wearing it! Oh, the scandal.
Now here’s my take: I know it’s all lies because of the nature of the rumors. Supposedly, Prinny couldn’t stand to be around her because she was said to have never bathed and not changed her undergarments. He is said to have gone across the room from her the first time they met, having been driven away by her body odor, comforting himself with brandy until the morning of their wedding. Yet, one of the charges against her was that she and Bergami would bathe together. So which is it? Prinny said she never bathed!
In January of 1820, King George III died and Prinny became King. Evidently, the English government offered Caroline 50,000 pounds to stay in Europe. She did not. She came back to England to accept her crown.
George IV’s coronation took place on April 29th, 1821. Caroline arrived at the abbey demanding to be admitted but was denied. The doors were supposedly slammed in her face. She then went home and sent a letter to the King asking for her coronation to take place “next Monday.”
She died 19 days after having the abbey doors shut tight against her, never having accepted her crown. On her tombstone in Brunswick, legend has it, a plaque was placed proclaiming her “Caroline the Injured Queen of England.”
In memory of Caroline on Brunswick
Injured Queen of England,
Born 17 May 1768
Died 7 Aug 1821