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Fitzherbert was waning, and he was even further in debt (£630,000 by 1795! He thus decided to start looking for a “legitimate” wife so that Parliament would increase his regular stipend from the Civil List and cover his debts. By eighteenth-century standards of behaviour she was too unpredictable, and had too little regard for etiquette. The convoy escorting Caroline across the Channel did not depart until early 1795 because of diplomatic delays and war on the Continent. Francis Austen on HM Sloop Lark [Southam 228].) At Prinny and Caroline’s first encounter on 5 April, he recoiled and gasped to Malmesbury, “I am not well. and the whole [scene] resembled a bad brothel much more than a palace.” (Smith 73) Nevertheless, Princess Charlotte of Wales was born on 7 January 1796, almost precisely nine months after the wedding.
Declaring that “any damn’d German frau would do” (qtd in Smith 71), he settled hastily—and perhaps with some malicious help from his new mistress, Lady Jersey—on Princess Caroline of Brunswick. playful, extrovert nature—which sometimes bordered on exhibitionism—made her an entertaining companion. Pray get me a glass of brandy” (qtd in Hibbert 194). For the next year, Prinny kept Caroline a virtual prisoner at Carlton House while he went his customary way.
Darcy’s income of £10,000 a year gives us some basis for comparison. Fitzherbert moved temporarily to Brighton, where he purchased a relatively modest house.
Of course, all thoughts of economy were cast aside early: the house eventually became the Royal Pavilion.
She and her husband collect British royal commemoratives. I do not know what to do about it;—but if I must give up the Princess, I am resolved at least always to think that she would have been respectable, if the Prince had behaved only tolerably by her at first.— But why should Jane Austen have “hated” George Augustus Frederick—Prince of Wales from his birth until 1811, Prince Regent from 1811 to 1820, and King George IV from 1820 to his death in 1830?
to her longtime friend and housemate, Martha Lloyd: I suppose all the World is sitting in Judgement upon the Princess of Wales’s Letter. An obvious reason was that “Prinny,” as many impudent subjects called him, was an easy figure to despise.
Furthermore, he was bound not only by the 1701 Act of Settlement but also by the 1772 Royal Marriages Act, which gave the Crown power over the marriages of all George II’s descendants until they turned twenty-five.
The distraught Prinny proceeded to combine sex and power into emotional blackmail: after drinking himself “into a series of stupors” (Levy 46), “swearing that he could not live without her, throwing himself upon his bed, and threatening to kill himself” (Hibbert 73), he actually did shed just enough blood to frighten Maria into consenting to marry him.
The honeymoon at Kempshott Park was no better than the wedding: After two days at Windsor they drove off to Kempshott where a party of the Prince’s male cronies gathered, with Lady Jersey the only female guest. But by 1806, the relationship was declining once more; Charles Fox died, and Prinny’s political allegiance began drifting over to the Tories; and, in response to allegations against Caroline (especially the rumor that a poor boy she had adopted was her biological child), the spectacularly misnamed “Delicate Investigation” took place. The critics of course fastened on the expense—Shelley remarked that it must have cost £120,000 of the people’s money [an overestimate, but his point remained valid] . (Smith 133-34) Princess Caroline was of course not invited to this event, and the final break with Mrs.
The silver medal commemorating George’s coronation shows an attractive portrait of this shy, serious young man. The real trouble began in 1784, however, when Prinny began pursuing the widowed Maria Fitzherbert.
He disregarded several inconvenient facts: she was a devout Catholic, and she refused to become his mistress.
To understand Prinny, we need to understand a few things about his father, King George III. The royal children were brought up in the same plain, sober, strict manner as the King and Queen adopted for themselves, and the King, though a concerned parent, proved no more perceptive than Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park is about his children: [T]he King . Prinny showed an early talent for abusing his power as heir to the throne by instigating a “nursery revolution” at age thirteen (Hibbert 25) against the Princes’ strict tutors and governors: the boys started treating them so contemptuously that the whole team had to be changed. [that] became public knowledge through the newspapers” (Smith 11).
Although monarchs and heirs in the House of Hanover all got along badly, this particular relationship was uniquely stressful. Unfortunately, the new ones proved no more effective than the old, and by his mid-teens Prinny was “launching into a world of dissipation . In 1779, Prinny got into his first major romantic entanglement, with actress Mary Robinson.