Questions From Royal Bloggers:
Who do you think is the most scandalous modern British royal? – Cinderella of royalty.nu
MF: Well, since Fergie’s no longer officially royal, that’s hard to say. Actually, none of the modern royals can (please pardon the pun) hold a scandal to their forbears. Murder, madness, illicit sex, and vicious scheming have been replaced by silly missteps and the occasional tempests in a teapot. Perhaps this has something to do with the power wielded by the royals. When it was nearly unlimited, their scandals reflected that. These days, with very limited power, royal misdeeds are relatively petty.
What is your favorite royal scandal and why? – Marilyn Braun of Marilyn’s Royal Blog
MF: There are oh so many to chose from, Marilyn, it’s really hard to say. I guess I got the greatest kick out of the truly wretched marriage of the future King George IV and his cousin Caroline of Brunswick. He was an indolent fop who drank way too much and amassed staggering debts. She was a foul-smelling exhibitionist who lacked all decorum and self control. George despised Caroline from the moment he met her. He passed out in a fireplace on their wedding night, but managed to consummate the relationship the next morning. It wasn’t easy. “It required no small [effort] to conquer my aversion and overcome the disgust of her person,” he wrote. After Caroline produced the heir to the throne, Princess Charlotte, George left her bed for good. Caroline eventually went away to Europe, where she made quite a spectacle of herself–as a stripper, essentially. At a ball in Naples, for example, she appeared, as one reported, “in the most indelicate manner, her breast and her arms being entirely naked.”
She also carried on a flagrant affair with her chamberlain, Bartolomeo Pergami. Caroline had no intention of returning to England, but then her father-in-law George III died and her estranged husband became King George IV. The wayward Princess of Wales now intended to claim her rights as queen. It was a mortifying prospect for the new king, especially because the people were firmly behind his despised wife–more out of hatred for him than any real affection for her. A bill was introduced in Parliament to deprive Caroline of her rights as queen and as George’s wife, but it went nowhere. Nevertheless, George IV was still determined to exclude Queen Caroline. When she arrived at Westminster Abbey for his coronation, the doors were slammed in her face. Several weeks later she was dead, perhaps of stomach cancer, though some have suggested poison. The inscription on her coffin, which she wrote herself, read: DEPOSITED, CAROLINE OF BRUNSWICK, THE INJURED QUEEN OF ENGLAND.
Have you heard any of the hints that Prince Albert took Queen Victoria away from England, on various visits to Scotland and other places for a time—because she had had a nervous breakdown? – Susan Flanders of Writer of Queens
MF: No, Susan, I have not heard that. I write extensively in the new book about Victoria and Albert’s earliest retreat, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight. They sought this refuge not only to get away from the stifling court life of London and Windsor, but, really as a place of their very own–where Albert could be the master. He created and controlled virtually every aspect of this “dear and lovely little domaine,” as the queen called it. She was content just to watch him work: “Never do I enjoy myself more or more peacefully than when I can be so much with my beloved Albert–follow him everywhere.”