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King George IV: A Re-appraisal, Part II

Among Victorian writers King George IV acquired an unenviable reputation; John Raymond re-interprets his personality.

The new princess of Wales was delivered of a daughter early in January, 1796. This was the signal for the final separation between the Prince and herself.

“It is very difficult,” Mr. Fulford has written, “to tell exactly what happened during their brief experience of married life, but it is almost certain that after the first night of marriage they never shared the same bed.”

The Prince’s total disrelish for his wife—for her coarseness, her foolishness, her posturing, her ugly attempts to charm her adopted nation, her complete lack of gêne—was an entirely spontaneous emotion, in no way related to his feelings for the ageing Lady Jersey—whom, in any case, he was already preparing to abandon.

Three months after the birth of Princess Charlotte, he left Carlton House for Windsor, having written Caroline a letter:


...Our inclinations are not in our power, nor should either of us be held answerable to the other because nature has not made us suitable to each other.

Tranquil and comfortable society is, however, in our power: let our intercourse therefore be restricted to that, and I will distinctly subscribe to the condition... that even in the event of any accident happening to my daughter (which I trust Providence in its mercy will defend) I shall not infringe the terms of the restriction by proposing, at any period, a connexion of a more particular nature.

I shall now finally close this disagreeable correspondence, trusting that, as we have completely explained ourselves to each other, the rest of our lives will be passed in uninterrupted tranquillity...

Meanwhile, the Prince cast about for public employment.

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