Full name: Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline
Born: 1st March 1683
Daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach.
Married: George II
Tenue: 11 June 1727 – 20 November 1737
Died: 20th November 1727, St James Palace
Burial: 17th December 1727, Westminster Abbey
Caroline of Ansbach was one of many Consorts that never expected the role to became hers.
Her early life was marred by death as her father died when she was very young of smallpox, which led to her mother remarrying. Sadly for Caroline, her mother died not long after and meant that she and her brother were orphaned. Luck was on their side as they were sent to stay with Sophia and Frederick who became the King of Prussia in 1701. This meant Caroline grew up in their Court. German Princesses were encouraged to have a well-rounded education, not just languages and literature but also the sciences. This gave Caroline a great knowledge for her future.
Marriage was essential for a royal princess, and Sophia’s nephew, George Augustus was considered. George’s grandmother, also called Sophia was being selected as the only suitable heir to the English throne. This meant that George Augustus would be an heir. George’s father who had endured a loveless marriage, wanted his sons to be lasting. Despite George’s lack of intelligence, Caroline was delighted, and the pair were wed in 1705. The couple proceeded to quickly produce four children, starting with the heir, Frederick in 1707.
When Queen Anne died in 1714, George I became King of England, much to his distress. George Augustus and Caroline joined him in moving to England, and they, unlike the King, assimilated to London life and ended up with a rival court to the King’s which was more popular. This led to difficult relations between father and son, which Caroline tried to mediate. In total, Caroline and George had eight children.
George I died in 1727 and George Augustus and Caroline ascended the throne. Caroline was a strong and involved Queen, being one of the first to show interest in gardening and landscapes. It is because of her, that the Serpentine was included in Hyde Park and her interest led to Kew and Kensington Gardens. Her legacy is still prevalent in London now, the Queen’s walk in Green Park was named after her.
Caroline and George’s reign was successful however, a major issue for the two of them was their relationship with their son and heir Frederick. He was a difficult man who wanted to make his own court to rival his parents (sound familiar?!) and isolated his wife and children from Caroline and George. Because of these issues, George named Caroline his regent, instead of George, for whenever he went back to Hanover. She was very successful at this and helped improved relations with Spain and Portugal.
Tragically for Caroline, her life ended sadly like it had started. After the birth of her youngest child, Caroline developed a hernia. Over time is grew and became antagonising. Medicine at this time was not fully aware of what a hernia was, but the royal doctors felt they could remove it easily. She had to endure a traumatic surgery which led to severely damaged bowel and only lived for a few more days. During these days she did reconnect with Frederick. George II was completely bereft and her death.
She was buried in Westminster Abbey, and George had a special coffin made that once he died, would mean his body could be alongside her.
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