- Imprint: Pen & Sword History
- Pages: 203
- ISBN: 9781473872516
- Published: 19th November 2018
In 1820 crowds and reformers clamoured in the streets demanding that Queen Caroline, the popular wife of the unpopular George IV’s, be granted her rights. The unfaithful husband wished to divorce her on grounds of infidelity, but she was determined to be queen.
The events that followed were farcical, as the royal family’s dirty linen was put on full display and many thought the ongoing crisis might lead to a constitutional disaster. Petitioners, espousing the cause of the queen barred the Duke of Wellington’s way while he was out riding. They demanded he give a cheer for the queen.
The private lives of the monarchs were no secret, everyone knew what the King and Queen had been up to, as if it had been a weekly soap opera. The Duke raised his hat and obliged, but added ‘May all your wives be like her’ as he rode on.
You honestly cannot invent more high profile scandal than what is contained in the history of the Georgian monarchy. The court itself was hardly a place of refined pageantry, it was a place of passions and intrigues, both petty and great. The court was a scandal.
This book is a slim, good quality hardback with a single image section filled with black and white portraits of the major players, captioned with simple identifying tags. There is an index, a bibliography and a notes section.
Not as dramatic or romantic as the Stuart’s, nor as institutional as the Saxe Coburgs the House of Hanover represent an ideal of monarchy that is both recognisably opulent and scandalous.
The appeal of any monarchy revolves around the daily life of its court. The rich and powerful have a reputation for excess and insanity that is more than borne out by this book.
You can have no better tour guide to the subject. Catherine Curzon’s sense of humour and eye for detail is eminently suited to opening a window of the court of the house of Hanover and peeking in.
(She is something of a whiz at the ins and outs of the Georgian Royalty you know) We of the online court know her better as the great brain behind the Madame Gilfurt blog and an all round good egg.
Her descriptions of important members of the royal family, their attendants, friends and retainers and the associated goings on offer a glittering, extravagant contrast to the typical Austin view of the Georgian and regency eras.
In this book she delivers on her promise to get to the bottom … I mean lift the petticoats … I mean tailcoats … untangle … She investigates allot of the most famous scandals associated with the various George’s and their queen’s.
Dangerous husbands, philanderers, and that surprising instance of the King’s son, the Duke of York (who went right up to the top of the hill and back down again), CinC of the army getting into hot water over his mistress and the dodgy sale of army commissions.
So have some snuff and a reviving gulp of brandy handy as the author takes those naughty caricatures from Gillray and Rowlandson and tells the story’s behind them. By the end you will wonder how any of the royal family managed to keep a shred of reputation.