Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Ansbach was born in 1683. When she was orphaned at the age of 13, she went to live with her godmother, the Electress Sophia Charlotte, in Berlin.
As a child, Caroline is described as intelligent, pretty and chubby with blue eyes and blonde hair. At the age of 22 she was married to George Augustus of Brunswick-Luneberg. She bore nine children, of whom seven survived. George Augustus was not an easy man to live with. He had uncontrollable rages and resented his wife’s intelligence. He did, however, deeply love her, even to the point where he shared the intimate details of his extra-marital affairs with her.
In 1714, George Augustus’s father, George Louis, became King of England. Because Sophia Dorothea, the king’s divorced wife, was imprisoned, Caroline became Princess of Wales and the first lady of the land. She put her intelligence, charm and diplomacy to good use in acting as a mediator between her husband and his father, who conducted a bitter feud throughout most of their lives.
When George I died in 1727, Caroline was crowned Queen of England. Her friend and confidant was Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister. Together they were responsible for shaping British policy and expanding colonial influence. Caroline supported the arts and improved various royal residences.
King George II had a favourite mistress named Henrietta Howard, who was one of Queen Caroline’s ladies-in-waiting. This relationship never caused Caroline any problems, however, as Mrs Howard was an unobtrusive royal mistress who remained subservient to the queen.
Caroline died at the age of 54 after doctors performed a bungled operation during which they did not use anaesthetic. Her husband lived for another 23 years and they were buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.