George IV. A.D. 1820—1830.
George IV. was not much under sixty years old when he came to the throne, and had really been king in all but the name for eight years past. He had been married to the Princess Caroline of Brunswick, much against his will, for she was, though a princess, far from being a lady in any of her ways, and he disliked her from the first moment he saw her; and though he could not quite treat her as Henry VIII. had treated Anne of Cleves, the two were so unhappy together that, after the first year, they never lived in the same house. They had had one child, a daughter, named Charlotte—a good, bright, sensible high-spirited girl—on whom all the hopes of the country were fixed; but as she grew up, there were many troubles between her love and her duty towards her father and mother. As soon as the peace was made, the Princess of Wales went to Italy and lived there, with a great many people of bad characters about her. Princess Charlotte was married to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, and was very happy with him; but, to the great grief of all England, she died in the bloom of her youth, the year before her grandfather.
George IV., though he was much alone in the world, prepared to have a most splendid coronation; but as soon as his wife heard that he was king, she set off to come to England and be crowned with him. He was exceedingly angry, forbade her name to be put into the Prayer-book as queen, and called on the House of Lords to break his marriage with one who had proved herself not worthy to be a wife. There was a great uproar about it, for though the king’s friends wanted him to be rid of her, all the country knew that he had been no better to her than she had been to him, and felt it unfair that the weaker one should have all the shame and disgrace, and the stronger one none. One of Caroline’s defenders said that if her name were left out of the Litany, yet still she was prayed for there as one who was desolate and oppressed. People took up her cause much more hotly than deserved, and the king was obliged to give up the enquiry into her behavior, but still he would not let her be crowned. In the midst of all the splendor and solemnity in Westminster Abbey, a carriage was driven to the door and entrance was demanded for the queen; but she was kept back, and the people did not seem disposed to interrupt the show by doing anything in her favor, as she and her friends had expected. She went back to her rooms, and, after being more foolish than ever in her ways, died of fretting and pining. It is a sad history, where both were much to blame; and it shows how hateful to the king she must have been, that, when Napoleon died he was told his greatest enemy was dead, and he answered, “When did she die?” But if he had been a good man himself, and not selfish, he would have borne with the poor, ill brought up, giddy girl, when first she came, and that would have prevented her going so far astray.