Author Topic: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny  (Read 22724 times)

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Offline Yseult

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Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« on: November 08, 2006, 04:25:46 AM »
I know that we can find info about Carolina Matilda in several threads focused on danish queens, but her tragic life deserves a thread ;)

I wish to start posting a portrait of Carolina Matilda as a young british princess with her sister Louise Anne. I always liked so much this portrait...



Carolina Matilda never knew her father: she was born at Leicester House three months after the death of Frederick, prince of Wales. It seems that a burst abscess in the lung was the cause of death to this man, aged forty-four. He had been a womaniser and a spendthrift in his youth, but he settled down when he married the sixteen years old princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. They had a very succesful marriage, living with their children in the countryside at Clieven, since the relationship between Frederick and his parents (king George II and queen Caroline, born princess of Ansbach) was really a bitter one and the prince was banished from court.

Carolina Matilda had eight brothers & sisters: George, who beared the tittle of prince of Wales when the girl was born; Edward, duke of York; William, duke of Gloucester; Henry, duke of Cumberland; Frederick William; Augusta Charlotte; Elizabeth Caroline and Louise Anne.

During her marriage with Frederick, Augusta of Saxe went along with her husband´s wishes in the feud with her father-in-law and her mother-in-law. But, when she became a widow, her role as the mother of the heir of the throne (young George, later George III) was noteworthy. She felt under the influence of the third Earl of Bute, John Stuart, her son´s tutor. It was rumoured that Augusta and John Stuart were having an affair. It was almost certainly untrue: John was happily married to Mary Wortley-Montagu, who had borne him eight children, and he held religious beliefs against adultery. But scandalous pamphlets about the relationship between John and Augusta were published through the years, the two were savagely satirised on the press and the widow of Frederick suffered widespread hostility from the public.

These is a portrait of Augusta, the vilified mother of Carolina Matilde:



I suppose Carolina grew up knowing very well that her paternal grandparents hated her dead father and her vilified mother. It must have been like she were always walking under dark clouds. But Carolina felt secure in her native country and loved her family, so she broke in tears when at the age of fifteen, was forced to fled to Denmark because her older brother, George III, was anxious to marry her with their cousin Christian VII. Poor Carolina was not allowed to take english ladies-in-waiting with her, so she found herself alone in a new country and married to a mentally ill man. Christian made it publicly known that he could not love Carolina as it was unfasionable to love one´s wife. He continued his ardent pursuit of whores and also young men, as I have read. The fierous step-mother of Christian, dowager queen Julianne, disliked Carolina because the little thing might provide her husband with an heir. I think this was the first step in the ruin of Carolina...

Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 07:12:36 AM »
That's a lovely portrait of Caroline and her sister, I've never seen it before.

I once read that when Frederick's mother lay dying, she said that at least there was one good thing about dying; that she never was going to see that monster (Frederick) again.

As for her marriage, it's not quite true that the dowager queen did'nt liked her, and that Christian could'nt love her. Caroline had a harmonic relationship to both the dowager queens, Juliane Marie and Sophia Magdalena. It was when Struensee made his entrance, the relationship to Juliane began to cool down. When she first arrived, Christian broke the etiqutte, and jumped up in her carriage to kiss her and bid her welcome, and she liked him, allthough she found that he was somewhat childish and a little strange. But every growing sympathy between the two of them, was firmly crushed by Caroline's "chief" lady-in-waiting, Mrs. Von Plessen. She found romance and love disgusting, and taught the young queen to response every kiss and advance from the king with coldness. He should beg for her to sleep with him, and if he dared kiss her, she should pretend to be on the edge to faint. (Women of the nobility all behaved like this in this time. No wonder the brothels had a golden age in those years). Caroline took Mrs. Von Plessens advice, and this alienated her from the king. He tried a few times, but was always rejected or told that the queen was playing cards with her ladies, so the king really had to wait. Christian became cross, rather than the obidient slave of his wife, Mrs. Von Plessen wanted him to be, and he started to find more willing women.
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Offline Yseult

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 05:09:08 PM »
Caroline Matilda was named after her paternal grand-mother, Caroline of Ansbach-Brandenburg, queen of Hannover and England by her marriage to George (the second). This is the woman:



Frederick, her eldest son, was born in 1707, but he grew up in Hannover and he was brought to England, with his parents, eho were not happy receiving the young man.  George, before to became George II, when he was just George prince of Wales, considered a scheme to excluding Frederick from the English throne, sending him to rule Hannover, so that his second son, William, could be his male heir. I don´t know if Frederick had notice of it, but, if he had, it must have been felt appalled. The truth is that Frederick was usually neglected and often despised by his parents, who were desperately afraid of their son gaining popularity at their expenses; and Frederick reacted to this looking for, and searching, friends in opposition circles, where he was used as a weapon against the monarchy or the government.

You´re right: Caroline of Ansbach said never nothing fair about her eldest son. It seems strange, but she never, never, had a motherly gesture to this son and she pronounced very bitter words about Frederick. In life, she is reputed to have said of Frederick things like this: My dear first born is the greatest ass, and the greatest liar, and the greatest canaille, and the greatest beast, in the whole world, and I most heartily wish he was out of fit. When Frederick tried to see his mother for the last time before she died, George II refused to allow his presence.

I imagine it was not easy for Augusta of Saxe, but she was entirely loyal to her husband (as our Leonora Christina to Corfitz, dear...). Augusta was a pretty thing, who gained a more signifiant role when she became a widow because her son was he was the Heir Apparent to the throne, so he received the title of Prince of Wales in addition to the title of Duke of Edimbourgh. Augusta mistrusted her father-in-law, so she kept George separated from old George.

A new portrait of Augusta I have found:



I don´t know how reacted little Carolina Matilda to this. She never knew her maternal grand-mother, because Caroline died before Frederick, and Frederick himself died three months before the birth of his youngest daughter. But I believe she must have suffered all the gossip about Augusta and John Stuart...

Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 01:27:11 AM »
Lucky I don't have parents like that! Poor Frederick.

This is a part of the english royal history I don't know so much about. But it's always nice to gain new knowledge ;)
Since George and Caroline did'nt liked their eldest son, how did they feel about his children?
Of Alix: "I was raised in an age of beautiful women, and the two most beautiful was the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and my own mother"  George V

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Offline Yseult

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 06:51:22 AM »
My knowledge about the hannoverian dinasty is very limited, Zanthia, but I imagine that George II & Carolina had a poor relationship with their grandsons and granddaughters. I have read at the Wikipedia that when Augusta of Saxe was in labour for the firstborn children, her daughter Augusta Charlotte, on august 1737, Frederick forced his wife to move from Hampton Court to St James. The reason why he moved his wife while she was in labour was that he wanted to prevent his hated parents to be presents in the birth.

When Augusta gave birth to her second children, a boy named George, later George III, the father, Frederick insisted on having Thomas Pelham-Holles, duke of Newcastle-on-Tyne, as goodfather. A great struggle aroused in the royal family, because king George detested Newcastle and chose as goodfather his own brother, duke of York and Albany. This time, Frederick publicly vituperated his father and for this was temporarily put under house arrest. After this bitter quarrel, George II banished Frederick from St James and not allow him to be present at the public ceremonies. So, Frederick and Augusta, with their children, moved to the countryside.

I suppose that George II and Caroline were not fond of their grandsons and grandaughters because they rarely met the children...

Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2006, 01:58:49 PM »
I don't know if I wanted my parents to be present at the birth of my first child if they treated me like that either! I sure do understand him. But do you know if he had done anything special to made them hate him so? Such a rebellious behaviour is only natural if you don't feel loved by your family, I guess.
I remember when I saw "The mad King George", he and the queen also called their eldest son "monster" (maybe the script writers just had them mixed up with the king's grandparents, but who knows). And then there was queen Victoria's view upon Bertie...brrrr. And Bertie's obvious dissappointment over Eddie, the list just go on. These examples can almost make you believe that it's a tradition in England for the monarch to have a cold and disdainful relationship to their eldest son and heir.


Anyway, no matter how her family background was, Caroline Mathilde is one of the most tragic charaters in the danish royal history. Being banished like that and deserted by her english family, who did'nt want face the shame of having "their fallen daughter" returned, just because she did'nt loved her insane husband.

By the way, have you noticed how Europe was almost flooded with mad monarchs in those years?  ;)
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2006, 04:23:52 PM »
George III and Queen Charlotte had an up and down relationship with their eldest son, the future George IV. George III was exasperated and disappointed by him (Frederick, Duke of York, was George's favourite son). George IV, though, was Charlotte's favourite son - he was with her when she died.
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Offline Yseult

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2006, 04:36:12 PM »
As I said you before, Zanthia, I have a very brief knowledge about the Hannoverian dinasty, but I spent a few hours searching for info about the background of Carolina Matilda, because I truly believed that a thread on hear might be started with a review of her childhood ;)

By the way, I haven´t post the portrait of her father, Frederick Lewis, price of Wales:



As far as I know, the prince George who later became king George II had a poor relationship with his own father, George of Hannover, later George I of England. When George I was only the Elector of Hannover, he often made Georgie and Caroline felt really annoyed due to the fact he chose his grandson Frederick -Fred- , even as a small child, as his representative in public ceremonies. After Queen Anne´s death, George the Elector fled to England to became George I, with his neglected wife Sophie Dorothea of Celle, his beloved mistress Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, his sons and daughters -including George with wife Caroline of Ansbach- and the children of his heir, but he left behind to act as Hannover´s regent prince Frederick, aged seven.

Frederick never saw his parents from this year 1714 to 1728, because he was not permitted to go to England until his father took the throne. Family relations were forever strained due to this long separation. When Fred, a young man, arrived to England, George and Caroline had several younger children and they were fond of them. In fact, they showed a great love for his second male son, William, duke of Cumberland. Fred was the strange one, his father referring to him as a "wechselbag", this mean, a changeling. George also nicknamed his son "Griff", for the mythical beast known as Griffin.

I suppose Fred was shocked by the way his parents reacted against him. Things get worse when he began to gain popularity. If you think, Zanthia, the first George was extremely unpopular in Britain, and the second George was just a bit more popular than his father ;) Fred seems to have been a charming prince: he was a genuine lover of music and played the cello, he enjoyed all the arts and sciences, specially astronomy, and, the most noteworthy, the developed a genuine interest for the cricket...So, the english people liked him more than his grandfather or his father! George and Caroline hated Fred because they were afraid their firstbon could overshadow all their reign. Caroline said: My God, popularity always makes me sick, but Fretz´s popularity makes me vomit! .

So, Fred became a troublemaker. He always sided the opposite to their parents, in all the things. This worsened day after day the situation, of course, but I really understand "poor Fred".

And, another question...I suppose the english family deserted Carolina because she remembered them so vividly the case of Sophia Dorothea of Celle, the consort of George I and, by the way, grand-grand-mother of Carolina Matilda.

And, yes, I have noticed how Europe was flooded with mad monarchs  :D

Offline kmerov

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2006, 06:27:11 PM »
Caroline Mathilde was not very popular in her times because of the affair with Struensee and the rumors that they were trying to kill the Crown Prince by his harsh upbringing.
The BRF didn't desert her completely. The Danes wanted to have her imprisoned in Denmark but George III refused, and after much harsh diplomacy it was finally decided that she should live in Celle, Hannover, and she was allowed to keep the title of Queen (without the "of Denmark and Norway"). The Danish state paid back her dowery but didn't give her any income, which she was given by England. In Celle she lived a quiet life, but was involved in plans of her returning to Denmark which ended with her early death.

Caroline Mathilde's final resting place in Celle.
http://www.stadtkirche-celle.de/Das_Bauwerk/Furstengruft/st050.jpg
« Last Edit: November 15, 2006, 06:29:21 PM by kmerov »

Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2006, 02:02:11 AM »
But they did'nt wanted her back to England either.
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Offline Rebecca

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2006, 03:02:23 PM »
What was the cause of Caroline Mathilde's death?  ???
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Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2006, 02:37:30 AM »
Scarlet fever. There was an epidemic in Celle. :(
Of Alix: "I was raised in an age of beautiful women, and the two most beautiful was the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and my own mother"  George V

"We've invited all the beautiful women we know, but the Princess of Wales in the most beautiful of them all"  Bertie

Offline Yseult

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2006, 06:53:04 AM »
It´s strange the way things go...I was remembering Sophia Dorothea, the grand-grand-mother of Carolina. She was also imprisoned in Celle after the murder of her lover, Königsmark. But Sophia Dorothea had an emotional support, provided by her mother, Eleonore d´Olbreuse, and, later, by her correspondence with her own daughter, another Sophia Dorothea...

Do you know if Carolina felt alone in her downfall?

Offline Zanthia

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2006, 03:40:18 AM »
I don't know for certain, but I can imagined that she did. Being seperated from her children and not allowed to write to them or see them. She was very popular in Celle. The people there was quite proud to have a real queen living in their town. I think that brought her some joy. She was probably somewhat reliefed of getting away from the intrigues at the court and her husband, but unhappy to be forced away from her children and Struensee who betrayed her in the trial, by saying that he'd never loved her and that she was nothing but a plaything for him. (Creep! >:()
Of Alix: "I was raised in an age of beautiful women, and the two most beautiful was the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and my own mother"  George V

"We've invited all the beautiful women we know, but the Princess of Wales in the most beautiful of them all"  Bertie

Offline Yseult

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Re: Queen Carolina Matilda, tragic destiny
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2006, 03:56:53 AM »
The most tragical thing was, I believe, that Struensee betrayed her in the trial. In the last month, I was reading the bio on Peter the Great by Massie and I felt impressed with the lover of Eudoxia Lopukhina, Stepan Glebov. Glebov had a relationship with Eudoxia when she was a divorced woman, secluded in the convent of Suzdal...she was not the woman of the emperor, although she was the mother of the heir presumptive. When the relationship between Eudoxia and Stepan was known by Peter, the emperor ordered that Glebov would be tortured and executed by quartering. But Stepan was valiant, brave and courageus enough to carry on, and never betrayed his Eudoxia.

Struensee took advantages making love to Caroline and he was probably the father of Louisa Augusta. So, from my point of view, when he betrayed his lover the queen, he was also betraying their common daughter. A double treason.