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Caroline of Brandenburg-Anspach

Caroline of Brandenburg-Anspach (1683–1737), queen of George II. Daughter of John Frederick, margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach, Caroline was brought up at the courts of Dresden and Berlin after her father had died when she was 4. In 1705 she married George Augustus, electoral prince of Hanover and, from 1727, king of Great Britain. Her life in England from 1714 was far from tranquil. Her husband was testy and choleric. Relations between him, as prince of Wales, and his father George I were bad, and in turn George and Caroline quarrelled bitterly with their son Frederick, prince of Wales: ‘there he goes, that wretch, that villain’ was one of Caroline's many unflattering references to her first-born. She did not particularly resent her husband's attentions to other women which, at least, kept him occupied. An incomparable account of their domestic life is given in Lord Hervey's published memoirs of the court. Her influence over the king, which was considerable, was exercised in favour of Sir Robert Walpole, and she acted as regent in 1729, 1732, 1735, and 1736–7 in her husband's absences in Hanover. A woman of intelligence and learning, she was a benefactress of the Queen's College, Oxford. She died in great pain on 20 November 1737 from an undisclosed rupture, her husband characteristically fussing over her death-bed, and was buried in Westminster abbey.

Sue Minna Cannon

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