British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

3.2) Answers


  1. George IV spent about 10,000 pounds on clothing annually (estimated number), he began an affair with lots of mistresses, he secretly married the Roman Catholic Maria Fitzherbert without his fathers permission (the marriage however was not legal for he was underage and the Catholic ceremony was not valid under English law), he denied his new wife Caroline the queenship (when she tried to take part in his coronation ceremony, he didn't let her in) and he also supported Whig politicians in his youth in order to annoy his father.
  2. George IV married Caroline of Brunswick out of pure necessity, following the will of his father. The main reason for the marriage was to have Caroline's parliament pay off the depts George IV had piled up over the years. The marriage was very unhappy. It reached its tragically peak when George IV denied Caroline the entrance to Westminster Abbey for his coronation ceremony as well as the queenship.
  3. Analysis of the caricature of George IV: The caricature shows king George IV sitting on a chair. He looks relaxed, bored and filled up after a rich meal, picking his teeth with a fork. His clothes do not quite fit anymore. On the table next to him you can see the leftovers of his meal, bones, on a clean plate, a half eaten piece of meat and a variety of bottles which probably contained wine earlier. The room George IV is sitting in is a mess. Books, a dice box and two dice are lying on the floor. Behind the king you can see a little table with a pot on it which is leaking fluid. A bunch of papers are located on the table as well, all in disorder. Under the chair of the king you can see a bunch of empty bottles. The caricature shows the king hanging in a chair, looking fat and bored. He does not seem to care about the mess in the room. The papers might be important but are lying around in disorder. Based on what we have learned about George IV in the texts earlier, he did not care about politics of his country at all and spend most of his time and money fulfilling his own pleasures, which is pointed out in the caricature rather nicely. He looks fat and bored, picking his teeth and is probably thinking about what to do next or just relaxing, instead of caring for his country.
  4. Queen Victoria had absolutely no faith at all in the abilities of her son, which the quotes 'None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of such a Father who has not his equal in this world - so great, so good, so faultless, and the description of her son as being 'idle and weak' show clearly. Edward was never able to live up to the high expectations of his parents. His mother kept him away from political influence as much as possible because she feared having to share her subjects affection with him. Edward rebelled against her strict regime and got involved with many different women, even when he was married. He also started drinking excessively and was interested in sports and gambling.
  5. There is no real evidence of Edward ever opposing his mother in public at least not politically. He did however chose to reign as Edward VII instead of Albert I, as his mother had wished. Later he also gave Osbourne House, which Albert had redesigned for the Royal Family, to the nation and redecorated Buckingham Palace.
  6. Analysis of the caricature of Edward VII: The caricature shows Edward VII surrounded by a bunch of women who look like prostitutes. He seems to have an intimate relationship with all of them and clearly enjoys the attention that is given to him. Though his wife Alexandra was very pretty she unfortunately did not meet the qualities Edward appreciated in women. His involvement with different women next to his marriage was probably still a reaction and rebellion against his mothers strict regime. The people however liked Edward VII and he managed to restore some sparkle to the Royal Family for he cared for his country and was a good king. The caricature actually shows Edward VII at the 'Le Chabanais', a brothel in Paris where he was a frequent guest. One of the rooms even carried his coat of arms over the bed. the room also contained a large copper tub which he liked to fill with champain to bathe in it with the protitutes.