It was Lady Jersey, the calculating mistress of the foppish George IV, who chose Caroline, Princess of Brunswick, to become George's wife. She selected a woman 'with indelicate manners . . . and not very inviting appearance', and George, who hadn't taken the precaution of meeting his wife before marrying her, was suitably disgusted. In 1797, just three years after their marriage, the couple separated with George writing to his wife that neither of them should 'be held answerable to the other'. Caroline took him at his word and proceeded to live exactly as she pleased, departing for Europe and a life of scandalous associations and debauched parties. Rumours of Caroline's lifestyle soon reached George and, although he was no stranger to indiscretion himself, he determined that she would never become Queen. To the shock of the nation, he demanded that Caroline face a trial for adultery. The voice of the popular press in Britain, raised in anger for the first time in Britain, roared in disapproval at her humiliation and Caroline's unlikely role as a heroine of Radical feeling was assured. Jane Robins re-creates this extraordinary morality tale in vivid and entertaining fashion, revealing a little-known story of surprising modernity that sheds new light on a revolution that might have been.
Jane Robins began her career as a journalist with The Economist, The Independent, and the BBC. She has made a specialty of writing historical true crime and has a particular interest in the history of forensics. She has published three books of nonfiction in the UK, Rebel Queen (Simon & Schuster, 2006), The Magnificent Spilsbury (John Murray, 2010), and The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams (John Murray, 2013). More recently, she has been a Fellow at the Royal Literary Fund.