36 free quilt blocks, one a week with a guide to Jane Austen's England and posts about the people in her life.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Block 30: Caroline’s Choice for Queen Caroline

Block # 30 Caroline’s Choice for Queen Caroline by Becky Brown

Portrait of Caroline (1768-1821) by James Lonsdale, 
painted about the time she became Queen in 1820

The future King George IV was a bigamist in the eyes of many, including his first wife. In 1785 he married Maria Fitzherbert, knowing her Catholicism would disqualify him from assuming the throne.

James Gillray’s political cartoon of the wedding to 
Mrs. Fitzherbert, 1787

Ten years later, ridiculously in debt, he agreed to wed a Protestant princess from a German state, the traditional source of Hanoverian brides, hoping that grateful parents and Parliament would increase his allowances. Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was chosen and ferried with great pomp to England by a fleet of British Navy ships (on one of which sailed Frank Austen.)

James Gillray, The Morning of the Marriage, 1795

The miserable royal union began in 1795. George immediately showed contempt for his bride. Historians have blamed her grooming, her conversation and her taste for German jokes for the failure of their marriage, but the problem was George's legendary irresponsibility and fickleness.

Caroline's Choice by Bettina Havig

Nine months after the honeymoon Caroline gave birth to the necessary heir, Princess Charlotte Augusta.

Court scandals inspired much newspaper copy and conversation. The Austen girls and their friends would have been particularly interested because the royal honeymoon was spent at Kempshot House, about five miles from Steventon Rectory.

George, the Prince of Wales, rented Kempshot House as a Hunting Lodge and spent much time with Mrs. Fitzherbert here before bringing Princess Caroline for their honeymoon.

After the honeymoon fiasco, the Prince let the lease go. Other aristocrats moved in and issued invitations to the Austens for balls and hunting, so the family knew the house well.

James Gillray, “Left with the Baby,” 
cartoon sympathetic to the new Princess

Prince George’s treatment of his wife and his daughter provided gossip for the rest of Jane Austen’s life.

Princess Caroline and her rumored Italian lover. 
Cartoonists loved to lampoon her fashion and figure as she aged.

Caroline moved to Italy providing scandals of her own. Jane took sides, writing to Martha Lloyd in 1813.
“Poor woman, I shall support her as long as I can, because she is a Woman, & because I hate her Husband — but I can hardly forgive her for calling herself ’attached & affectionate” to [the Prince] a Man whom she must detest….If I must give up the Princess, I am resolved at least always to think that she would have been respectable, if the Prince had behaved only tolerably by her at first.”

The feuding couple by Cruickshank

After Jane’s death in 1817 relations between the royal couple deteriorated to new lows. King George IV tried unsuccessfully to bring a suit for divorce and refused to allow Queen Caroline to attend his 1821 coronation, encouraging more hostility from his subjects.

This monochromatic panel celebrating “Her Most Gracious Majesty, Caroline Queen of England’ was probably printed in 1820-21 when the new King was denying his wife her position.

Queen Caroline quilt, collection of St Fagan’s National History Museum, Cardiff.
©V&A Images, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Read more about this quilt in a post when the quilt was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010:

Caroline's Choice by Dustin Cecil. Dustin changed the shading to get a different look.

Caroline’s Choice

Blockbase #1026.5

Queen Caroline died mysteriously and conveniently three weeks after the Coronation at the age of 53. The “poor woman” really had very little control over the important choices in her life such as marriage and raising her daughter, but she did choose to live independently. Caroline’s Choice was given the name by the Nancy Cabot column in the Chicago Tribune in the 1930s. The block is similar to the design in the period quilt above.

Cutting a 12” Block

A - Cut 2 squares 7-1/4”. Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.

You need 8 large triangles.

B- Cut 8 squares 3-7/8” Cut each in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles.

You need 16 small triangles.


Caroline’s Choice by Georgann Eglinski
See more about the Royals and the Austens at Kempshot House in a post at the Austen Only blog here:


"Gracious Queen Caroline", china in a case at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

1 comment:

  1. Monday Oct 27---I got an email notice this morning! So I hope I've figured out the Feedburner problem.