Birthday: March 1, 1683
Died At Age: 54
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Ansbach, Germany
Famous as: Queen
Empresses & Queens
Spouse/Ex-: George II of Great Britain (m. 1705)
father: John Frederick - Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
mother: Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
siblings: Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Princess Dorothea Friederike of Brandenburg-Ansbach, William Frederick
children: Anne - Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, Frederick - Prince of Wales, Louise of Great Britain, Prince George William, Prince William - Duke of Cumberland, Princess Amelia of Great Britain, Princess Caroline of Great Britain, Princess Mary of Great Britain, stillborn son Hanover
Died on: November 20, 1737
place of death: St. James's Palace, London, United Kingdom
Who was Caroline of Ansbach?
Caroline of Ansbach was the wife of King George II and served as the queen consort of Great Britain from 1727 to 1737. She was born into an affluent family. Her father, John Frederick, was the ruler of a small state in Germany. He died when Caroline was just 3 years old, and following this, her mother took her to her native place, Eisenach. Soon, her mother died, too. Caroline was still young, and after moving from place to place, she ended up living with her family friend Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg, and his wife, Sophia Charlotte. In 1701, Frederick became the king of Prussia. Caroline grew up to be an intellectual lady and a highly desirable bride. She got married to George Augustus, the third in line for the throne of Britain and the heir to the Electorate of Hanover. They moved to Britain in 1714, when George was made the prince of Wales. George became the king of Britain in 1727. Thus, Caroline became the queen. She had a strong political influence. After her demise in 1737, she was mourned by the king and the public alike.
Childhood & Early Life
Caroline of Ansbach was born Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline, on March 1, 1683, in Ansbach, Holy Roman Empire. Her father, John Frederick, was the ruler of one of the smallest German states in the empire, Brandenburg-Ansbach. Her mother, Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe, hailed from the royal house of Wettin. Caroline had a younger brother named Margrave William Frederick.
Her father passed away when she was 3 years old, and his eldest son from his first marriage took over the throne. Following this, her mother took both her children with her to her native place, Eisenach. However, things were not easy for them there, as Caroline’s mother was married off to the elector of Saxony against her will. Hence, Caroline, along with her mother and brother, moved to Dresden.
Caroline’s stepfather died of smallpox after contracting the disease from one of his mistresses. However, the family stayed there for 2 more years, until Caroline’s mother’s death in 1696. Caroline was just 13 years old back then and could not take care of either herself or her brother. She thus moved to Ansbach, to stay with her elder stepbrother.
Her stepbrother, Margrave George Frederick II, was not interested in keeping his stepsiblings with him. This led the orphan brother and sister to seek asylum in Lützenburg, just outside Berlin. Their family friends Frederick and Sophia Charlotte stayed there. Frederick was the elector of Brandenburg and the heir to the throne of Prussia.
A few years later, in 1701, her guardians, Frederick and Sophia, became the king and queen of Prussia, respectively. They raised Caroline and her brother as their own children.
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Education & Marriage
Sophia Charlotte was a woman with a strong character and a high level of intelligence. She served as a strong influence to Caroline, who began spending a lot of time educating herself. At the royal court of Prussia, Caroline was exposed to high-level academicians and intellectuals, owing to her guardian’s interest in academics. Many philosophers and scholars were invited to the royal court from time to time.
Earlier, Caroline had received very little formal education. Thus, this was an entirely new experience for her. She had poor handwriting, and it remained poor throughout her life. Nevertheless, she developed an intellectual bent of mind.
As her education was supervised by Sophia, Caroline turned out to be academically exceptional. Sophia once stated that Berlin turned into “a desert” whenever Caroline moved away for a few days.
Caroline grew up to a beautiful and attractive young woman. Thus, she began receiving many proposals for marriage. One of the first proposals was from Archduke Charles of Austria, who later became the Holy Roman Emperor. However, Caroline rejected the offer, as she was not in favor of converting to Catholicism from Lutheranism.
After Sophia Charlotte’s death, Caroline mourned for days. Sophia’s death also meant that she needed to find a suitor for herself.
Prince George Augustus of Hanover had heard a lot about Caroline’s beauty. Thus, he visited the court in disguise to observe her. He was smitten by her good looks and strong character. Being an intelligent woman, Caroline also found out a lot about him and then agreed to marry him.
George and Caroline got married in August 1705. George was heir to the Electorate of Hanover and the third in line for the throne of Great Britain. By mid-1706, Caroline became pregnant. She gave birth to Prince Frederick in 1707. Over the next few years, Caroline had three more children: Anne, Amelia, and Caroline.
As the Princess of Wales and the Queen of Britain
After the death of Queen Anne of Britain, George I became the new king. Hence, George Augustus was crowned as the prince of Wales, making Caroline the princess of Wales.
However, old King George I failed to impress the people of Britain due to his old German ways of running the empire. This led his son to become more popular with the public. Hence, George emerged as the main opposition to King George I of Britain.
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In 1717, Caroline had another son, Prince George. Back then, her husband and her father-in-law had not been on good terms for a few years. They had frequent disagreements. On the baptism ceremony of the newborn, the father–son had a dispute over the choice of godparents for the baby. George was placed under house arrest. He also faced banishment from the royal court.
Although Caroline was free, she decided to stay with her husband in house arrest. The couple moved into ‘Leicester House,’ while the children remained in care of King George I. During this period, the couple had three more children: William, Mary, and Louise.
Caroline decided to play a role in some sort of reconciliation between her husband and her father-in-law. She befriended one of the former politicians in the court, Sir Robert Walpole, who helped her in her efforts. Soon, the father–son duo reconciled publicly, and Walpole regained an important place in the ministry. Over the next few years, Walpole became one of the most influential politicians of Britain.
Caroline was known to be a woman who was more intelligent than her husband. She was an avid reader and had a deep interest in science and philosophy. Gradually, she became extremely popular with the public, as a patron of art and philosophy. She also took care of her people and freed many prisoners.
In 1727, King George I passed away and Caroline’s husband took over as King George II of Britain, with Caroline as the queen. Frederick, her eldest son, thus became the heir apparent to the throne. Prince Frederick, however, soon became the face of the opposition, and this led to a strained relationship between him and his mother, Caroline.
As a queen, Caroline was known for her strong political influence. King George II consulted her on many important matters. Whenever the king was away, she took charge on his behalf.
She also strengthened the position of the ‘House of Hanover’ in the British Empire during the period of instability. She eventually emerged as one of the strongest and most popular British queens ever.
Throughout her life, Caroline of Ansbach suffered from many dangerous illnesses. During the final years of her life, she suffered from gout. Back in 1724, she suffered from hernia during childbirth. She passed away on November 20, 1737. She was survived by eight children: five daughters and three sons. Her eldest son, Frederick, was not invited to her funeral.
Her death was mourned by both the public and the king. King George II loved her dearly and thus never remarried.