Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tart Weddings: Maria and George Prince of Wales

It's the day before the big day!  The festive occasion bring to mind another English prince who set his eyes upon a another commoner and decided to make her his wife.  Let's hope these latest royals at the alter have better luck!  At least they have the sovereign's backing!

Maria had two husbands under her belt when she first met George Prince  of Wales. The first, Edward Weld, died three months after the wedding; the second, Thomas Fitzherbert, died three years after the wedding.  Maria then went into a sort of state of retirement and began a socialite life in London, it was there that she met the young prince.  Prinny was almost instantly smitten with Maria and pulled out all his tricks to seduce her.  But Maria wasn't going to budge, she was not interested in filling the role of "royal mistress." The prince would have to resort to more desperate measures.

One night while Maria was kicking up her heels at home there was a sudden desperate pounding on her door.  It was two messengers come to tell her that the prince had stabbed himself almost to death. His dying wish was to see Maria.  She flew to her carriage but not before asking to make a stop on the way to Carlton House.  That stop was Devonshire House.  Georgiana was enjoying drinks on the balcony with friends when she was called away and explained that her presence was needed and it was of dire importance.  Feeling as though she had no choice in the matter Georgiana handed party-duties off to her sister and joined Maria on the trip to Carlton House.  There they found the prince covered in blood, dramatically begging for Maria's hand in marriage.  She accepted, but a ring was needed to seal the deal which Georgiana begrudgingly provided.  The next day, Maria realized the magnitude of what was done (the prince couldn't marry without his father's permission, especially a Catholic) and possibly realized that she had been duped.  She flew to France to hide out in hopes Prinny would forget about her in her absence.

In this case though, absence does make the heart grow fonder and Maria eventually gave in to her yearnings for her socialite life...or a royal husband.  The December 15, 1785 ceremony was sketchy.  The two were married in the drawing room of her London home by Prinny's chaplain whose payment was the £500 bond needed to get him out of debtors prison. Maria's brother and uncle served as witnesses.  Not quite the usual royal wedding.

Of course King Dad was not pleased at all when he found out.  However he considered the marriage null and void since it was illegally done.  That didn't stop Prinny from seeing Maria, especially after his marriage to Caroline of Brunswick.  Maria considered Prinny to be her rightful husband (and a bigamist) until the day she died.  When he died in 1830, he wore and was buried with, a miniature of her around his neck.

6 comments:

  1. Wow. Interesting story. I've been following this blog for a while, not sure if I've commented before or not, but I always enjoy reading it!

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  2. Wonderful story! Oh, and I can't WAIT for tomorrow! *squee* I'll be in the front row (living room couch) nibbling on mad hors d'oeuvres and champagne (toast & coffee) watching in splendid adoration (ah, that one is doubtless true in either case).

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  3. @WildIrishRose, @Rebecca Thank you!

    @Alyssia, You and me both! I have the mimosa fixings all set to go in my fridge.

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  4. What a story. They must have loved each other to put up with the 'second wife'.

    Sadly tomorrow, I won't be watching. About the time they're exchanging vows, I'll be at my desk at work and we're not allowed to stream video.

    Besides, you're the only one who's made the whole thing interesting.

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