In the year 1820, at the request of the King of the United Kingdom, George IV, a bill called Pains and Penalties was presented to Parliament with the aim of removing the bond of marriage that united him with his wife the Queen Caroline of Brunswick. In 1795 the former Prince of Wales married a German duchess. The marriage turned out to be a disaster but, it must be said, the groom did nothing, on the contrary, to win the affection of his wife.
Princess Caroline did her duty – with great hatred as shown in her private documentation, which says that throughout their marriage, which lasted twenty-five years, they had an intimate relationship three times. It was enough for Princess Charlotte Augusta to have children – but after the birth of their daughter and heir they stopped living together. Carolina, fed up with the constant humiliation and contempt she suffered, left the United Kingdom, leaving behind a pile of debts.
On January 29, 1820, King George III died. Carolina became, at least, Queen consort of the United Kingdom. Something that her husband George IV could not stand. To get rid of it, he organized the so-called Pains and Penalties Bill, which turned into an opera buffa.
To avoid the church courts in a case of divorce, the King presented to both houses of Parliament (Lords and Commons) documents and written testimonies proving the Queen’s infidelity. The House of Commons declared that the investigation, if carried out, should be made public in relation to the issue to be discussed and its results.
The King presented documents and written testimonies to both houses of Parliament proving the Queen’s infidelity.
This puts the King at a disadvantage because, unlike him, Queen Caroline is very popular and is universally considered a disgraced wife. In addition, George IV’s stay with Mrs. Fitzherbert, whom she married – illegally and void according to the laws governing royal marriages – and had children with, was public. On June 27, 1820, in a public session, the bag was opened with the documents of accusation presented by George IV to the House of Lords, who ordered, after examining them by a commission of eleven peers of the Kingdom, that “they are of such a nature and gravity that demand a Law. That is why the Penalties and Sentencing Bill was born.
George IV accused his wife of having an affair with “a foreigner of low extraction who served him”: Bartolomeo Pergami. On August 17, the debate on the issue began. The witnesses for the prosecution were the first to testify. All of them were members of the Queen’s service and, during the trials, it was shown that they had been dismissed, punished for some offense or bribed.
The Queen’s lawyers put the prosecution’s witnesses in real trouble, leaving them in the public eye as disloyal scoundrels. The testimony of a sea captain who was called to testify against the Queen – an Englishman who embodies the values of integrity and seriousness in Britain –, well redirected by the Queen’s lawyers, proved which is fatal to the case of the prosecution. behavior or inappropriate treatment during his service with Queen Caroline.
The vote in the House of Lords gave a result of 108 votes in favor and 99 against
When it was the turn of the Queen’s witnesses, the prosecution’s evidence remained poorly manipulated. The vote in the House of Lords gave a result of 108 votes in favor and 99 against. Which means that, by removing the vote from the ecclesiastical lords and the official lords (both of whom follow the guidelines of voting directly from the king because of their position), they will lose the vote in the House of Commons and the Bill shall be rejected.
For Queen Caroline it was a great victory, made even more so by the great support shown by the people of London, who rallied around her. However, his presence at the coronation ceremony was forbidden. That day he felt unwell and died three weeks later. Her husband, King George IV, did not attend her funeral and sent her body to Brunswick for burial in the ducal chapel. Away from England.