Por­trait of ‘il­le­gal’ wife of Ge­orge IV to go on show

Evening Times - - NEWS -

A POR­TRAIT of Ge­orge IV’s favourite mistress and the woman he il­le­gally mar­ried is go­ing on show at Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Ge­orge, Prince of Wales, who was fa­mous for his ex­trav­a­gant life­style, be­came in­fat­u­ated with Maria Fitzher­bert, who was twice wid­owed, after meet­ing her when he was 22.

They were wed in se­cret a year later by a rev­erend whose debts Ge­orge had paid off to se­cure his re­lease from prison.

Ge­orge’s fa­ther, Ge­orge III, did not con­sent to the mar­riage and it was deemed in­valid.

The Prince of Wales went on to marry his cousin, Princess Caro­line of Brunswick, in 1795 in ex­change for Par­lia­ment pay­ing his debts.

He hated his wife, banned her from his coro­na­tion and wrote a will which would have left her with one shilling and given Fitzher­bert the rest.

The cou­ple lived to­gether for about a year be­fore Ge­orge sought a sep­a­ra­tion.

He re­mained largely de­voted to Fitzher­bert, “the wife of my heart and soul”, de­spite hav­ing many mis­tresses

Ge­orge com­mis­sioned Richard Cosway to make the pen­cil draw­ing in 1789 for the equiv­a­lent fee of £42.

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