Caroline of Ansbach

Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline; 1 March 1683 – 20 November 1737[1]) was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Electress of Hanover from 11 June 1727 until her death in 1737 as the wife of King George II.

Caroline of Ansbach
Portrait by Michael Dahl, c.1730
Queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland,
Electress consort of Hanover
Tenure11 June 1727 – 20 November 1737
Coronation11 October 1727[1]
Born(1683-03-01)1 March 1683
Ansbach, Principality of Ansbach, Holy Roman Empire
Died20 November 1737(1737-11-20) (aged 54)
St James's Palace, London, Great Britain
Burial17 December 1737
(m. 1705)
Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline
German: Wilhelmine Charlotte Karoline
FatherJohn Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
MotherPrincess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach

Caroline's father, Margrave John Frederick of Brandenburg-Ansbach, belonged to a branch of the House of Hohenzollern and was the ruler of a small German state, the Principality of Ansbach. Caroline was orphaned at a young age and moved to the enlightened court of her guardians, King Frederick I and Queen Sophia Charlotte of Prussia. At the Prussian court, her previously limited education was widened and she adopted the liberal outlook possessed by Sophia Charlotte, who became her good friend and whose views influenced Caroline all her life.

As a young woman, Caroline was much sought-after as a bride. After rejecting the suit of the nominal King of Spain, Archduke Charles of Austria, she married George Augustus who, as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701, had recently become third in line to the English throne (and subsequently the British throne), and was heir apparent to the Electorate of Hanover. They had eight children, seven of whom reached adulthood. Caroline moved permanently to Britain in 1714 when her husband became Prince of Wales. As Princess of Wales she joined her husband in rallying political opposition to his father, King George I. In 1717 her husband was expelled from court after a family row. Caroline came to be associated with Robert Walpole, an opposition politician who was a former government minister. Walpole rejoined the government in 1720 and Caroline's husband and King George I reconciled publicly on Walpole's advice. Over the next few years Walpole rose to become the leading minister.

Caroline became queen and electress upon her husband's accession in 1727. Her eldest son, Frederick, became Prince of Wales. He was a focus for the opposition, like his father before him, and Caroline's relationship with him was strained. As princess and as queen, Caroline was known for her political influence, which she exercised through and for Walpole. Her tenure included four regencies during her husband's stays in Hanover and she is credited with strengthening the House of Hanover's place in Britain during a period of political instability. Caroline was widely mourned by her political allies following her death in 1737 as well as by the King, who refused to remarry.

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