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The Secret Wife of King George IV

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Although it was illegal, secret, and against the express commands of his famously mad father, King George IV of England married twice--once for duty and once for love. While Caroline of Brunswick eventually became his lawful queen, it was the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert, recognized as his wife by the Catholic Church but not by the laws of England, who claimed his heart. In ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 10th 2001 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Die Geschichte einer großen Liebe - Verboten, gefährlich und voller Leidenschaft. Maria Fitzgerald und der Prinzregent von England, der später unter dem Namen George IV. in die Geschichte eingeht.
Ich habe das Buch an zwei Tagen gelesen und und es hat mir sehr gut gefallen.
Molly Murphy
This book I would rate at about a 2.5 or three. The story itself was interesting but the writing was slow and hard to get into, and besides George and Maria, none of the characters really "came alive" for me. So apparently King George IV (Queen Victoria's uncle) secretly married Maria FitzHerbert, though it wasn't so secret and she was really slandered for it. It was really interesting, seeing King George III who was the enemy of our countrymen some 250 years ago, and it was shameful how the man ...more
I liked all the other Diane Haeger books I read but I could barely finish this one. The writing was too flowery, too much like a romance novel.
Laura Purcell
For my full review, including historical observations, visit

I’ve never read stories by Diane Haeger before, but I’ll certainly download some more. The writing style draws you in right from the start. Haeger is gifted at painting characters and descriptions.

In this tragic love story, she does a magnificent job of handling emotions, capturing perfectly the despair and desire felt by the couple. There were times when I felt the romance was perhaps a little overblown –
I was not familiar with the reign of King George IV, heir to King George III who reigned during the American Revolution, until stumbling upon this book. For me, it was enlightening to find a book which I found just as interesting as any of those written about the Tudor dynasty while offering an opportunity to learn more about a monarch about which I had previously known very little. This book delivers an intriguing glimpse into the personal life of King George IV and his scandalous secret marria ...more
My interest in Maria Fitzherbert and her relationship with King George IV was sparked after reading a biography about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, a close friend of King George IV, in which Georgiana expresses her distaste for the King’s Catholic wife. I thought that name sounded familiar and, in fact, I’ve already read The Secret Wife of King George IV before.

The novel is a fictional account of the woman who would never be Queen, but iswith most of the dialog and scenes are pure fiction, t
This is a sympathetic portrayal of King George IV and his relationship with Maria Fitzherbert, who was his first wife but was never recognized as such by English law.

I just finished this novel yesterday. I read it over the course of two days, while my back was out, I pretty much read straight through without coming up for air. I found it to be a very moving story and while not the most fabulously written historical novel I've ever read I did think that Diane Haeger did a wonderful job of creati
Freda Lightfoot
This book is well up to Haeger’s usual high standard. Rich with detail of the period and shows both warmth and charm in the character, Maria Fitzherbert. Her motivation for insisting upon a marriage, rather than agreeing to be George’s mistress, was well perceived, if perhaps a little naïve on her part to imagine it could be otherwise, since she was a Catholic. However, I was prepared to be convinced as the love story was so well told that I fully understood her anguish later in the book when th ...more
I confess to having a weird thing for English royalty. The book was average but the story has stuck with me weeks after finishing. I think this is a hard story to tell because the primary sources are rumors and speculation at the time. Why were they estranged for 12 years? Like, what really happened? Very interesting people, these people.
A poignant and spellbinding story of two people from different social classes who fall in love and marry secretly (and illegally) in the time of (mad!) King George III of England. His son, George Augustus, is a Protestant (Church of England) and heir to the throne. Maria Fitzherbert is twice widowed and a Catholic. By law they cannot marry so their marriage must be kept a secret to protect themselves (and others) from prosecution.

Well done plot...showing the joys and pitfalls of such a relation
I read this some time ago. I don't recall every little thing about it but I know that it was a good read. I am a fan of Diane Haeger!
Simply well-written. Overall a sad story, but a great love story. This book really shows the value of honesty. The author really brought these characters to life! I was crying at certain points!
Helen Azar
An overly romanticized portrayal of the relationship between the catholic Maria Fitzherbert and King George VI(whom he illegally married while he was still the Prince of Wales). The author clearly has a lot of sympathy for George (who wasn't all that sympathetic) and gives him way too much credit for having a noble character - while history clearly shows us he was not so noble after all. If you want a more realistic fictionalized depiction of Mrs Fitzherbert and her relationship with the sixth G ...more
Kate Guinan
Pretty good historical fiction.
May 23, 2009 Gail is currently reading it
I love historical fiction, especially about English history. This is a fun book, easy to read, about the life of King George and his "wife" Maria. The characterization is good, not great. The historical descriptions of the time are accurate and magical. Some of the behaviors of George are a bit too simply explained. His choosing what was best for the country over what was best for him is a bit far-fetched. It makes me want to read a biography of George to see what historians have to say about hi ...more
May 25, 2012 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: based on history readers
This was better than I expected. The Character of Maria was sort of flexible. At times she was portrayed as a morally sound good girl and at other times she was just stubborn. I didn't feel her character held throughout the book. I found myself not liking her and finding her kind of snotty (like her "friends" in the book). George IV was kind of an idiot...there were so many things he could have done differently. He just couldn't get it right. That being said I found the story really interesting.
I read this book a while back, so I'm a little foggy on the details, but I really enjoyed the story. I think the eternal struggle between Catholics and Protestants over control of England is really exemplified in this story of a prince (and later king) who has to choose between love and policy (Don't they all?). I appreciated that Maria Fitzherbert wasn't willing to sacrifice her dignity or her religious beliefs for political power-- I think it made her a much more dynamic protagonist.
I loved the character of the secret wife, who was married to George by a Catholic priest, and then had to watch as he publicly courted and married his Protestant wife. Although I usually enjoy alternate portrayals of royals (e.g. Richard III), somehow this portrayal of George as misunderstood did not ring true.
I became too attached to the characters! To think this is historical fiction makes it even more intense to me. The book was a roller coaster ride with more reality that I sometimes wished to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent engrossed in the journey.
Lisa James
What a great book! This was a story I had not known prior to reading the book, so I was intrigued by this little known piece of history. It was romantic, sad, humorous at times, & I loved Maria's spirit throughout all the years she lived in secret.
 Alysha Mae : )
oh my God!!! this book drove me to tears, the love and passion that took place in this book was amazing!!!!
Not as good as The Ruby Ring, but very readable. Based on fact, with lots of fiction added.
Glad I gave this author another try - I really liked this one, although it's a sad story.
I really enjoyed this book. It had me hooked from the 1st page. I couldn't put it down.
I love anything by Diane Haeger...this was another wonderful read.
It was okay...not as good as I felt it should be....
Good read- need a box of tissues for the ending though!
Fluff, albeit with historical content.
A wonderful tragic romance.
Eva Schatz
Eva Schatz marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
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Diane Haeger is the author of four previous historical novels, including The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecilia. She lives in California with her husband and family.
More about Diane Haeger...
The Secret Bride (In The Court of Henry VIII, #1) The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3) Courtesan The Perfect Royal Mistress The Queen's Mistake (In the Court of Henry VIII, #2)

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