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The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
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The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"There are two types of British queens," says Columbia University historian David Cannadine."Those who hold the position strictly as wife of the king, and those (few) who have ruled as sovereign in absence of a male heir." Queen Caroline, who briefly held title when King George IV was crowned in 1820 is numbered among the former. Vulgar, selfish, and undisciplined, she fle ...more
Paperback, 860 pages
Published September 13th 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1996)
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Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Any time anyone starts to trumpet about the scandals of the current royal family they should be handed this book. Good Lord, what a tale! It baffles me that the events chronicled in this book should be so forgotten, at least outside the circle of historians and informed amateurs. Such a comprehensive rupture between Caroline and her husband the Prince Regent, later George IV, can scarcely be imagined, short of course of Isabella of France and Edward II.

Estranged almost from the moment of their m
The Wee Hen
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not a bad book and it's not really Flora Fraser's fault that I didn't like anybody. I wanted to love Caroline of Brunswick, I truly did. She was very hard done by her family in raising her and her husband in marrying her. Never really afforded an ounce of respect by the royal family (except, curiously, for the King who seemed to take a shine to her early on) she was definitely the injured wife she is described as. And yet, she was a silly woman, a rather senseless woman without any real grace, i ...more
Aria Ligi
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is overall a well written book, except there are every so often flaws in syntax; meaning that one is reading and suddenly a sentence does not make sense at all. This is sad as a good proof reader could have easily avoided this. Though the text is voluminous, and minute mistakes like these can plague manuscripts, one would think that it would behoove the author, editors, proof readers and publishers to make sure that their product is up to scratch.
On the story itself, Fraser does an okay jo
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had a really hard time getting into this book. Nothing against Flora Fraser- I'd recently read her book about the 6 daughters of George III and she is a superb biographer. I just think that the life of Queen Caroline was hugely marred by the politics of her time. Her sham of a marriage to the Prince of Wales (later George IV) forced government intervention and instead of getting into and understanding the circumstances of the days, my eyes glazed over with the mentions of Dukes, servants, poli ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
I'm marking this as "read" because although I'm only 100 pages in, I'm putting it down. As someone who had to write a history thesis in college, I'm amazed at how many unattributed quotes are in this book! Not to mention obscure references that go unexplained, which the average reader would have to research in order to understand. I'm severely disappointed by this book. If you want to read about queens, try Antonia Fraser.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-history
I really enjoyed Flora Fraser's book "Princesses," about the sisters of George IV. I read this one about Caroline, the wife of George IV, as an obvious follow-up. I thought the overall story was interesting, but the historical narrative (details of Caroline's travels, details of the divorce hearings in the House of Lords) was dry. I found it more educational than entertaining.
Caroline of Brunswick, "the injured Queen of England" and wife of George IV, certainly had a turbulent life. Married off to her first cousin the Prince of Wales, she had one of the worst marriages in history (to a King that would rather cancel his own coronation rather than have to see her there), was the mother of a child who was taken away from her and died tragically in childbirth, was the subject of secret investigations and had to undergo a trial on her supposed infidelities.

I loved Flora
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book after renting the movie "The Madness of King George." The Caroline in question is the acknowledge wife of the ne'er-do-well Prince of Wales portrayed by Rupert Everett in the film. Intrigue, court politics and smear campaigns abound in this biography. Caroline is brought into the marriage to provide a legitimate heir, but is quickly pushed aside by her husband, who has been "unofficially" married to a Catholic (thereby unsuitable) woman. It is impossible not to draw comparison ...more
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: british-history
After reading Fraser's wonderful "the Six Daughter's of George III" I was surprised that this book was a little harder to get through. There isn't much attaching you to the story of Caroline ... she was mistreated and she acted wrecklessly (for someone in the royal family), but other than that there isn't much story. The names were a bit confusing as well. I found it to be an interesting read nonetheless giving some insight into another royal figure of the past.
Helen Azar
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
A nice biography of the much maligned Queen Caroline, the consort of George IV... A sympathetic account of her as a human being, which presents her as a sensitive woman and a far cry from the parody she tended to be often presented as.
Diane Killion
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I thought the story of Queen Caroline's life would be interesting. Unfortunately, Flora Fraser's telling of the story was far from interesting. I was ready to be done with this book about 150 pages prior to it ending on page 466.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Interesting bookand well researched - but at 3/4 of of the way through it was a pretty tough slog. Excruciating details on the actions of the House of Commons around 1820 caused my mind to wander. No doubt about itCaroline got a bum deal - it's not always good to be Queen!
₵oincidental   Ðandy
The acrimonious marriage of Queen Caroline & George IV makes that of the most recent Prince & Princess of Wales seem like child's play; One can't help contrasting & comparing the two while reading this book.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
An average biography, but an interesting subject.
The affairs! The divorce! The continental travels with sleazy lovers followed by an unexpectedly early death! The DPOW of her time!
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life and drama of the Prince of Wales (George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick makes the current generations of Hanovers in British royalty look calm and staid. A good book.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Poor Caroline, quite the tragic figure in a way although, she was able to live part of her life on her own terms. Fraser, provides a well-researched and primary source-documented book on Caroline blemishes and all. Anyone interested in Regency English history would enjoy this book.
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A biography about one of England's most enigmatic (and on this side of the pond, lesser known) Queens.

A woman seemingly possessed of a good heart, but little common sense, Queen Charlotte was raised in the rather stodgy, provincial Hanoverian Court in Germany. Naive and rather gauche, poor Charlotte was married off while still a teenager to her first cousin, the future British King George IV.

George was a dandy and bon vivant who had already contracted a marriage years ago to the attractive, and
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
I am always ready for a nice thick biography. However, I am giving this one 3 stars because it didn't need to be so thick. Flora Fraser could have accomplished what she needed to say in a book half this one's length. Beyond that, it was interesting and kept me reading. The synopsis/jacket describes Caroline of Brunswick as 'vulgar, selfish, and undisciplined'. This may be so, but I found her to be a badass. I mean, why should she kowtow to a man who treated her like dirt from the moment of their ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
A flawed biography of a fascinating lady. I appreciate how much research Fraser has clearly put into the book, but she gets bogged down in details and consequently sacrifices a good deal of readability. Cutting out about 200 pages would have helped tremendously. I also think Fraser's a bit too quick to jump to Caroline's defense regarding her adultery. Just because she slept around doesn't mean that her husband didn't mistreat her horribly; it doesn't have to be either/or.
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
It was alright. I expected to have more sympathy and understanding for Caroline than I did. It did a great job of covering the events, but it would have been nice to hear more of her perspective in her words. Had to slog through a bit, since some of the material was covered in Princesses, which I read just before. Overall it was interesting, the trial at the end in particular.
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Flora Fraser Soros (born 30 October 1958) is an English writer of historical biographies.

She is the daughter of historian and historical biographer Lady Antonia Fraser and the late Sir Hugh Fraser, a British Conservative politician. Her stepfather was the playwright Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, her mother's second husband until his death in 2008. Her maternal grandparents