The notorious love affair between George IV and Maria Fitzherbert is one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the Royal family. It is the story of a young Catholic widow who became the secret wife of the heir to the throne because she had refused to become his mistress. This account reveals a genuine love story between the spoilt, egocentric prince and the older woman who brought peace and order to his life of restlessness and excess, resulting in a marriage that defied English law and broke all the rules of the monarchy.
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James Munson has a doctorate in nineteenth-century history from Oxford and taught in the university from 1970 to 1979. From 1981 he wrote historical and biographical scripts for BBC television and radio, and is currently literary editor of Contemporary Review.From Publishers Weekly:
The well-connected Maria Fitzherbert, twice widowed and still childless at 24, had all the qualities the future King George IV desired: she was older than he (by six years) and was widely traveled and experienced. There was just one problem: she was Catholic under a Protestant monarchy that considered Catholics Papist puppets. Drawing on historical fact and gossipy, entertaining firsthand accounts, Munson (Victoria: Portrait of a Queen) ably demonstrates that Maria wasn't exactly devout; she appeared more often at social gatherings than at Mass. Nevertheless, the British could never accept her into the royal family. Thus she and George had a tiny wedding on Dec. 15, 1785, and their marriage became one of the worst-kept secrets in British history, the subject of scandal sheets and parliamentary debates. Immature and impulsive, the prince was deeply in love with Maria, and she with him. But as heir to the throne, he had to have a consort, and in 1795 he reluctantly wed Princess Caroline of Brunswick. (Having not been officially married to Maria, he didn't have to divorce her.) In a strange twist, the new princess saw Maria as "the Prince's true wife." Pope Pius VII agreed, reaffirming in 1800 the validity of her marriage. Within 10 years, though, partly due to the prince's extramarital affairs, the relationship ran its course. Even without her prince, Munson shows, Maria went on to live a full, exciting life a life given lively treatment here. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)Forecast: If the publisher can reach the readers who enjoyed Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, this could do well, though it probably won't attain the former's bestseller status.
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Book Description Constable 2001, 2001. Book Condition: New. New hardback. May show some slight shelf wear but content fine and unread. Bookseller Inventory # A105419