Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach

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Caroline von Ansbach, Queen of Great Britain, portrait by Charles Jervas

Wilhelmina Charlotte Caroline von Brandenburg-Ansbach (* March 1 July / March 11,  1683 greg. In Ansbach ; † November 20 July / December 1,  1737 greg. In London ) was a born Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach and as Wife of George II. Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1727 and Electress of Hanover.


Childhood and youth

Caroline's parents were Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and his wife Princess Eleonore of Saxony-Eisenach . When Caroline was three years old, her father died of smallpox . Caroline's older half-brother Christian Albrecht , who was still a minor, became the new margrave in Ansbach . Caroline spent his guardianship with her mother and her younger brother Wilhelm Friedrich in Crailsheim , where they lived in poor conditions.

In 1692, Caroline's mother married the Saxon Elector Johann Georg IV. In order to escape her misery. The more than unhappy marriage ended after two years with the death of Caroline's stepfather, who also died of smallpox. Caroline now moved with her mother and brother to Pretzsch Castle , the dowager's residence of the Electress. Caroline's mother died four years later in 1696. The 13-year-old princess has now been placed in the care of the Brandenburg Electress Sophie Charlotte , who provided the princess with extensive training. When Sophie Charlotte died in February 1705, Caroline moved to Ansbach for a few months until her marriage to her brother Wilhelm Friedrich , who had ruled there as Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach after the death of his half-brothers.

King George II of Great Britain and Ireland


Caroline was considered beautiful and educated; both Charles XII. of Sweden as well as Emperor Joseph I had applied for her hand, but above all the Crown Prince and later King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia , who knew her well as his mother Sophie Charlotte's foster daughter. Her mother, Electress Sophie von Hannover , who noticed Caroline's advantages during a visit to her daughter in Berlin, pushed ahead with a marriage project with her other grandson, Prince Elector Georg von Hannover , the unloved cousin of Friedrich Wilhelm. So that Georg and Caroline got to know each other, the Electress arranged a successful secret meeting of the two in the Ansbach summer residence Triesdorf . In 1706 she chose her granddaughter Sophie Dorothea , Georg's sister, for Friedrich Wilhelm .

On September 2, 1705, Caroline married Georg, the son of the Elector of Hanover, in Herrenhausen and moved to the court there. It was already clear in 1701 that Sophie von Hannover or her descendants would inherit the English throne. The case finally occurred in 1714, just weeks after Sophie's death, with the death of the last Queen of Stuart, Anne . Caroline's father-in-law became George I. King of Great Britain and Ireland, her husband Prince of Wales , the family moved from Hanover to London.

The period between 1717 and 1720 was overshadowed by disputes between George and his father, during which the opposition frequented Leicester House , the Crown Prince's residence since 1717. Caroline knew how to act as a mediator. In collaboration with Robert Walpole , she finally achieved the reconciliation of the king with his son. Caroline received White Lodge from her husband, which he had acquired in 1719 and which Caroline also furnished. Until her death in 1722 she corresponded regularly with Liselotte von der Pfalz , a niece and foster daughter of the Electress Sophie, who had married the brother of the French king in 1671.


Caroline as the British Queen

With the death of Georg's father, Caroline's husband became King George II of Great Britain in 1727. The coronation of the new royal couple took place on October 11th July. / October 22, 1727 greg. held at Westminster Abbey . George II first dismissed Walpole, his father's prime minister, but Caroline finally got his recall. Caroline exerted significant influence on the government. During the frequent absence of her husband (1729, 1732, 1735 and 1736–37), she led the affairs of state together with Prime Minister Walpole. She initiated a reform of English criminal law. English historians judge that George II was largely directed by his queen.

The old father-son conflict now continued in disputes between the royal couple and their son Friedrich Ludwig von Hanover , the new Crown Prince, who had been left behind in Hanover after his parents had moved to London. This had led to an estrangement between him and his parents, whose declared favorite child was Wilhelm August , the future Duke of Cumberland. The conflict could never be resolved; it deepened when George temporarily appointed his wife and not the prince to be regent. In 1736 the popularity of the royal couple had declined, on the one hand by oppositional forces that rallied around the Prince of Wales, on the other hand by a prohibition law promoted by the queen, the so-called Gin Act .

Although Georg Mätressen entertained, his relationship with Caroline had been intimate and intimate over the years.

Caroline had many academic and artistic interests. She corresponded with Leibniz and Thomasius , among others . He thanked Voltaire for her support during his time in exile in England from 1726 to 1729 by dedicating his henriade to her. Caroline is also considered one of the greatest patrons of the composer Georg Friedrich Handel ; his water music is dedicated to her.

After the birth of her last child in 1724, the very overweight queen suffered from an umbilical hernia , which repeatedly caused cramp-like pain in the abdomen. Since November 9, 1737, she complained of acute abdominal pain and vomiting. Thereupon she was operated on several times without anesthesia by the house surgeon John Ranby and received bloodletting again and again. On her deathbed she asked her husband to remarry after her death, to which the latter is said to have replied: “No, I have my mistresses.” On November 17th, the queen finally suffered a ruptured bowel and died three days later.

Caroline was buried in Westminster Abbey, and Handel wrote a Funeral Anthem (a requiem of the Anglican liturgy) for the occasion on behalf of George II , in which, however, he also used Lutheran chants , since Caroline had been a Lutheran .

Queen Caroline's coat of arms



Pedigree of Queen Caroline of Great Britain and Ireland
Great grandparents

Joachim Ernst of Brandenburg Ansbach
⚭ 1612
Sophie von Solms-Laubach

Joachim Ernst zu Öttingen-Öttingen
⚭ 1633
Anna Sibylle von Solms-Sonnenwalde († 1635)

Wilhelm IV of Saxe-Weimar
⚭ 1625
Eleonore Dorothea of ​​Anhalt-Dessau

Ernst von Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
⚭ 1624
Luise Juliane von Erbach


Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1620–1667)
⚭ 1651
Sophie Margarete zu Öttingen-Öttingen (1634–1664)

Johann Georg I of Saxony-Eisenach (1634–1686)
⚭ 1661
Johanetta von Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1626–1701)


Margrave Johann Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1654–1686)
⚭ 1681
Eleanor of Saxony-Eisenach (1662–1696)

Queen Caroline of Great Britain and Ireland (1683–1737)

See also


  • Henry William Wilkins: Caroline The Illustrious Queen Consort of George II and Sometime Queen-Regent. A Study of her Life and Time. London 1901.
  • Alice Drayton Greenwood: Lives of the Hanoverian Queens of England. George Bell and Sons, London 1909.
  • Ruby L. Arkell: Caroline of Ansbach. George The Second's Queen. Oxford University Press, London / New York / Toronto 1939.
  • Hermann Dallhammer:  Karoline, Electress of Hanover, Queen of Great Britain, born Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-428-00192-3 , p. 282 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Günther Schuhmann: The Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach. An image documentation on the history of the Hohenzollern in Franconia. Ansbach 1980.
  • Domenico Bertoloni Meli: Caroline, Leibniz and Clark. In: Journal of the History of Ideas. 60, No. 3, 1999, ISSN  0022-5037 , pp. 469-486.
  • Joanna Marschner: Queen Caroline of Anspach and the European princely museum tradition. In: Clarissa Campbell Orr (ed.): Queenship in Britain 1660-1837. Manchester University Press, Manchester / New York 2002, ISBN 0-7190-5769-8 , pp. 130-142.
  • Christine Gerrard: Queens-in-waiting: Caroline of Anspach and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha as Princesses of Wales. In: Clarissa Campbell Orr (ed.): Queenship in Britain 1660-1837. Manchester University Press, Manchester / New York 2002, pp. 143-161.
  • Andrew Hanham: Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach and the Anglicization of the House of Hanover. In: Clarissa Campbell Orr (ed.): Queenship in Europe 1660-1815. The role of the consort. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004, ISBN 0-521-81422-7 , pp. 276-299.
  • Marita A. Panzer: England's Queens. From the Tudors to the Windsors. Piper, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-492-23682-0 .
  • Karin Schrader: She scorn'd an Empire for Religion's sake. To a youth portrait of Caroline von Ansbach, Queen of England. In: Simone Roggendorf, Sigrid Ruby (Ed.): (En) gendered. Early modern art discourse and female portrait culture north of the Alps. Jonas Verlag, Marburg 2004, ISBN 3-89445-338-9 , pp. 136–152.
  • Karin Schrader: The Queen-in-waiting. On the genesis of the iconography of Wilhelmine Carolines von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683–1737). In: Lower Saxony Yearbook for State History. 82, 2010, ISSN  0078-0561 , pp. 289-310.
  • The Universal magazine. 1760, Volume 27, p. 256. (English)
  • The Monthly Chronologer. November 1737, Volume 6, p. 644. (English)
  • Edward Kimber: The Peerage of England . London 1766, p. XIX (English)

Web links

Commons : Caroline von Brandenburg-Ansbach  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Panzer p. 184.
  2. Panzer p. 187.
  3. a b Arnold van de Laar: Cut! The whole story of surgery is told in 28 operations. Pattloch Verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-629-32091-9 , pp. 279ff.
  4. Panzer p. 191.
predecessor Office Successor
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