Caroline of Brunswick

Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821) by Sir Thomas Lawrence 1804


Caroline of Brunswick was the Princess of Wales and a Park Ranger who lived in Montagu House from 1798 to 1814.

In 1795, Princess Caroline of Brunswick married the son of King George III, the Prince of Wales, later to become George IV. However, her marriage was a sham, and once she had given George a daughter, Charlotte, Caroline moved to Blackheath and lived completely apart from her husband. George lived outrageously, having many affairs, but Caroline’s life was also extremely colourful. 

In 1806, a notorious scandal named the ‘Delicate Investigation’ broke when a secret report into her behaviour was leaked to the press. As a result, her separation from Prince George was formalised, and she was made Ranger of Greenwich Park. Caroline chose her existing residence of Montagu House in the south-west corner of the park as her home, rather than the Queen’s House. Using her power as park ranger, she enclosed 15 acres of the park as an extension of her garden.

By 1814 her situation had become intolerable when she was forbidden to see her daughter, so she secured a pension from parliament and left England for Italy. Montagu House was demolished almost immediately afterwards to extend the grounds of the neighbouring mansion, now called the Ranger’s House. All that remains of Montagu House is the bath and wall behind it.

When Prince George was finally crowned king in 1821, Caroline returned to England for her coronation but literally had the doors of Westminster Abbey shut in her face when she attempted to enter. She died unexpectedly just 19 days later, Queen in name only.