Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Green Bag

The Prince Regent did his worst to discredit his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, in any way possible. In 1806, a secret commission was set up called, inappropriately, "The Delicate Investigation". George wanted to prove that Caroline was having affairs, and as the investigation became widely public, it was anything but delicate. The previous year, Caroline had taken in a three-month-old baby boy, William Austin, and rumors flew that the child was Caroline's. George had surrounded Caroline with his own choice of ladies-in-waiting, who were more than happy to deliver slanderous reports. As her own daughter, Charlotte, had been taken from her home, her lonely mother's heart had driven her to adopt 8 or 9 children, who were sent out to be fostered by nearby families. Eventually, a Sophia Austin testified to the commission that little William was hers.

Socially isolated by George's decrees, Caroline left England for some years. She hired a manservant, Bartolomeo Pergami, and as he was always by her side, rumors again flew. George was determined to find grounds for divorce in all this and set up another commission to gather evidence. All very complicated, and meanwhile, George found himself king. Caroline returned from the continent and was thrown into a bewildering situation. George was doing all he could to get rid of her, or at very least, strip her of any royal position. Part of the investigation against her was the Green Bag. Caroline's apartments were searched thoroughly for any evidence that she was living with Pergami, and whatever evidence found was to be put into special green cloth bags. The caricature artists had a field day with the green bags, usually pointing back at George, who could fill countless bags with his own evidence.

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