Friday, January 3, 2014

Queen, Queen Caroline

Dolly and Minerva come upon their archery rival, Sophia, keeping in shape with a bit of rope skipping. And reciting the bit of doggerel that demeans poor Queen Caroline!

     Queen, Queen Caroline
     Washed her hair with turpentine;
     Turpentine to make it shine,
     Queen, Queen Caroline.

After her wedding to the Prince Regent in 1796, Caroline was given a suitable home and the couple lived separately for the rest of their lives. In 1820, King George III finally died. The 57 year old Prince was crowned George IV on July 19, 1821 and Caroline took it upon herself to be present, although no one had included her in any plans for the event. George had spent the previous years trying any way he could to exclude her from any royal role. Poor Caroline attempted to enter Westminster Abbey, but guards, who had been posted in case of that very event, forcibly removed her. 

Caroline returned home and experienced a seizure of some kind. After two weeks of severe illness, she died on August 7.

The rope-skipping girl is an illustration from Henry Fielding's 1749 novel, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, or Tom Jones for short. As young Tom cuts a swath through all sorts of complicated situations and rowdy women, there's always the pure and artless Sophia Western back home. A grown woman would hardly be skipping rope, but the artist chose this activity to illustrate just how unspoiled Sophia was. Of course, Dolly and Minerva know it's all just an act.


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