Caroline Matilda of Great Britain

Caroline Matilda of Great Britain

Infobox Danish Royalty|majesty|consort
name = Caroline Matilda of Great Britain
title = Queen Consort of Denmark and Norway

caption = Portrait by Jens Juel, 1771
reign = 8 November 176610 May 1775
spouse = Christian VII of Denmark
issue = Frederick VI of Denmark
Louise Augusta of Denmark
royal house = House of Oldenburg
House of Hanover
full name = Caroline Matilda
"Danish: Caroline Mathilde"
titles = "HM" The Queen
"HRH" Princess Caroline MatildaThe [ announcement] of her bethrothal in "The London Gazette" refer to her as "Princess Caroline Matilda"]
father = Frederick, Prince of Wales
mother = Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
date of birth = birth date|1751|7|11|df=y
place of birth = Leicester House, London
date of christening = 22 July 1751
date of death = death date and age|1775|5|10|1751|7|11|df=y
place of death = Celle, Germany
date of burial = 13 May 1775
place of burial = Celle, Germany|

Princess Caroline Matilda ( _da. Caroline Mathilde; 11 July 175110 May 1775), was a princess of Great Britain and Ireland, sister of George III and queen of Denmark and Norway from 1766 to 1772.

Early life

Caroline Matilda was the youngest child of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, hence her title. Her father died suddenly about three months before her birth. She was born at Leicester House in London, and was given the style and title "HRH" Princess Caroline Matilda, as daughter of the Prince of Wales, though, by the time of her birth, the title of Prince of Wales had passed to her brother. Both of her names were used due to her aunt, Princess Caroline, being alive.


At the age of fifteen, Caroline Mathilde, as she was known in Denmark, left her family behind in Britain in order to travel to Denmark and marry her cousin, Christian VII of Denmark. The wedding took place on 8 November 1766 at Christiansborg Castle. Her brother was anxious about the marriage, even though he wasn't fully aware that the bridegroom was mentally ill.

Caroline Matilda had two children, both of whom were officially fathered by Christian VII.
*Frederick VI of Denmark (1768–1839)
*Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark (1771–1843)

On 28 January 1768 Caroline Mathilde gave birth to the Crown Prince, later to become King Frederick VI of Denmark and Norway. In May of the same year Christian VII took his long tour of Europe, including stays in Altona, Paris and London. At the same time Caroline Mathilde spent the summer at Frederiksborg Castle with her new child before returning to Copenhagen in the autumn.

The king returned to Copenhagen on 12 January 1769, bringing with him Johann Friedrich Struensee as royal physician, and later minister in his court. He had met Struensee in Altona during the beginning of his travels. Struensee could apparently handle the king's instability, which was a great relief to the king's advisers, and the king developed a confidence in him.

Caroline Mathilde was unhappy in her marriage, neglected and spurned by the king, and affected by his illness. Struensee encouraged the king to improve his relationship with Caroline Mathilde, and Christian VII showed his attention to her in the form of a three-day birthday party on 22 July 1769.


The Queen was well aware that Struensee was behind these improvements, and her interest in the charming doctor developed. They entered into a love affair in the spring of 1770. On 17 June 1771 the royal court took summer residence at Hirschholm Palace in present-day Hørsholm municipality. On 7 July, Caroline Mathilde gave birth to her second child, Princess Louise Auguste, whose father was almost certainly Struensee.

The court moved to Frederiksborg Palace on 19 November and then back to Christiansborg Castle on 8 January 1772.

Struensee and Caroline Mathilde were both arrested in the middle of the night between 16 January and 17 January, after a masked ball at the royal theatre at Christiansborg Castle. Caroline Mathilde was taken to Kronborg Castle to await her judgement. Struensee and his accomplice Enevold Brandt were executed on 28 April 1772.

Later life

Caroline Mathilde was divorced, and deported on board an English frigate to neighbouring Celle, Germany on 28 May. She never saw her children again.

She did not give up hope of returning to Denmark and seeing her ex-husband deposed, but her indiscreet behaviour dismayed her brother, and he was reluctant to have her back in England, even if she had been willing to return.

She died suddenly of scarlet fever at Celle on 10 May 1775.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*11 July 17518 November 1766: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Caroline Matilda
*8 November 176610 May 1775: "Her Majesty" The Queen of Denmark and Norway



In 1969 the British writer Norah Lofts published "The Lost Queen", a biographical novel of the life of Queen Caroline Matilda.

In 1999 the Swedish writer Per Olov Enquist published "The visit of the royal physician" ("Livläkarens besök"), which tells the story of Struensee.

In 2006 the British historian Stella Tillyard published "A Royal Affair: George III and his Scandalous Siblings ", which includes a long account of Queen Caroline Matilda.


*da icon Amdisen, Asser. "Til nytte og fornøjelse Johann Friedrich Struensee (1737-1772)". Denmark: Akademisk Forlag, 2002. ISBN 8750037307.
*da icon Bregnsbo, Michael. "Caroline Mathilde: magt og skæbne : en biografi". Denmark: Aschehoug, 2007. ISBN 9788711118566
*Tilliyard, Stella. "A Royal Affair: George III and his Scandalous Siblings". London: Chatto & Windus, 2006. ISBN 9780701173067

External links

* [ Henry Churchyard "Royal Genealogies, Part 10"]

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