Queen Caroline, wearing a black dress, hat with white ostrich plumes and carrying a parasol, drives away from her trial at the House of Lords in a carriage drawn by six bay horses. Two mounted soldiers watch the carriage and in the background is a vast cheering crowd. Westminster Hall is on the right and the buildings on the corner of Whitehall (with more cheering spectators hanging out of the windows) on the left. Caroline had arrived back in England from her exile abroad on June 5th 1820, and went to stay firstly in South Audley Street with her staunch supporter Alderman Matthew Wood and later as the guest of the Margravine of Brandenburgh at Brandenburgh House. News of her arrival was greeted by the King with consternation and loathing. He refused her all Royal Prerogatives and immediately demanded that Lord Liverpool and the House of Lords start divorce proceedings. Although there was little doubt that the foolish and reckless Caroline had committed adultery with her courier Pergami and others, after her exile from England and travels in Italy and the Middle East, eventually the trial was halted. The questioning of Caroline’s dismissed servants (especially the steward Teodoro Majocchi and maid Louise Demont) brought from the Continent as Crown witnesses, the hypocrisy of the King in accusing his wife of adultery and Brougham’s brilliant defense, generated an enormous outpouring of public support for the Queen, as evidenced here in this engraving. Her popularity and the sympathy for her cause felt amongst the working classes, made the threat of armed insurrection against her husband and the much loathed, repressive, Tory ministry of Lord Liverpool a very real possibility. After she was refused admittance to the Coronation on July 19th 1821, she was taken ill at Brandenburgh House and died (much to the King’s delight) on Aug 7th 1821.
A Correct Representation of Her Majesty Queen Caroline Returning from the House of Lords, 1820.
Isaac Robert Cruikshank after R. W. A Correct Representation of Her Majesty Queen Caroline Returning from the House of Lords, 1820. London, G. Humphrey c. August 1820 Aquatint Original hand-colouring 210 x 410mm Misc neat marginal repairs, slight rubbing in corners