Princes and their friends, after settling on a place like a cloud of butterflies, often gorge themselves on its nectar and then flutter away to stimulate their appetites in fresh pastures. This time, however, fate riveted the Prince to Brighton. He fell in love with a dangerously unusual widow: Mrs. Fitzherbert. Mrs. Fitzherbert was a Roman Catholic; pious, virtuous, very comely. She neither welcomed the Prince’s attention nor responded to his ardor. She preferred to be left alone.
The Prince’s siege grew hectic: he swore, he cajoled, he promised; presents rained on her. Conducted in utmost secrecy, it was, of course, illegal. No Prince of the British royal family could marry without the sovereign’s consent; no consent could have been forthcoming from George III for a marriage to a Roman Catholic widow. On the Prince’s part the ceremony was meaningless folly; on hers, the necessary religious sanction to her bedding with the Prince.
In Mrs. Fitzherbert’s eyes, and in the eyes of her Church and of her fellow believers, the Prince was her husband. In English law, she could be nothing but his mistress. The Prince, of course, flaunted his conquest but strenuously denied, even to a friend as close as Charles James Fox, the method by which he had achieved it. Nevertheless, rumors reverberated, and George III, never a man of easy temper, regarded his son with so prejudiced an eye that he left him to stew in his debts.
During his frantic courtship the Prince, according to Lord Holand, had rolled in grief on Charles James Fox’s floor, crying by the hour and “swearing that he would abandon the country, forgo the crown, sell his jewels, and scrape together a competence to fly with her to America.” Instead of which, once wed, he drove off in ostentatious austerity to Brighton and installed Mrs. Fitzherbert conveniently near the farmhouse that he had begun to regard as his own.
As soon as Parliament accepted the denals of the Prince’s friends about his marriage, presuaded the King to grant him 10,000 pounds extra per year to settle debts, the Prince was able to devote himself to love, architecture, and interior decoration which, with food, drink, and music were to be the obsessions of his life. For more than forty years he pursued all of them at the pavilion he built for himself at Brighton, for like all compulsive builders and decorators, the Prince was never finished….
Undeterred, the Prince decided to employ more drastic measures. In 1784, Maria received a visit from the royal physician and two messengers. They told Maria the Prince had stabbed himself and that his dying wish was to see her. Maria agreed to go but only if Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, agreed to come with her. Georgiana was having a party when she was called away but, feeling she really had no choice, she agreed to go with them, leaving her sister Harriet in charge at Devonshire House. It was dark when they arrived at Carlton House, the residence of the Prince of Wales.
Here, the two women found Prinny sprawled across the sofa and covered in blood, crying and breathing with difficulty. Moved at the scene, Maria agreed to marr
m. All that was needed to seal the pact now was a ring which Georgiana reluctantly provided. Now, Prinny fell back on the sofa and seemed to rest more easily. The two women returned home. In the morning, Maria fled the country and went to France. It wasn’t just the realization the stunt was probably staged that made her pack her bags, she also knew their marriage wasn’t valid for the law….
…He was still in love with Maria, who, tired of spending time on the continent, returned to London in November 1785. She now agreed to marry him properly. On 15th December 1785, in her London home, the couple was married by Mr Bart, an Anglican priest. It was rumoured that he agreed to celebrate the wedding because the Prince had promised to pay his debts or even bail him out of prison. Read More:http://historyandotherthoughts.blogspot.ca/2011/11/george-prince-of-wales-secretly-weds.html