Maria Anne Fitzherbert
Maria Anne Fitzherbert
    Maria Anne Fitzherbert
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Maria Anne Fitzherbert
    Wife of King George IV; b. 26 July, 1756 (place uncertain); d. at Brighton, England, 29 March, 1837; eldest child of Walter Smythe, of Bainbridge, Hampshire, younger son of Sir John Smythe, of Eshe Hall, Durham and Acton Burnell Park, Salop, a Catholic baronet. In 1775 she married Edward Weld, of Lulworth, Dorset (uncle of Cardinal Weld), who died before the year was out. Her next husband was Thomas Fitzherbert, of Swynnerton, Staffordshire, whom she married in 1778 and who died in 1781. A young and beautiful widow with a jointure of £2000 a year, she took up her abode in 1782 at Richmond, Surrey, having at the same time a house in town. In or about 1784 happened her first meeting with George, Prince of Wales, then about twenty-two years of age, she about six years older. He straightway fell in love with her. Marriage with her princely suitor being legally impossible, Mrs. Fitzherbert turned a deaf ear to the prince's solicitations, to get rid of which she withdrew to the Continent. However, on receipt of an honourable offer from the prince, she returned after a while to England, and they were privily married in her own London drawing-room and before two witnesses, 15 Dec., 1785, the officiating minister being an Anglican curate.
    Thenceforth, though in separate houses, they lived together as man and wife, she being treated on almost every hand with unbounded respect and deference, until 1787, when, upon the prince's application to Parliament for payment of his debts, Fox authoritatively declared in the House of Commons that no marriage between the prince and Mrs. Fitzherbert had ever taken place. However, upon the prince's solemn and oft-repeated assurance that Fox had no authority for this degrading denial, the breach between the offended wife and her husband was healed. So they continued to live together on a matrimonial footing until 1794, when, being about to contract a forced legal marriage with his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, the prince very reluctantly cast Mrs. Fitzherbert off, at the same time continuing the pension of £3000 a year, which he had allowed her ever since their marriage. Shortly after the birth of Princess Charlotte in 1796, the prince, who hated the Princess of Wales, separated from her and besought the forsaken Mrs. Fitzherbert to return to him. This, after consultation with Rome, she at length did in 1800, and remained with him some nine years more, when they virtually parted. At last, in 1811, because of a crowning affront put upon her on occasion of a magnificent fête given at Carlton House by the prince, lately made regent, at which entertainment no fixed place at the royal table had been assigned her, she broke off connexion with the prince for ever; withdrawing into private life upon an annuity of £6000. Her husband, as King George IV, died in 1830, with a locket containing her miniature round his neck, and was so buried. Mrs. Fitzherbert survived him seven years, dying at the age of eighty, at Brighton, where she was buried in the Catholic church of St. John the Baptist, to the erection of which she had largely contributed, and wherein a mural monument to her memory is still to be seen.
    KEBBEL in Dict. Nat. Biog., s. v.; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., s. v.; Annual Register for 1837 (London); LANGDALE, Memoirs of Mrs. Fitzherbert (London, 1856); WILKINS, Mrs. Fitzherbert and George IV (London, 1905).
    C.T. BOOTHMAN
    Transcribed by WGKofron With thanks to Fr. John Hilkert and St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Maria Anne Fitzherbert — Maria Anne Fitzherbert, (Maria Anne Smythe), née le 26 juillet 1756, décédée le 27 mars 1837. Elle fut l épouse de Georges IV du Royaume Uni. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Fitzherbert, Maria Anne — • Wife of King George IV; b. 26 July, 1756 (place uncertain); d. at Brighton, England, 29 March, 1837 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Maria Fitzherbert — Born 26 July 1756(1756 07 26) Died 27 March 1837(1837 03 27) (aged 80) …   Wikipedia

  • Fitzherbert — (Maria Anne Fitzherbert 1756–1837) the first wife of the British king George IV. They were married secretly in 1785, before George became king, but the marriage was illegal because it did not have the king’s official permission. Mrs Fitzherbert… …   Universalium

  • Maria Fitzherbert — George Romney: Maria Fitzherbert, Öl auf Leinwand, undatiert Maria Anne Fitzherbert, geborene Mary Anne Smythe (* 26. Juli 1756 in Brighton; † 27. März 1837 ebenda), war eine zweifache katholische Witwe und erste Ehefrau des späteren König …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fitzherbert — George Romney: Maria Fitzherbert, Öl auf Leinwand, undatiert Maria Anne Fitzherbert, geborene Mary Anne Smythe (* 26. Juli 1756 in Brighton; † 27. März 1837 ebenda), war eine zweifache katholische Witwe und erste Ehefrau des späteren König …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • FITZHERBERT, MRS. —    a Roman Catholic lady, maiden name Maria Anne Smythe, with whom, after her second widowhood, George IV., while Prince of Wales, contracted a secret marriage in 1785, which, however, under the Royal Marriage Act, was declared invalid (1756… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Fitzherbert, Maria — ▪ British consort née  Mary Anne Smythe  born July 1756, Brambridge?, Hampshire, Eng. died March 29, 1837, Brighton, Sussex       secret wife of the Prince of Wales, the future George IV of Great Britain.       Of an old Roman Catholic family,… …   Universalium

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