The members of the German Workers’ Educational Association who gathered at the Red Lion were effectively the forerunners of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Then, as now, the party’s entire membership fitted comfortably into just the one room.
This is the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. It was built around 1540 and refurbished in 1837.
On the evening of 8 April 1795, the future King George IV married his first cousin, Princess Caroline of Brunswick, here. It was one of the most disastrous marriages in the history of the royal family.
‘I am not well. Pray get me a glass of brandy,’ George told a courtier, on first seeing his bride three days earlier. Caroline was equally appalled, complaining that he looked a lot fatter than his portrait.
But duty called. George was hoping that his debts would be cleared if he married a Protestant princess and fathered an heir to the throne. He invited the dandy Beau Brummell to the wedding and turned up drunk himself. He was supported – literally – by the Dukes of Bedford and Roxburghe.
George was so drunk that he looked as if he was about to walk out halfway through the ceremony. He was drunk again on the first night of the honeymoon. According to Caroline, he ‘passed the greatest part of his bridal night under the grate, where he fell, and where I left him.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 99. That’s Caroline’s story, but George IV gave a different reason for not warming to his wife on their first night together. What was his excuse?