The King and the Vice Queen: George IV's Last Love

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Although George IV's affair with the Catholic widow Maria Fitzherbert is well known, few have even heard of his last great love, Elizabeth Conyngham; the woman many dubbed his 'Vice Queen'. For a decade, as offical mistress, Elizabeth's greed for jewels, her constant pressure on the king to promote her friends and family, and her determined political influence, caused a political conflict between the king and his ministers. Her presence at court provoked quarrels with the Duke of Wellington and led ultimately to the suicide of Lord Castlereagh. The satirical artists of the day made her the subject of over 300 scurrilous cartoons. Tom Ambrose sets out to chart the course of this scandalous affair from its early beginnings in the overheated salons of the Brighton Pavilion to the King's declining years at Windsor. All the great characters of Regency England enter the story, from the Duke of Wellington to the blackmailing society courtesan Hariette Wilson.