27. Queen Caroline – Influential Lover
Caroline Matilda was 15 years old when she was crowned the Queen of Denmark and Norway after marrying her cousin King Christian VII in 1766.
The King and Queen were said to have a “loveless marriage”, with Caroline ever lonely and isolated without solace from friends or relatives. King Christian was said to be distant and unwelcoming to his wife with an undiagnosed mental illness of sorts.
In an attempt to tackle his mental illness, the King sought the help of a charismatic and well-spoken German doctor named Johann Friedrich Struensee. Not only was he rubbing shoulders with the unfriendly King, but he caught the attention of the neglected queen, and later the two began an affair.
In 1771, Queen Caroline gave birth to Princess Louise Augusta, her second child. It is widely believed that the Princess was the Queen and Struensee’s lovechild and she was subtly referred to as “la petite Struensee”.
Not long after, the influential German doctor got propelled to the status of a de facto leader, where he infiltrated his liberal ideas that were heavily influenced by the Age of Enlightenment that swept across Europe at the time.
His ideas were very much threats to the nobility which quickly gained him enemies. Soon after his moments of glory, he and the Queen’s affair was made public and the two were arrested and charged immediately.
Queen Caroline admitted to the charge of adultery, which led to Struensee’s execution, the end of her marriage to King Christian, and her subsequent deportation. Caroline died at age 23 from scarlet fever.