Queen Caroline: Background information when reading The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

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The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

by Antonia Hodgson

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson X
The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2016, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2017, 400 pages

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Queen Caroline

This article relates to The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

Print Review

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins is set during the eighteenth century in England, the time when King George II and his wife, Queen Caroline, ruled Great Britain. As reviewer Becky H. says, in the novel, "the picture presented of Queen Caroline is delightful — and convincingly nefarious."

Queen Caroline Queen Caroline was a native German born in the small state of Anspach. She caught the eye of George Augustus who at that time was son of the Elector of Hanover in Germany (an elector was essentially equivalent of a prince). The two were soon married and after George's father, King George I, passed away, Caroline's husband, George II, took over the throne of Great Britain and Caroline became Queen.

It is said that Queen Caroline was quite "unprincessy," in that she mingled freely with servants and intellectuals refusing to stick solely to being a sideshow to the King. Like most intelligent women of her time, Queen Caroline knew how to manipulate her husband to make things happen.

She saw the political astuteness in Sir Robert Walpole, who was the chief minister for King George I, her father-in-law, who incidentally hated the couple so much that he had them banished. Sir Walpole had recommended that England extend relationships with the newly formed American colonies, a move that was unpopular when first introduced. But once King George II came into power, the Queen subtly persuaded him toward executing Walpole's policies.

Queen Caroline was an ardent believer in science and famously helped calm frayed nerves between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, two ground-breaking scientists and mathematicians. She was one of the early adopters of inoculation, making sure her children were protected against smallpox. Queen Caroline was a voracious reader and helped set up a large library at St. James' Palace. While the exact cause of her death remains a matter of debate, many believe that she died from complications from an umbilical hernia.

Picture of Queen Caroline portrait by Charles Jervas, National Portrait Gallery

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins. It originally ran in March 2016 and has been updated for the March 2017 paperback edition.

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