DESCRIPTION: "Queen, queen, Caroline, Dipped her hair in turpentine, Turpentine made it shine, Queen, queen Caroline"
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (GreigDuncan8)
KEYWORDS: nonballad royalty
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1643, "Queen Caroline" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Carrington Bolton, Counting-Out Rhymes of Children (New York, 1888 ("Digitized by Google")), #785 p.116, ("Queen, queen, Caroline")
NOTES [400 words]: The current description is all of a Bolton text from Edinburgh. Except for spelling and punctuation differences, it is the same as GreigDuncan8."And so began the mad, fantastic summer of 1820, the summer when international politics, sport and even the London season were forgotten. The Queen was the only subject of interest....
And in all four kingdoms the younger generation were chanting
Queenie, queenie Caroline
Washed her hair in turpentine .
a song which is heard in the slums of Dublin today" (Source: Joanna Richardson, The Disastrous Marriage; a Study of George IV and Caroline of Brunswick (1960, London), pp. 137-138.) - BS
There were in fact two Queens Caroline, great-grandmother-in-law (if there is such a thing) and great-granddaughter-in-law. Caroline of (Brandenburg-)Anbsbach, 1683-1737, was the wife of George II; Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821) was the wife of George IV, the eldest son of George III (who was the grandson of George II).
George II and Caroline of Anspach got along pretty well despite his infidelities. George IV was also a womanizer, and he and Caroline of Brunswick did *not* get along; OxfordCompanion, p. 169, calls their marriage a "spectacular disaster. According to her own testimony, intimacy was confined to the first night, and certainly the couple separated after the birth of their first daughter."
When George IV took the throne (1820), he supposedly offered her a pension to stay abroad and leave him alone. She refused it and came back to England after a long period abroad -- but died just weeks after George's coronation, which no doubt saved everyone (except her) a good deal of grief.
Lofts, p. 151, observes that her behavior once she and her husband parted was so scandalous as to prompt an investigation, although it found that she was merely indiscrete, not adulterous. But her indiscretion apparently reached the point of appearing topless in public (Lofts, p. 153). No doubt she was also quite capable of using turpentine to try to color her hair.
Macalpine/Hunter, pp. 247-250, suggest that Caroline's problem was porphyria, a disease she shared with her uncle George III and her first cousin and husband George IV. That George III had mental problems is certain; that the cause was porphyria (a genetic disease which both might have inherited from their common ancestors) is possible but in need of demonstration by DNA testing. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
- OxfordCompanion: John Cannon, editor, The Oxford Companion to British History, Oxford, 1997
- Lofts: Norah Lofts, Queens of England, Doubleday, 1977
- Macalpine/Hunter: Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter, George III and the Mad Business, Pantheon, 1969
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