In 1795, Princess Caroline of Brunswick married her cousin ‘Prinny’, the Prince Regent, (later King George IV). It was not a happy marriage. Prinny who had married Caroline for her fat fortune, was far more interested in his mistress, Maria Fitzherbert. The philandering prince started spreading rumours about Caroline’s adulterous and slovenly ways – apparently, she was hopelessly adulterous, never washed, rarely changed her underclothes and had bad breath because of her fondness for raw garlic and onions.
After giving birth to a daughter, Caroline was banished to Montague House in Greenwich. Supposedly she consoled herself with wild orgies and scandalous affairs. Apparently of an evening it was normal for her to single out a man to ‘share conversation’, and the two of them would retire to into a seperate room or the garden.
According to one of her ladies-in-waiting, Lady Hester Stanhope, one of the rooms at Montague House contained an automated chinese figure which performed obscene movements! It was noted ‘How the sea captain’s used to colour up when she danced about, exposing herself like an opera girl; and then she gartered below the knee: she was so low, so vulgar!’
When Caroline exiled herself and left Britain in 1814, in a fit Prinny had Montague House torn down. This site is now near the Ranger’s House in Greenwich Park. Montague House, no longer exists, but what remains is steps down to a sunken bath which was unearthed in 1909. Although she may have been unfaithful, at least she wasn’t unhygienic.*
Montague House was five hundred yards from its stables, kitchen gardens and outhouses. These were all located next to a building called the Pagoda, noted for its Chinese roof. This house still stands today in Pagoda Gardens in Blackheath.
*Extracts taken from Secret London, An Unsual Guide (link to amazon) and Greenwich by Clive Aslet