Maria Anne Fitzherbert
When he was Prince of Wales, George IV was infatuated with Mrs Fitzherbert. She was a Roman Catholic, and had been twice married and widowed when, in December 1785, they secretly married. But legally the marriage was invalid. The Act of Settlement decreed that if an heir apparent married a Roman Catholic, he forfeited all right to the crown; and the Marriage Act stated that any member of the royal family who wished to marry under the age of twenty five, could only do so with the King’s consent—and George III would never have given that. Nevertheless, the Prince and his morganatic wife lived together for nearly twenty years, and when they finally separated, Mrs Fitzherbert was given a generous pension of £6,000 a year—probably in excess of £50,000 by today’s standards. George was undoubtedly devoted to her although never, of course, faithful; when he died in 1830, he was wearing a miniature portrait of her round his neck.
Mrs Fitzherbert came to Bath in 1788-89, to stay with her mother, Mrs Smythe, at 27 Great Pulteney Street.