She was the morganatic wife of George IV, whom he privately married in 1785 when he was still only the Prince of Wales. George had many ladies in his life, but his great love was undoubtedly Maria Fitzherbert, a devout Catholic widow who would not live with him outside of wedlock. They were together for many years. The marriage was considered illegal by the British government; an heir to the throne could not marry a Roman Catholic or without the King's permission. George eventually had to make a political marriage with a German princess, against his will. It was a legal marriage in England but was considered invalid by Rome; Maria was told by the Pope that she was the prince's true wife. However, because of his philandering, she had to seek a separation from him in 1811. He died in 1830 with Maria's miniature portrait around his neck.
Speaking of British monarchs and Catholics, Roman Miscellany has a great post about the last years of James II. Share