Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Portrait of Maria Anne Fitzherbert.
1788. 91.4 x 71 cm. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London, UK. More. [Order a Print]
Maria Anne Fitzherbert
(1756-1837), nee Smythe, a Roman Catholic, had been twice married and twice widowed when the future George IV saw her for the first time at Richmond and fell in love. In 1785 they were secretly married. According to the law no member of the royal family under the age of 25 could marry without the King’s permission, nor could an heir to the throne marry a Roman Catholic. So George denied that the marriage had ever taken place and Maria Anne Fitzherbert was always regarded as the king’s mistress