In 1785, George, then the 21-year-old Prince of Wales, secretly wed Maria Fitzherbert — an unsuitable match for an heir apparent in almost every way. She was older than him by six years, Catholic, a commoner and had twice been widowed, so was not a virgin. Thus the marriage was deemed illegal, as George had not sought the King’s permission beforehand. The prince’s extravagant lifestyle and wasteful spending severely strained his relationship with his father, King George III, and eventually led him into debt. In 1795 Parliament agreed to settle his debts, but only if he married Princess Caroline of Brunswick, in what was ultimately a loveless union. They separated after having one daughter. George kept a number of mistresses (his earliest, actress Anne Robinson, dating back to when he was 17), with whom he fathered several illegitimate children.