Image: A comic print of a group of people gathered in an indeterminate location, with some tree branches, a pitched tent, and a donkey visible at the right-hand edge. Below the image the title 'The Union Club Masquerade' is printed in capitals. The central figures, facing one another, are George, Prince of Wales and Maria Fitzherbert. George is dressed as Henry VIII in a red and gold tunic, black coat, and wide feathered hat. A dashed line indicates that he is speaking these lines: "Who should be loved but you? So lov'd that ev'n my crown and self are vile when you are by. Come to arms and be thy Harry's angel; Shine thro' my cares and make my crown sit easy." He has a wide stance and rests his hands on his hips, and addressesF itzherbert, who wears a long pink gown, her hair covered with a Tudor-style gable hood adorned with three feathers. She has an exaggerated Roman nose and gestures with one hand as though refusing an offer. She is saying "I swear again, I would not be a Queen For all the World." Like all the figures in the print, they both carry masks. Behind them, a tall figure in a blue tunic and angel wings holds two long trumpets and blows into one of them. A speech bubble issues from the end of the trumpet, saying "What strange creatures are the greatest part of Mankind! What a composition of Contradictions! Always pursuing happiness, yet generally thro' such ways as lead to misery: admiring every Virtue in others, indulging themselves in every Vice: Fond of Fame yet labouring for Infamy." To the left, a bald man dressed as a clergyman in a long black robe and crucifix is in conversation with another man dressed as a peasant in a brown coat and wide-brimmed black hat. The peasant says "It is not Love but strong libidinous Will That triumphs o'er him; The joys of marriage are the heav'n on earth, Life's Paradise, B me if it isn't." The final phrase is censored, implying that he uses impolite language. The clergyman replies: "He counsels a divorce: a loss of her That like a jewel, has hung twenty years About his neck, yet never lost her lustre Of her that loves him with that excellence That angels love good men with; even of her, That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls, Will bless the King. Beside them is a man dressed as a toddler, in skirts and a black cap, carrying a a rattle, and supported by a wooden frame used for learning to walk. On the right, a group of men, including one wearing a fool's cap, are betting on a cock fight. In the foreground, three women sit around the entrance to the tent and gesture in the direction of the central figures.
In 1802, George, Prince of Wales, attended the Union Club Masquerade dressed as Henry VIII.
This satirical engraving by Charles Williams makes the most of the opportunity to link the two men. George appears as Henry VIII, with Maria Fitzherbert as his 'Anne Boleyn'. The pair had wed illegally in 1785, ten years before George's disastrous official marriage to Caroline of Brunswick.
The dialogue exploits the anti-Catholicism of Shakespeare's play, the source for most of its dialogue. Fitzherbert denies any ambition for the throne - but may protest too much. Meanwhile, the 11th Duke of Norfolk - a suspected crypto-Catholic - carries out his own machinations, dressed as a monk.