Caroline was born on March 1, 1683, at Ansbach in Germany, the daughter of Johann Friedrich Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Orphaned early on, she grew up an intelligent, cultured and attractive woman, much sought after as a bride. However, when the opportunity to become Queen of Spain presented itself, she turned it down because it would have meant renouncing her Protestant faith. Shortly afterwards, she met and married George, son of the Elector of Hanover, who would later become heir to the throne of Great Britain. Their wedding took place in Hanover in 1705, and their first child, Prince Frederick Louis, was born in 1707.
On the accession of King George I of the United Kingdom in 1714, Caroline's husband became Prince of Wales and she became Princess of Wales. Because her father-in-law had divorced his wife some years before, there was no queen, and Caroline was the most important woman in the kingdom. She soon struck up a friendship with Robert Walpole, the prime minister, and his influence would help ensure that the Prince and Princess of Wales were able to maintain their position and lifestyle even after Prince George had fallen out with his father.
In general, Caroline's marriage to George was a successful one, though he continued to keep mistresses. He was never her intellectual equal, and a satirical verse of the period went:
"You may strut, dapper George, but 'twill all be in vain,
We all know 'tis Queen Caroline, not you, that reign."
Caroline became queen on the death of her father-in-law in 1727. In the course of the next few years, she and her husband fought a constant battle against their eldest son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, who had been left behind in Germany when they came to England, and only arrived to join them in 1728, by which time he was an adult and had formed many bad habits. The friction between Frederick and his parents, especially his mother, was constant and showed itself in numerous ways. He opposed his father's political beliefs, and, once married, applied to Parliament for the increase in financial allowance which had been denied him. Caroline, despite having personally selected her new daughter-in-law, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, seemed determined that the marriage should not be a happy one, and was dismayed when she learned, in 1736, that Augusta was pregnant. A peculiar episode followed, in which the prince, on discovering that his wife had gone into labour, sneaked her out of Hampton Court Palace in the middle of the night, in order to ensure that his mother could not be present at the birth.
Further quarrels followed, and a complete estrangement occurred in the remaining months before Caroline's death. Having given birth to ten children in the course of her marriage, she died of complications following a rupture of the womb. She died on November 20, 1737, and was buried at Westminster Abbey. Her husband had arranged for a pair of matching coffins with removable sides, in order that, when he followed her to the grave twenty-three years later, they could lie together again.