In 1817 a woman posed as the fictional Princess Caraboo of Javasu. She fooled a small British town for months into believing she was a princess who had been captured by pirates, jumped overboard in the British Channel and swam ashore. She was later recognised as a cobbler’s daughter from Devon.

Princess Caraboo

For the film, see Princess Caraboo (film).

Mary Baker (née Willcocks; 11 November 1792 (alleged), Witheridge, Devonshire, England – 24 December 1864, Bristol, England) was a noted impostor. Posing as the fictional Princess Caraboo, Baker pretended to come from a far off island kingdom. Baker fooled a British town for some months.

Biography

“Princess Caraboo”, by Edward Bird (oil on panel, 1817)

On 3 April 1817, a cobbler in Almondsbury in Gloucestershire, England, met an apparently disoriented young woman wearing exotic clothes who was speaking an incomprehensible language. The cobbler’s wife took this stranger to the Overseer of the Poor, who placed her in the hands of the local county magistrate, Samuel Worrall, who lived… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

8 thoughts on “In 1817 a woman posed as the fictional Princess Caraboo of Javasu. She fooled a small British town for months into believing she was a princess who had been captured by pirates, jumped overboard in the British Channel and swam ashore. She was later recognised as a cobbler’s daughter from Devon.”

  1. Babstana

    Played by Phoebe Cates in the movie.

  2. pinniped1

    During that month, she set up a GoFundMe that raised 72,000 pounds…

  3. StickSauce

    Multiple things bother me about that story, not just her deception. The fact that the town, by implied social pressure alone, elevated her treatment to that of a princess.

  4. Lady_Xellototh

    I learned that yesterday, off a Podcast!

  5. prince_caraboo

    I appreciate many are bigger but is Bristol a small British town?

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