Charlotte’s Family: Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER

Queen Charlotte by studio of Allan Ramsay

Charlotte Sophia (19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818), daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen, Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744 – 1761), Queen Consort of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1761/1801 – 1830), Charlotte’s paternal grandmother

‘At the age of eighteen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Strelitz had been brought to England to marry, on the evening of her arrival, a young man, King George III, whom she had never met. She was a plain girl, small and thin, with fuzzy hair and a large mouthful of white teeth. “She looks very sensible, cheerful, and is remarkably genteel,” was Horace Walpole’s impression. During the very rough crossing from the Continent she remained in her cabin, playing little tunes on her harpsichord and singing; and this may be said to typify her demeanour as Queen. However stormy her life – and after the King became ill she suffered a great deal – she was able to withdraw from pain and misery by busying herself over small things. She knitted, she embroidered, she played with her little dogs, she collected – and read – books; she took snuff and bullied her daughters. She had courage and self-discipline, two queenly virtues, but in later life she developed a vile temper. The English never loved her, a fact of which she was aware. “The English people did not like me much, because I was not pretty,” she declared; “but the King was fond of driving a phaeton in those days, and once he overturned me in a turnip field, and that fall broke my nose. I think I was not quite so ugly after dat.” In fact, as she grew older, she grew less plain, and her Chamberlain, Colonel Disbrowe, remarked, “I do think that the bloom of her ugliness is going off.”

(an extract from Thea Holme’s ‘Prinny’s Daughter. A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales)

Picture: Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, by studio of Allan Ramsay, 1762. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 224

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