Monthly Archives: December 2014

Charlotte’s Family: Princess Augusta

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL AUNT

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Augusta Sophia (8 November 1768 – 22 September 1840), second daughter of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, Charlotte’s paternal aunt

Portrait: Princess Augusta Aged 13 by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782, Royal Collection.

Charlotte’s Family: Edward Duke of Kent

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL UNCLE

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Edward Augustus (2 November 1767 – 23 January 1820), fourth son of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, the Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1799 – 1827), General and commander-in-chief of British forces in North America and the Governor of Gibraltar, father of Queen Victoria, Charlotte’s paternal uncle.

Picture: Portrait of Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, by Sir William Beechey, 1814 (National Portrait Galllery)

Charlotte’s Family: Charlotte Princess Royal

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL AUNT

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Charlotte Augusta Matilda (29 September 1766 – 5 October 1828), first daughter of of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, Princess Royal (1789 – 1797), Queen of Württemberg (1797 – 1816), Charlotte’s paternal aunt

Portrait: Charlotte of Hanover by an unknown artist, 19th century, private collection

Charlotte’s Family: William IV

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL UNCLE

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William Henry (21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837), third son of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, the Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (1789 – 1830), King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover as William IV (1830 – 1837), Charlotte’s paternal uncle.

Picture: Portrait of William IV of the United Kingdom by Martin Archer Shee, 1833 (Royal Collection)

Charlotte’s Family: Frederick Duke of York

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL UNCLE

360px-Frederick,_Duke_of_York_in_Garter_Robes

Frederick Augustus (16 August 1763 – 5 January 1827), second son of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, the Duke of York and Albany (1784 – 1827), Commander-in-Chief of the British army during The Napoleonic Wars who reorganised and modernised the army significantly, an heir presumptive to the throne of the United Kingdom and Hanover after his niece’s sudden death, Charlotte’s paternal uncle.

Picture: Portrait of Frederick, Duke of York in Garter Robes by Joshua Reynolds, 1788 (Royal Collection)

‘Miss Charlotte and Miss Annie’

‘At two years old, Charlotte made a friend nearer her own age. Anne, or Nancy, Barnard was the orphaned niece of Thomas Deacon, the Prince’s coachman at Carlton House, and lived over the stables with her aunt and uncle. She was nearly two years older than Charlotte, and the little girls played together with their dolls and toys. “Sometimes,” said Anne in later life, “the Princess took me round the waist and danced round the garden with me…For three months we learned out lessons together.” Anne would present herself at nine o’clock each morning, and the little girls dined together, and were together all day. Who was the enlightened person who permitted this friendship? Perhaps the Prince, who used to pat Nancy on the head when he visited the stables, decided that she might be a good friend for his daughter: the fact that they learned their lessons together suggests a plan from on high. However this may be, the friendship brought out Charlotte’s best qualities, her warm – heartedness, her generosity and her loyalty. “The Princess,” said Anne, “hadn’t a bit of pride. She used to say we were Miss Charlotte and Miss Annie.”

This is in marked contrast to the attitude of Charlotte’s cousin, Princess Victoria, some twenty years later. A little girl, Lady Jane Ellison, was brought to play with her. “I may call you Jane,” said the future Queen Victoria, hastily removing all her toys, “but you must not call me Victoria.”

When Charlotte left Carlton House she gave “Miss Annie” a keepsake – a small wax doll with bright blue eyes, known to the little girls as “the great doll’s baby”. This plaything, with its well-worn waxen face, is now in the archives of the London Museum. It is about twelve inches long, dressed in a white muslin gown, with a straw bonnet trimmed with pale blue satin; and with it is Anne Barnard’s account of her friendship with the Princess, which endured to the end of Charlotte’s life.’

[an extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter: A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ by Thea Home]

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Picture: a 19th century wax doll http://dollmusem.blogspot.com/2013/06/wax-dolls-back-to-19th-century-and-our.html

The King Falls Into Madness Again

It became a cloak and dagger situation. The Prince consulted Charles James Fox, who wrote a few days later of “the desperate attempt that is making to take the Princess from your Royal Highness”, and advised the Prince to remove his daughter immediately from Woolwich to Carlton House. “Where she is now,” he continues, “she cannot be safe. For God’s sake, Sir, let no one persuade you that this is not a matter of the highest importance to you.”

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Elton*, intervened. He advised the Prince to wait till the King returned from Weymouth before taking further action. He warned him of the effect that any drastic measure might have upon the King’s mind. Now, three years after his last illness, the King was giving unmistakable signs that his mind was unbalanced. Although able to dictate letters and deal with state affairs, in his private life he behaved oddly, buying houses and giving extravagant presents. His family watched him with growing alarm. They viewed his increasing kindness to the Princess of Wales with dismay. He conferred upon her the Rangership of Greenwich, and offered to give her Greenwich Park, which she refused. The Prince’s secretary and spy, Colonel McMahon, reported that he received her at Kew because at Windsor “he knew that the Queen and Princesses would be rude to her”. He treated his daughter – in – law with the greatest kindness and affection, but, sadly, his attitude to the Queen worsened, as illness warped his mind. He reverted to the idea which had possessed him in 1788, that his true Queen was the Countess of Pembroke – ‘Queen Esther’. He would like to live with her, he said, in the Great Lodge in Windsor Park; but if she declined his offer, he would transfer it to the Duchess of Rutland. With one or other of these ladies he would “live snug at the Lodge’ while the Queen went to London to hold weekly Drawing Rooms.

It was hoped that sea bathing at Weymouth would restore the King, and although he had to be restrained from riding his horse into church, he seems to have presented his usual benign and friendly countenance to the world, and The Times correspondent, comparing the respectability of Weymouth with the vulgarity of Brighton, reported that ‘the piety, the morality, the decorum of a virtuous Court shed their influence around…”

But on their return from Weymouth, the King and the Queen, at her instigation, began to live apart: she was frightened of him. Whether at Windsor or at Buckingham Palace, she made sure that there would be no question of their sleeping together, and locked the door against her husband. Her temper suffered under the strain: she bullied her daughters and snapped at the King. She sided with the Prince in royal rows.

The King’s position cannot have been happy. He was beginning to go blind, and could not recognize people across a room; yet, to outsiders at least, he appeared in excellent health.

“Our good King,” wrote Lord Henley, who often saw him at Windsor, “continues mind and body, the sight excepted, better than I have seen him for years…This morning I met him in the Park at ten o’clock and rode with him until a quarter past one. He was cheerful, and we had more than one of his hearty laughs, which I have not heard before for some time.”

This was, indeed, the general impression. At the King’s request “that horrible doctor* had been dismissed, and he believed himself, at sixty – six, fit and well.

*Dr. Samuel Foart Simmons, Physician to St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics.He was called in in 1804 when the King refused to see Dr. Willis; brought his assistants and put the King in a strait – jacket. He was with difficulty persuaded to go, at the insistence of the Prince of Wales.

[an extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter: A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ by Thea Home]

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 * Correct spelling: ‘Eldon’. More about him here.