‘One November morning, when the snow lay on the ground the Princess of Wales, dressed elegantly if unsuitably in a lilac satin pelisse, yellow hald – boots and a small lilac satin cap lined with sable, walked across Blackheath Common and halted at the entrance to a house on a far side. She was accompanied by only one lady – in – waiting, as was her custom, for she liked to go as and where she pleased, without ceremony, and often, in Kensington, embarrassed her ladies by sitting down and talking to people on benches in the Park, or by knocking at front doors of houses and asking if there were any rooms to let. This time, however, she lingered outside the gate, as if uncertain what to do next. In due course she was observed by the lady of the house, who cam hurrying out, curtseying obsequiously and asking her pleasure.The Princess said, “I believe you are Lady Douglas, and you have a very beautiful child. I should like to see it.”But Lady Douglas explained with many apologies that she was only in Blackheath for an hour or two, and had left her child in London. She begged her Royal Highness to come in out of the cold, and so began a friendship which quickly ripened into an intimacy so enthusiastic on the Princess’s part that it could hardly be expected to last. The very beautiful child appears to have been forgotten, but “in a short time,” said Lady Douglas, “the Princess became so extravagantly fond of me that, however flattering it might be, it certainly was very troublesome”.
[an extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter: A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ by Thea Home]
Picture: Lady Charlotte Douglas by Charles Middlemist, after Adam Buck, stipple engraving, 1810s, National Portrait Gallery