Monthly Archives: June 2015

Charlotte Misses Her Father A Lot

‘”She is received at Court,” Lord Minto’s son, Gilbert Elliot, told his father, “and they have been able to keep her quiet without insisting upon anything impossible or unreasonable, so that I hope that subject is at rest for ever…”

But he was wrong. While Caroline lived, the subject of her behaviour was never for long at rest. The King, suffering from rapidly increasing blindness, groped uncertainly towards his wayward daughter-in-law, hoping for signs of affectionate remorse. But affection and remorse were two emotions never experienced by Princess Caroline. Her attitude to her daughter Charlotte was always lacking in warmth of feeling, but Charlotte was by nature affectionate, and sensitive to affection. During the long-drawn out Delicate Investigation, she was cut off from all intercourse with her mother and it is significant that in November 19806, while it was dragging to its conclusion, she turned to her father for comfort.

“Forgive me, my dearest papa, for writing to you when you have so much business, but I saw you so unwell last night that I could not help writing to enquire how you are. Believe me, my dearest papa, that my whole aim is to gain your regard and affection; if I should lose that, I shall be destitute of everything in this world most dear to me; but I trust that that will never happen. Oh how I wish I could see more of you! but I hope I shall in time. I am sensible how irksome it must be to you to see me, feeling I can be no companion to you to amuse you when in health and spirits, & am too young to soothe you when in affliction. Believe me I am always truly happy when I do see you, & that whether absent ot present I am, my dearest papa, your ever affectionate & dutiful daughter.”

The wording of this letter may owe something to Lady de Clifford; but the sentiments expressed give a sad picture of a lonely child, written perhaps after one of those meetings with her father, which later were [not] so frequent, when his mind was on other things and Charlotte was ignored.’

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

george and charlotte

The Princess of Wales Has Friends in High Places

‘The Prince of Wales was bitterly disappointed. His father’s ministers had let him down. Their disapproval was not enough. They had found him no grounds for divorce.His wife, on the other hand, was self – righteously triumphant. During the “Delicate Investigation” the King had not visited her, and he had not invited her to visit him. But now that she had been acquitted by his arbitrary tribunal, she felt that it was his duty to acknowledge her innocence publicly by inviting her to court again. She wrote to the King asking him to receive her, but the King was not so sure that he should. There was much in the report that could not be condoned. So the Princess of Wales decided to write to him again. Since she had not been allowed to present her defence to the committee in Downing Street, she would present it to the King in Windsor instead.With the best but biased legal advice from Spencer Perceval, who had recently resigned the office of Attorney General after the death of Pitt, she laid out her detailed rebuttal of every charge that the Dougleses had brought against her. Her letter, dated 2 October, was so long that it became known sarcastically as “The Book”.

Nine weeks later, when she had received no reply, not even an acknowledgement, the Princess wrote to the King again begging for him to receive her and restore her reputation. At the same time, however, in a barely veiled threat, she arranged to have copies of “The Book” printed.

Nevertheless, it was another seven weeks before the Lord Chancellor’s office informed the Princess that, despite his reservations, the King was now ready to receive her. But week after week went by without any invitation arriving.

Eventually, on 5 March 1807, five months after her first letter, the Princess of Wales lifted the veil from her threat. If she did not receive an invitation within the next week, she would publish “The Book”.’

[an extract from ‘Charlotte&Leopold’ by James Chambers]

‘”I am a real Brunswick, and do not know what fear is,” the Princess had told Lady Douglas, and now she was fearless in her determination to be accepted once more by the Royal Family. She had her supporters and sympathizers, and some powerful political friends. Lord Eldon, the ex-Lord Chancellor, and Spencer Perceval, later to become Tory Prime Minister, were her advisers, and with their assistance she drew up a document giving a detailed defence of her
conduct, which, under the title of “The Book”, she threatened to publish. On May 18, 1807, it was reported that the Princess of Wales had appeared at the Opera and at the Queen’s Drawing Room. Although greeted with marked frigidity by Queen Charlotte, the Princess had a riotous reception at Covent Garden. She felt that she had won. The Book was withdrawn.’

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

‘By then the gossips in London society had exhausted their imaginations speculating about what “The Delicate Investigation” had discovered and about what might be in “The Book”. To the press and the general public, who knew very little about the Princess of Wales and a great deal that they did not like about her husband, she was a wronged woman who deserved their support. The reputation of the royal family sank even further.

Spencer Perceval believed, and indeed hoped, that publication of “The Book” would bring down the government that had treated the Princess so shoddily. But, as it turned out, there was never any need for publication. A few days later, the coalition government destroyed itself. The Cabinet resigned, bitterly divided over whether or not Roman Catholics should be allowed to sit in Parliament and hold commissions in the army.

The Tories were returned to the office. George Canning became Foreign Secretary and Spencer Perceval became Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Princess of Wales had friends in high places.

[an extract from ‘Charlotte&Leopold’ by James Chambers]

caroline and spencer perceval

Picture: Caroline of Brunswick and Spencer Perceval