Category Archives: Adolescence (1805 – 1811)

Friendship With George Keppel (3)

But although she sometimes pummelled him, she became a good friend. She made him sandwiches , to supplement his school meals; she gave him handsome presents: a watch, and a pony; and she lent him small sums of money when he was broke, improving the occasion with good advice.

‘My dear Keppel,

‘You know me well enough to suppose that I will never refuse you a thing when there is no harm in it. But though I send you the money I must still give you a little reprimand. You will, I hope, dear boy, love me as well Tho’ I do sometimes find fault with you. You will, if you go on asking for money and spending it in so quick a manner, get such a habit of that when you grow up you will be a very extravagant man, and get into debt.

‘Your grandmamma de Clifford allows me £10 a month. But though I spend it I take care never to go further than my sum will allow. Now, dear George, if you do the same, you will never want for money.

‘If you call at Warwick House, my porter, Mr. Moore, will give you half a guinea…

‘I remain, dear George,
‘Your very sincere and affectionate
‘Charlotte.’

(quotation marks are presented in the same manner as they appear in the book)

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

George Keppel 6thEarlOfAlbemarle

Picture: George Keppel 6th Earl of Albemarle

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Friendship With George Keppel (2)

‘At twelve years old, Charlotte was in danger of becoming something of an oddity. She had, when she chose, a dazzling charm, but she often indulged in wild and hoydenish behaviour. The clearest picture of her at this time comes from a contemporary, George Keppel, who was Lady de Clifford’s grandson, and a Westminster schoolboy. “Her complexion was rather pale,” he says, and this is borne out in a later description by Lady Charlotte Bury. “Her skin,” she says, “is white, but not a transparent white; there is little or no shade in her face.” “She had blue eyes,” Keppel tells us, “and that peculiarly blonde hair which was characteristic rather of her German than of her English descent.” With her blue eyes and curly golden hair, and her pale, opaque skin her appearance must have been charming, like a fairy-tale heroine. But did not see herself in that role. “She was an excellent actress,” said George Keppel; “one of her fancies was to ape the manner of a man.” She did an excellent imitation of the Bishop – his mannerisms and gestures. Evidently she liked to think of herself as a tough masculine character, and in certain moods, to pretend that she was one. “She would double her fists,” said Keppel, “and assume an attitude of defence that would have done credit to a professed pugilist.” But defence soon turned into attack, and the unfortunate George, unable as a gentleman to hit back, was obliged to receive a series of hard punches from the boxing Princess.
[an extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter: A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ by Thea Home]
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Charlotte Drives Like Crazy

‘This holiday was a success, and the following year a house was taken for Princess Charlotte and her establishment at Bognor. Here, she enjoyed a surprising amount of freedom. Huish describes her “tripping down to Richardson’s the baker’s, about the time when she knew his buns were ready”. Devouring the delicious hot buns, she would sit and chat to the baker about his business, seeming deeply interested in all he had to tell her. She then stepped into her carriage, “drawn by her beautiful grey poneys”, and, accompanied by Lady de Clifford, would herself take reins and drive off at top speed, turning into a very bumpy field, where the carriage swayed and jolted perilously, and Lady de Clifford shrieked. “Nothing like exercise, my lady”, cried Charlotte. “Nothing like exercise!”‘

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

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Charlotte Meets Horatia Nelson

‘These seaside visits started in August 1807, when Charlotte went to Worthing, accompanied by Lady de Clifford and Mrs. Udney. The Bishop, in a very obsequious letter to the Prince of Wales, expressed his regrets that he was not invited to join the party.
Without Dr. Fisher, and in the freedom and informality of a holiday by the sea, Charlotte enjoyed herself. She went to dine with her father at Brighton, and he sent her in his carriage to watch a review of the 10th Hussars. At Worthing there were splendid sands, and donkey carts to drive over them, as we learn from Emma Hamilton, who was staying there that summer, with Horatia, her daughter by Nelson. It was nearly two years since her lover had lost his life at Trafalgar, but he remained the nation’s idol, and his little girl, now six, was an object of curiosity, creating, as Emma puts it, “Universal Interest, alltho’ Princess Charlotte is here. SHE is left and all come to look at Nelson’s angel”. Charlotte does not seem to have resented this, for Emma adds kindly that the Princess “is a charming girl and very kind and civil to Horatia and me”.’[an extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter: A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ by Thea Home]

Picture: Portrait of Emma, Lady Hamilton by George Romney, before 1802, National Portrait Gallery

Emma,_Lady_Hamilton_by_George_Romney

 

Charlotte Meets Her Other Grandma

‘The Duchess had had a trying life with a melancholy and permanently unfaithful husband: she now dressed entirely in white crepe. There was little love lost between her and her daughter Caroline, who in Brunswick had always treated her with contemptuous rudeness; but from the English Royal Family she received respect and kindness, and from time to time her granddaughter Charlotte was sent to visit her. They grew quite fond of each other, though the old Duchess was not always kind. “You are grown very fat and very much sunburnt,” remarked her grandmother, when Charlotte went to dine with her after returning from the seaside. It was not the most tactful greeting to a young girl beginning to be conscious of her appearance.’

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

charlotte and duchess augusta

The Duchess of Brunswick Returns To England

‘On October 14, 1806, the Duke of Brunswick, Princess Charlotte’s grandfather, was mortally wounded at Auerstadt and his Dukedom seized by Napoleon. The Prince of Wales showed little regret at the loss of his father-in-law. “I cannot help thinking,” he wrote, “that had he survived, & had taken a review of his past political conduct, & of the very disgraceful proposals which he is supposed to have sent to the French tyrant after the complete rout of the Prussian forces under his command, he would & must have suffer’d most grieviously indeed. I cannot therefore say that his death has occasioned me either surprise or much regret.” But there was some anxiety as to the future of the widowed Duchess, Caroline’s mother, who had managed with difficulty to escape from Brunswick to Sweden. Most people thought that she would make for England, and the Duke of Clarence wrote to the Prince of Wales, “If I know the Duchess at all, she will be the least welcome visitor to her wise and virtuous daughter…”

On July 1, 1807, the Duchess of Brunswick landed in England, her native country which she had not seen for forty-three years. Her daughter, Princess Caroline, who now spent much of her time at Kensington Palace, handed over Montague House as a temporary residence for the Duchess, who was received with affection by her brother, King George. Although the Queen and her sister-in-law had always heartily detested each other, a meeting at Buckingham House, at which the Princess of Wales was present, went off successfully, and Princess Elizabeth reported to the Prince that “her reception was most cordial of my mother and they appeared mutually pleased with each other”. “She certainly is a fine old woman,” added Princess Elizabeth… ” but you see when she walks or tries to get into her carriage she is very infirm.”

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

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Portrait: Augusta of Great Britain, duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by Johann Georg Ziesenis, third quarter of 18th century

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