Tag Archives: charles william ferdinand duke of brunswick-wolfenbüttel

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]


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

Charlotte’s Family: Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel


Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel

Charles William Ferdinand (October 9, 1735 – November 10, 1806), son of Charles I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Philippine Charlotte of Prussia, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1780 – 1806) and a professional soldier who served in a Prussian army, Charlotte’s maternal grandfather

‘The Duke of Brunswick, once a handsome and distinguished soldier, was seen by Malmesbury as a melancholy, reserved man, in constant fear of offending his powerful neighbour, the King of Prussia.’

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

Picture: Portrait of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Prussian Field-Marshal by Johann Georg Ziesenis, showing him in his robe of the Order of the Garter, Preußenmuseum Minden (Defensionskaserne)

Charlotte’s Family: Caroline of Brunswick



Caroline Amelia Elizabeth (17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821), daughter of Charles William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and his wife Princess Augusta of the United Kingdom; Princess of Brunswick (1768 – 1821), Princess of Wales (1796 – 1820), Queen Consort of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1820 – 1830) and of Hanover (1820 – 1830), Charlotte’s mother

‘Caroline was the Prince of Wales’s [original spelling] first cousin; there was insanity in her family, and she at times behaved in a wild, freakish way which was disturbing. Forbidden, at sixteen, to go to a ball, she pretended, convincingly, to be in the throes of pregnancy; but on the arrival of the accoucheur, Caroline sprang out of bed, wiped the deathly make – up from her face, and screamed with laughter. “Now, Madam”, she demanded of her mother, ‘will you keep me another time from a ball?’ She behaved like a spoilt child, but she was not loved, and somehow she was not loveable. She was obsessed with sex, and had to be closely watched: both her parents were baffled by her behaviour. It seems odd that these facts about her character were not investigated, and that there was never any thought of looking into her medical history, before she was invited to become the Prince’s wife, and the mother of a future monarch. The King’s word was enough: she was his niece, and would learn to be docile, with such an example before her as her mother-in-law. Queen Charlotte said little: she had never liked the Princess Augusta, Carolines mother; moreover she had heard disturbing rumours about the young princess. But she kept them to herself, refusing to interfere. It was not an auspicious beginning.’

An extract from ‘Prinny’s Daughter. A Biography of Princess Charlotte of Wales by Thea Holme

Engraving: Caroline in 1795, shortly before her marriage to the future George IV

Shock On The Brunswick Court

‘So a heartbroken but dignified Mrs Fitzherbert retired to a beautiful villa by the Thames at Twickenham, Marble Hill, and the greatest British diplomat of the age, James Harris, who had been created Baron Malmesbury six years earlier, was instructed to go to Brunswick and escort Princess Caroline to England.

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