Tag Archives: charlotte princess royal and queen of wurtemberg

The Dutch Marriage Plans

In July 1813, the Prince gave ‘a magnificent breakfast’ in the gardens of Carlton House, to celebrate the Battle of Vittoria. He wrote a glowing letter to Wellington, and sent him what he had himself desired and been denied, a field-marshal’s baton. A fortnight later, after the nine days’ fighting known as the Battle of the Pyrenees, Charlotte was writing to Mercer, ‘Of course I need not tell you that a great victory has been gained by Wellington upon Soult. I write before any particulars have reached me, except that the Prince of Orange has brought the dispatches & was to be in town last night…’ ‘It was a pang,’ she continued, ‘added to the many I have to endure here [at Windsor], as I am sure my miseries will be much added to by the plagues about him…’

Charlotte, at seventeen, was aware that plans were being made for her to marry, and that the Hereditary Prince of Orange was being talked of as a likely suitor. He was at present serving on Wellington’s staff in Spain, but she believed that he had been sent to England with dispatches in order that she might meet him, which she heartily dreaded. She was not averse to the idea of marriage, but she was determined have a say in the choice of her husband: she would not be married off, as her aunt, the Princess Royal, had been – and indeed, as her mother and grandmother had been – to a foreigner whom she had never seen.

Marriage with the Prince of Orange, was, diplomatically, an excellent idea. As Europe began to free itself from the Emperor’s domination, an alliance was planned by the British Government with the liberated Holland and Belgium, under the Dutch Stadholder. A marriage between the English Princess and his son, the Hereditary Prince, would triumphantly seal this alliance.

But for Charlotte there were other considerations: a misguided marriage would, she said, be ‘worse than death’. She wanted to know what the young man was like. Her friend Georgiana Fitzroy told her that the Hereditary Prince was ‘amiable, very agreeable and sensible, adored Lord Wellington, had excellent manners but was not good looking’. This was interesting, but not enough. A month later, Miss Fitzroy, who had walzed with the young man at Oatlands, wrote that he was the best waltzer that ever was, but ‘excessively plain’ and ‘as thin as a needle’. His hair, she said, was ‘excessively plain’ and his teeth, though good, stuck out excessively in front.

Perhaps it would have been better for all concerned if Charlotte had waited for a description from her older and more tactful friend, Mercer Elphinstone.

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

Picture: Portrait of William II of the Netherlands by Nicolaas Pieneman, 1849, current location unknown


Charlotte’s Family: Charlotte Princess Royal



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

Father Does Not Care and Mother Shows Off

‘On the King’s birthday Miss Hayman took Charlotte to see her grandparents at Buckingham House. The Princess of Wales was not invited, which evidently puzzled Miss Hayman; but we may understand the reason from her next sentence – “The Prince of Wales was there.” Charlotte, she adds, “seemed to know him from the rest extremely well.” But it was her grandpapa who took her in his arms and carried her into another room, provoking some tears. “However, she soon recovered her good humour, and played with her grandpapa on the carpet a long while. All seemed to dote on her,” adds Miss Hayman, “and even the Prince played with her.”This was an honour. The Prince could be at his most charming with children, but Miss Hayman was disappointed at his apparent lack of interest in his daughter.”The Prince’s time for seeing the child,” she wrote, “is when dressing or at breakfast;” but he had not been near the nursery for a long time, nor had he sent for little Charlotte or asked to see her. As a father, he was a disappointment, and to Miss Hayman something of an enigma. “I do not often know whether he is at home or abroad,” she writes. As yet she did not understand the bitterness which divided Charlotte’s parents, and she innocently describes her return from Buckingham House with her little charge: “We drove twice up and down the park in returning from the Queen’s House to show her to the crowd assembled there, and she huzzaed and kissed her hand the whole time, and the people looked extremely delighted, running with the coach all the way. This evening she has been doing the same from the window for a full hour to a great mob and all the procession of mail coaches.”

These exhibitions, organized by the Princess of Wales, were anathema to the Prince and to his family. His eldest sister, the Princess Royal, who in April 1797 had married the Hereditary Prince of Wurtemberg, wrote from Germany:

“I regret much the weakness of the mother, in making a plaything of the child, and not reflecting that she is a Princess, and not an actress”.’

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

king george charlotte and princess royal