Tag Archives: elizabeth of the united kingdom(landgravine of hesse-homburg)

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]

220px-Augusta_of_Great_Britain,_duchess_of_Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

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

Charlotte’s Family: Princess Elizabeth

CHARLOTTE’S PATERNAL AUNT

Princess_elizabeth_of_the_united_kingdom

Elizabeth (22 May 1770 – 10 January 1840), third daughter of George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg – Stirlitz, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, Charlotte’s paternal aunt

Picture: Portrait of Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (1770-1840) by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782, Royal Collection

Miss Hayman Leaves

‘When Charlotte was one and a half she went to Weymouth with the King and the Queen and their daughters. Princess Elizabeth wrote to the Prince of Wales:”I must tell you an anecdote of Charlotte which has amused me much. When she goes to bed she always says, <<Bless papa, mamma, Charlotte and friends,>> but having been crueley [sic] bit by fleas the forgoing night, instead of ‘friends’ she introduced ‘fleas’ into her prayer. Lady Elgin being told of it said we must make her say ‘friends’; Miss Hayman with much humour answered, <<Why, Madam, you know we pray for our enemies & surely the fleas are [the] only ones H.R.H. has, so she is perfectly right.”It seems a pity that cheerful, jolly Miss Hayman did not remain with Charlotte; but she queered her own pitch by becoming too friendly with the Princess of Wales. The Princess took a fancy to her, and asked if Miss Hayman might be allowed to look after her accounts in her spare time. This produced an explosion from the Prince.

“The Sub-Governess is a person whose constant attendance must be such as will entirely preclude every other occupation…And as the welfare of my child, from the affection I bear to her, & not for the sake of worldly applause” (a hit at the Princess’s exhibitionism) “will ever be the constant object of my most vigilant care, I never shall relax in the smallest degree from that attention to her which I feel to be the true duty of a parent.”

Miss Hayman had no choice but to resign. Lord Minto, who was friendly with the Princess of Wales, wrote to his wife: “Miss Hayman has just been dismissed by the Prince because, being uncommonly agreeable and sensible, the Princess liked her company.”

So it was: you could not be a friend of the Princess and work for the Prince. Miss Hayman became Caroline’s Privy Purse, and shared her banishment from Court. But Princess Charlotte continued to enjoy her friendship.’

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

Princess_Elizabeth_(1770-1840)

Portrait: Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (1770 – 1840) by Willam Beechay, Royal Collection

Charlotte And Her Family

‘In her childhood, Charlotte abounded in good health and ebullient high spirits. She was a beautiful little girl, as may be seen from Lawrence’s portrait of her. Not yet aware of the brooding bitterness and hatred which divided her parents, she found herself the centre of a benevolent world, where her every word received attention, and her pretty ways were greeted with rapture. As we have seen, at one and a half she was already acknowledging the cheers of the crowd and joining in their shouts of ‘Huzza’. When, from a window overlooking the Mall, she saw Canning ride past and raise his hat, she tried to imitate his gesture and tore her muslin cap. The impression one gets from all the early recorded stories of Charlotte is of a happy recklessness, and a warm heart. From the first she singled out her grandpapa as the person she was fondest of: it was a rather touching relationship, doomed to end abruptly with the King’s final withdrawal into the darkness of disease in 1811.

Continue reading

Royal Nursery: Lady Dashwood

‘The nursery establishement was headed by Lady Dashwood, who had been Lady of the Bedchamber to the King’s daughters. She was a charming, gentle character; “I never saw anybody,’ wrote Princess Elizabeth to the Prince, “more truly anxious to fulfill conscientiously the situation in which you have been so very very good as to place her.” She was probably too conscientious, for after six months she became ill, worn out by the difficulties of a job, which, as well as keeping a careful watch over the health of the baby princess, involved diplomacy, tact and strict attention to Court etiquette. She had to remember, for instance, that the nurse, important as she was for the provision of nourishment, might never, owing to her lowly station, be in the same room with the King and Queen; and also to bear in mind that Buckingham House could be icy cold, even in July. “I beg her Royal Highness may be covered up entirely,’ she wrote to her assistant, “as the wind on the staircase…is very great.’

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

tDashwoodMaryHelenneeGraham1796portrait

Picture: Mary, Lady Dashwood and her son Henry by Joshua Reynolds

Pregnancy Changes All

‘Meanwhile, the marriage was being received with enthusiasm by the populace. In London there were illuminations, and joyous peals of church bells rang out through the night all over the country. Hopes of a future heir to the throne did something to lessen the Prince’s unpopularity, and the Princess of Wales became overnight a national heroine. As yet, she had scarcely been seen, but at Windsor, the Sunday after her marriage, she appeared for the first time as a member of the Royal Family. It was noticed that the Prince of Wales was not with her, either at St. George’s Chapel or on the first time or on the terrace of the Castle where the Family paraded after the service. But the King made up for it by offering her his arm with every appearance of pleasure. An onlooker thought her “genteel, & her face, exclusively of her exquisitely fine complexion…very pretty. She looked happy”. So, outwardly at least, the Princess of Wales gave the impression of being a radiant bride, and the King, animated and clearly gratified, demonstrated to the crowds that he was delighted with his son’s choice.

Indeed, it seemed that all the Royal Family were determined that the marriage should be a success. In May, Princess Elizabeth was writing to her brother of his wife’s “open character” and “perfect good temper”, and adding, perhaps a little condescendingly, “I flatter myself that you will have her turn out a very comfortable little wife.” “I am commissioned with loves, loves, loves from all sides,” she writes in July, “to you as well as the Princess.” And even the Queen unbent and sent her daughter some suckling pigs. “They are to be refreshed upon the road with milk so that they will be fit for killing immediately,& I hope they will prove to the Princess’s taste.” But by this time it was known that the Princess was pregnant.’

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

Caroline of Brunswick and King George