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‘Miss Charlotte and Miss Annie’

‘At two years old, Charlotte made a friend nearer her own age. Anne, or Nancy, Barnard was the orphaned niece of Thomas Deacon, the Prince’s coachman at Carlton House, and lived over the stables with her aunt and uncle. She was nearly two years older than Charlotte, and the little girls played together with their dolls and toys. “Sometimes,” said Anne in later life, “the Princess took me round the waist and danced round the garden with me…For three months we learned out lessons together.” Anne would present herself at nine o’clock each morning, and the little girls dined together, and were together all day. Who was the enlightened person who permitted this friendship? Perhaps the Prince, who used to pat Nancy on the head when he visited the stables, decided that she might be a good friend for his daughter: the fact that they learned their lessons together suggests a plan from on high. However this may be, the friendship brought out Charlotte’s best qualities, her warm – heartedness, her generosity and her loyalty. “The Princess,” said Anne, “hadn’t a bit of pride. She used to say we were Miss Charlotte and Miss Annie.”

This is in marked contrast to the attitude of Charlotte’s cousin, Princess Victoria, some twenty years later. A little girl, Lady Jane Ellison, was brought to play with her. “I may call you Jane,” said the future Queen Victoria, hastily removing all her toys, “but you must not call me Victoria.”

When Charlotte left Carlton House she gave “Miss Annie” a keepsake – a small wax doll with bright blue eyes, known to the little girls as “the great doll’s baby”. This plaything, with its well-worn waxen face, is now in the archives of the London Museum. It is about twelve inches long, dressed in a white muslin gown, with a straw bonnet trimmed with pale blue satin; and with it is Anne Barnard’s account of her friendship with the Princess, which endured to the end of Charlotte’s life.’

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

wax

Picture: a 19th century wax doll http://dollmusem.blogspot.com/2013/06/wax-dolls-back-to-19th-century-and-our.html

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