The Prince of Wales' two Charlottes

Son, Brother, Husband, Lover, Father-- the Prince of Wales held many titles throughout his life in regards to the women around him. A devoted brother of six sisters, he was especially fond of his mother, Queen Charlotte, who remained his constant cousellor and friend throughout his life, dispite her high disregard for his lifestyle. Of his wives, Maria Anne Fitzherbert and Princess Caroline of Brunswick, he only loved one. These women are discussed in our biography of the Prince. He maintained several mistresses throughout his life, but it is possible that the only other woman to win his true devotion and undying love, was his daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales. Despite being the daughter of his hated wife, Princess Caroline, the Prince of Wales was a doting parent and devoted father...in his own way. Her death, in 1817, left him devastated. Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (May 19, 1744 - November 17, 1818) was the queen consort of King George III. The youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick, and Elizabeth Albertin of Saxe-Hilburghausen, Duchess of Saxony, Charlotte was born in Mirow in her father's duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany. When only seventeen years old, she was selected as the bride of the young king George (who had already flirted with several young women considered unsuitable by his mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and by his political advisors). Charlotte arrived in Britain in 1761 and the couple were married at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, on September 8 of that year. Despite not having been his first choice, and having been treated with a general lack of sympathy by his mother, Charlotte's relationship with her husband soon blossomed, and he was apparently never unfaithful to her. Charlotte has been described as dim and formidably ugly. While regretting her plainness, George III, a sensual man, but with a high moral sense, did his 'duty'. In the course of their marriage, they had fifteen children, all but two — Octavius and Alfred —survived into adulthood. Charlotte was interested only in domestic matters and exercised no political influence. After the onset of his illness, then misunderstood as madness, George III was placed in the care of his wife, who could not bring herself to visit him very often. However, Charlotte remained supportive of her husband as his mental illness, now believed to be porphyria, worsened in old age. Charlotte had become the fond grandmother of Princess Charlotte of Wales, and it was a great blow to her when this granddaughter died in childbirth. A year after her granddaughter Charlotte's death, the Queen died seated in a small armchair holding the hand of her eldest son. She died at Kew Palace, their family home in Surrey, and was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (January 7, 1796 - November 6, 1817) was the only child of the ill-fated marriage between George IV (at that time the Prince of Wales) and Caroline of Brunswick. She was born at Carlton House in London, her birth being something of a miracle as George IV later claimed that he and his wife had relations no more than three times in the whole of their marriage. By the time she was a few months old, Charlotte's parents were effectively separated, and her mother's time with her was severely restricted by her father. She grew into a headstrong and difficult teenager, and fell out with her mother when Caroline decided to go into continental exile. She was restricted to Cranbourne Lodge at Windsor, England from July 1814 to January 1816 while Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg lobbied the Prince Regent and the English Parliament for the right to court her. Charlotte married Prince Leopold on May 2, 1816, at Carlton House. Contemporary accounts describe their marriage as happy and contented, and they lived at Claremont, a wedding gift from the nation. After two miscarriages in the early months of their marriage, she conceived a third time. Although healthy at the beginning of the pregnancy, medical staff took extra precautions; medical practice at the time was bloodletting and a strict diet, which only served to weaken Charlotte. After a 50-hour labour at Claremont, she delivered a stillborn son there on November 5, 1817, dying of post-partum haemorrhage and shock early the next morning.
"Two generations gone—gone in a moment! I have felt for myself, but I have also felt for the prince regent. My Charlotte is gone from the country—it has lost her. She was a good, she was an admirable woman. None could know my Charlotte as I did know her. It was my study, my duty, to know her character, but it was also my delight." Prince Leopold to Sir Thomas Lawrence
She was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor with her son at her feet. Her death was mourned nationally, on a scale similar to that which followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, although in An Address to the People on The Death of the Princess Charlotte (1817), Percy Bysshe Shelley made the point that while her death was very sad, the execution the following day of three men incited to lead the Pentrich Rising was the greater tragedy. Charlotte's death left the Prince of Wales without any direct heirs, and resulted in a mad dash towards matrimony by most of her bachelor uncles (the marriage of her uncle Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, produced an heir—Queen Victoria). Her father, even after the death of his wife, made no attempt to remarry or father any more children. In 1815 the Royal Berkshire Regiment  was titled the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Regiment when, on their return to England from service in Canada, the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment were assigned to guard the royal family in residence. Princess Charlotte, on seeing these polished men in their new uniforms, with scarlet coats and white breeches, pleaded that the regiment be made "hers", and later the title was officially granted. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

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