Charlotte, Princess Royal


Charlotte, Princess Royal
Charlotte of Great Britain
Princess Royal
Queen consort of Württemberg
Tenure 1 January 1806 – 30 October 1816
Spouse Frederick of Württemberg
House House of Hanover
House of Württemberg
Father George III of the United Kingdom
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Born 29 September 1766(1766-09-29)
Buckingham Palace
Died 5 October 1828(1828-10-05) (aged 62)
Ludwigsburg Palace
Burial Ludwigsburg Palace
British Royalty
House of Hanover
Quarterly, I and IV Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or; II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules; III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent; overall an escutcheon tierced per pale and per chevron, I Gules two lions passant guardant Or, II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure, III Gules a horse courant Argent, the whole inescutcheon surmounted by crown
George III
   George IV
   Frederick, Duke of York
   William IV
   Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg
   Edward, Duke of Kent
   Princess Augusta Sophia
   Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg
   Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
   Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
   Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
   Mary, Duchess of Gloucester
   Princess Sophia
   Prince Octavius
   Prince Alfred
   Princess Amelia
Grandchildren
   Charlotte, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
   Princess Charlotte of Clarence
   Princess Elizabeth of Clarence
   Victoria
   George V, King of Hanover
   George, Duke of Cambridge
   Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
   Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck

The Princess Charlotte, Princess Royal (Charlotte Augusta Matilda; later Queen Charlotte of Württemberg; 29 September 1766 – 5 October 1828) was a member of the British Royal Family, the eldest daughter of George III. She was later the Queen Consort of Frederick of Württemberg. Charlotte was the third holder of the title Princess Royal.

Contents

Early life

The infant Charlotte, Princess Royal, in 1767 with her mother, Queen Charlotte

Princess Charlotte was born on 29 September 1766 at Buckingham Palace, London. Her father was the reigning British monarch, George III. Her mother was Queen Charlotte (née Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz). She was christened on 27 October 1766 at St James's Palace, by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Thomas Secker, and her godparents were The King and Queen of Denmark (her paternal aunt and her husband, for whom The Duke of Portland, Lord Chamberlain, and The Dowager Countess of Effingham, Lady of the Bedchamber to The Queen, stood proxy, respectively) and Princess Louisa (her paternal aunt).[1]

As the daughter of the British monarch, Charlotte was styled HRH The Princess Charlotte at birth. She was styled HRH The Princess Royal from October 1766 and officially designated as such on 22 June 1789. After the birth of three sons in a row, her parents were delighted to have a Princess in the nursery. Until she was married, Charlotte was always called "Royal", instead of her given name. Like all of her siblings, Royal was inoculated in December 1768 along with her brother William. As the eldest daughter of the monarch, Royal was assumed to be destined for an important marriage on the Continent, and her education was considered to be of the utmost importance, beginning when she was only eighteen months old. Since French was the official language in every European Court, the little Princess was given a Frenchwoman to be her tutor, in order that she should have no accent. Her memory was another of her beginning subjects. She was taught to recite little verses and stories, and as a result had an almost uncanny ability to recall detail for the rest of her life. Her early childhood was not all scholarly pursuits. When she was almost three years old, she took place in her first tableau dressed like Columbine, where she danced with her seven-year-old brother the Prince of Wales. She was not a naturally musical child and later abhorred such displays of children, declaring that they made children vain and self-important. This did not stop her parents from continuing to show her off. In late 1769 she and the Prince of Wales were once again displayed, this time to the public in a "junior drawing room" in St. James' Palace. Royal was dressed in a Roman toga and lay on a sofa. Though this type of thing was common in German courts, it was considered vulgar in England, where in reaction a London mob drove a hearse into the Palace courtyard. Afterward, the Prince of Wales told Lady Mary Coke that the whole event had made little Royal "terribly tired." Wisely, the King and Queen decided to never repeat the experience.

Royal in 1769.

Though she was the oldest Princess, Royal was constantly compared to her sister Augusta Sophia, only two years younger than her. When Augusta was a month old, Lady Mary Coke called her "the most beautiful baby I have ever seen" while Royal was "very plain". Passing judgment once again three years later, Royal was now "the most sensible agreeable child I ever saw, but in my opinion far from pretty" while Augusta was still "rather pretty". Although Royal was never as beautiful as her younger sister, she did not share in Augusta's primary flaw: painful shyness, though Royal did suffer from a stammer that her attendant Miss Mary Dacres tried to help her young charge overcome. In 1770, the cluster of the three eldest Princesses was completed with the birth of Princess Elizabeth, the seventh child. For the time being the family remained comparatively small (there were fifteen royal children in all), and Royal was fortunate in having parents who preferred spending time with their numerous children to spending all their time at Court and took her education seriously. However, given the frequency with which children were being produced and the troubles that plagued George III's reign, Royal's childhood was not as utopian as her parents planned it to be.[2]

Like her siblings, the Princess Royal was educated by tutors and spent most her childhood at Buckingham Palace, Kew Palace, and Windsor Castle, where her wet nurse was Frances wife of James Muttlebury.[3]

Marriage

On 18 May 1797, the Princess Royal was married at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, London to The Hereditary Prince Frederick of Württemberg, the eldest son and heir apparent of Duke Frederick II Eugene of Württemberg and his wife, Margravine Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt.

The younger Frederick succeeded his father as the reigning Duke of Württemberg on 22 December 1797. Duke Frederick II had two sons and two daughters by his first marriage to the late Princess Augusta (3 December 1764 – 27 September 1788), the daughter of Duke Karl II of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Augusta of Great Britain (the elder sister of George III) and the elder sister of Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of the future George IV (then Prince of Wales). The marriage between Duke Frederick and the Princess Royal produced one child: a stillborn daughter on 27 April 1798.

Württemberg

In 1800, the French army occupied Württemberg and the Duke and Duchess fled to Vienna. The following year, Duke Frederick concluded a private treaty ceding Montbeliard to France and receiving Ellwanger in exchange two years later. He assumed the title Elector of Württemberg on 25 February 1803. In exchange for providing France with a large auxiliary force, Napoleon recognized the Elector as King of Württemberg on 26 December 1805. Electress Charlotte became Queen when her husband formally ascended the throne on 1 January 1806 and was crowned as such on the same day at Stuttgart, Germany. Württemberg seceded from the Holy Roman Empire and joined Napoleon's short-lived Confederation of the Rhine. However, the new elevated king's alliance with France technically made him the enemy of his father-in-law, George III. George III, incensed by his son-in-law's assumption of the title and his role of one of Napoleon's most devoted vassals, accordingly refused to address his daughter as "Queen of Württemberg" in correspondence. In 1813, King Frederick changed sides and went over the Allies, where his status as the brother-in-law of The Prince Regent (later George IV) helped his standing. After the fall of Napoleon, he attended the Congress of Vienna and was confirmed as King. He died in October 1816.

Dowager Queen

The Dowager Queen of Württemberg continued to live at the Ludwigsburg Palace, Stuttgart and received visits from her younger siblings, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge, the Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, and Princess Augusta Sophia. She was a godmother (by proxy) at the christening of her niece, Princess Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria), in 1819. In 1827, she returned to Britain for the first time since her wedding in 1797 in order to have surgery for dropsy. She died at Ludwigsburg Palace the following year and is buried there in the royal vault.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 29 September 1766 – 22 June 1789: Her Royal Highness The Princess Charlotte
  • 22 June 1789 – 18 May 1797: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
  • In use practically from birth October 1766
  • 18 May 1797 – 22 December 1797: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Princess of Württemberg[4]
  • 22 December 1797 – 25 February 1803: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Württemberg
  • 25 February 1803 – 1 January 1806: Her Royal Highness The Electress of Württemberg
  • 1 January 1806 – 30 October 1816: Her Majesty The Queen of Württemberg
  • 30 October 1816 – 5 October 1828: Her Majesty Queen Dowager Charlotte of Württemberg

Arms

As a daughter of the sovereign, Charlotte had use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing a rose gules, the outer points each bearing a cross gules.[5]

Ancestors

References

  1. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  2. ^ Fraser, Flora (2005). Princesses: the six daughters of George III (1st American ed.). New York: Knopf. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-0-679-45118-1. 
  3. ^ Charlotte Louise Henrietta Papendiek (1887). Court and Private Life in the Time of Queen Charlotte: Being the Journals of Charlotte Louise Henrietta Papendiek. London: R. Bentley & Son. p. 69. OL7150076M.  Available online from the Internet Archive.
  4. ^ The London Gazette 23 May 1797
  5. ^ Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
Charlotte, Princess Royal
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 29 September 1766 Died: 5 October 1828
British royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Princess Anne
Princess Royal
1766–1828
Vacant
Title next held by
Princess Victoria
German royalty
Preceded by
Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt
Duchess Consort of Württemberg
1797–1803
Succeeded by
Herself
as Electress of Württemberg
Preceded by
Herself
as Duchess of Württemberg
Electress of Württemberg
1803–1805
Succeeded by
Herself
as Queen of Württemberg
Preceded by
Herself
as Electress of Württemberg
Queen Consort of Württemberg
1805–1816
Succeeded by
Catherine Pavlovna of Russia

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