Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enter the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas

Despite not being too fussed w/ Mummy, one of the very 1st things Drina did was to scratch her pen thru the "Alexandrina" portion of her name on the usual monarchial paperwork.  So instead of being Queen Alexandrina, she became Queen Victoria instead & must needs thus be referred to as such for the rest of this stuff.  She gave Mummy apartments in a remote corner of Buckingham Palace & rarely received her, & refused to truck w/ Mummy's pal Conroy at all.  Then she had the usual nice Westminister Abbey coronation.

portrait of Victoria in her coronation duds; there are several of these & they all look different

Unks Ernest Augustus skipped over to Hanover for a nice coronation, as they had that pesky Salic Law & therefore Victoria could not become its Queen Regnant.  EA was pretty fussed w/ the promotion, as the 5th son of a king generally gets squat to play w/ in the matter of dominions.

The Prime Minister, William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, became Victoria's principal political adviser posthaste & to such an extent that peeps began to snigger behind the queen's back & refer to her as "Mrs Melbourne".

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

Y'all should know by now what happens to royal favorites; generally peeps aren't amused & they don't last long, which is what happened to Lord Melbourne, who had to resign after some colonial fusses.  Then Victoria turned to Mummy's bro, King Leopold I of Belgium, for advice.

Leopold I of Belgium w/ his 2nd wife, Queen Marie-Louise, & their kidlets; the little princess was called Charlotte after his demised Brit bride awww

This is the same peep who married the demised Princess Charlotte who would've been queen if she hadn't, well, demised 20 yrs hence.

The 1st amusing thing in Victoria's reign was called the Bedchamber Crisis LOL  See, twas customary for the PM to appoint his peeps' wives & daughters as the queen's ladies.  Melbourne was of the Whig party but the dude who replaced him Sir Robert Peel, was of the Tory persuasion.  Victoria liked the peeps Lord M had placed & didn't want them to depart for a passel of new peeps, so she said we are not amused & Peel sighed & resigned & Lord M came back.

Sir Robert Peel

Natch since she was a young chick & the heirs were mighty thin, peeps expected Victoria would get hitched ASAP & commence breeding.  Prior to becoming queen, Victoria had developed a crush on her cuz, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (damn German principalities & their 11dy6 names), when he paid a visit to England. 

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Albert was the son of another of Mummy's bros.  Victoria wrote lotsa swoony stuff in her diary about Albert as 17 yo girls are wont to do when they are crushing. 

portrait of a teenaged Victoria

O those baby blues, those nice even teeth LOL stuff like that.  Apparently she thunk he was hot.  Albert played hard-to-get, trotting off on a lengthy trip to Italy once his cuz became queen.  Victoria told Uncle Leopold she'd pretty much decided she was going to marry Albert, but she wanted details about his education & stuff to make sure he was "suited" for the role of king.  Lord M was all no no, no king, Prince Consort is all he gets.  Mayhap they still hadn't gotten over Philip of Spain ROFL  Parliament also refused to grant him a nice British peerage.  Albert was all pffft who needs it, I got my own stuff.

photo of Albert & Victoria

Albert finally presented himself at Buckingham Palace well over a yr after Victoria's accession.  Her little heart began to go pitty-pat some more.  Now this bit is a tad interesting b/c didja know one was not allowed to propose marriage to a queen?  Wonder if that was Robert Dudley's whole prob LOL  At any rate, twas up to the queen to do the proposing & jeez, are ya gonna say, um, NO?  Only 5 days after his arrival at Windsor, Victoria poked him & said, hey, Al, how 'bout you & me get hitched & Albert was all OK.

So they had a small wedding on February 10, 1840 in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

portrait of Victoria & Albert's wedding;
when you enlarge it, you'll see Mummy over on the right looking like a sourpuss LOL

It's Victoria's fault brides are stuck w/ white dresses, yknow.  After it was learned that the queen chose to be married in a white gown, peeps began to copy it & the fad became the rule for brides ever since.  Before that, they got hitched in any color dress they pleased b/c there was no rule.  Lots of brides just yanked something nice out of the closet & didn't even bother w/ a new dress for it.  But now everybody wanted yards of white satin for their wedding gowns.  So tisn't really b/c white is supposed to symbolize purity & virginity.

After the wedding, Albert not only became Victoria's principal adviser, edging the PMs out of the way, but he also got real busy on that breeding heirs thing.  No one can say they didn't do their duty, as the royal couple produced 9 offspring.  The eldest, named for her mother, was born 9 mos & 11 days after the ceremony, so A & V were REALLY gettin' busy, huh?  Vicky, as she was called, would grow up to marry a prince of Prussia & become the grandmother of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.  Poor Vicky only got to be the Empress of Prussia for 99 days b4 DH had the demises & her son Willy, whom she despised (Hanoverian echo), succeeded.

Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1867

The Princess Royal was followed slightly less than a yr (see? BUSY!) later by a bro, Albert Edward, who bounced her back a step in the line of succession.  He went by Eddy so as to avoid further confusion.

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

Princess Alice (also named for Daddy) made her appearance a yr & a half later (when did A & V have time to rule?).  She would grow up to marry a duke of Hesse & her youngest surviving child, Alix, would grow up to be the tragic Empress Alexandra of Russia.  Her wedding was described as being more like a uneral b/c it took place shortly after Daddy demised.  Alice herself demised rather young, age 35, in a diptheria epidemic, after succesfully nursing all her kidlets thru it.  She was the great-grandma of Prince Philip.

portrait of Princess Alice in her white wedding gown

Then there was Alfred, who arrived 16 mos after Alice.  He was created Duke of Edinburgh & grew up to be Admiral of the Fleet & succeed as Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha b/c Eddy was all meh who wants to go to Germany.  He made a nice sailing jaunt round the British Empire on an official visit, hitting South Africa, India, Ceylon, Australia, Tasmania, & New Zealand.  Alfred ran into a bit of bad luck in Sydney when a peep attempted to assassinate him.  He was shot in the back & miraculously nothing important was hit, so he recovered to enjoy another 32 yrs b4 having the demises.  The assassin was not so lucky & was hanged.

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Princess Helena was next, nigh on 2 whole yrs after.  Victoria fretted that she would never find Helena a hubby b/c she was fat & had a double chin LOL  She finally did, tho (a German duke, natch).  Helena has the distinction of being the oldest-lived child of A & V, as she was 91 when she finally caught a fatal case of the demises.

Princess Helena & her chins

Princess Louise toddled along 4 yrs later (Albert only had so much stamina, I reckon).  She was the only child who didn't marry a royal, instead wedding John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, Duke of Argyll, & Governor-General of Canada.  This marriage was the 1st of a royal & not-royal in England to be given the official recognition & blessing of the reigning monarch since Mary Tudor married Charles Brandon in 1515.  Louise was unfussed w/ Canada & nearly had the demises in a sleigh accident; she only had half an ear on one side when she came back b/c her earring got stuck in the jostling about & ripped part of it off YUCK.  Other than that, she was considered the prettiest of Victoria's 5 daughters.  Tho they had kids, twas rumored Lorne preferred to bat for the other team, & there were also rumors Louise was playing around w/ one of Mummy's secretaries, Arthur Bigge (wonder if he lived up to his surname LMFAO).  Louise was also romantically linked to some artists (she herself was a sculptor) & her equerry.  None of it was ever proved as apparently knocking boots w/ one's equerry was not discussed squidgily in public like Diana did LOL

Princess Louise

this statue of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes on the grounds of Kensington Palace
was sculpted by Princess Louise

2 yrs later there was Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who was in the Army & Governor-General of Canada as well.  He was supposedly the queen's fav.  But he had a seecrud romance on the side (married a princess of Prussia) w/ Leonie Leslie, Jennie (Mum of Winston) Churchill's sister.

Arthur, Duke of Connaught

3 yrs after that was Leopold, Duke of Albany.  He was an epileptic & he's also the 1st recorded royal case of hemophilia.  It done kilt him good, a week shy of his 32nd BD.  He was getting bad joint pain in the winter & so his drs said, hey, go someplace warmer than England, so he went to the south of France & tripped & banged his knee & before ya knew it there was internal bleeding like crazy & poor old Leopold was demised.  His only son, Charles, was born posthumously.

photo of Leopold, Duke of Albany

The last royal brat was born 4 yrs later, Princess Beatrice.  She was called Baby 4ever b/c she was the baby of the family.  She wanted to marry Prince Henry of Battenburg (which family name in England would devolve into Mountbatten) after enjoying a flirtation at the wedding of one of her nieces to his younger bro.  When Baby told Victoria this, the queen was not amused & refused to speak to her for 7 mos LOL  Victoria didn't want any of her kidlets to do anything she hadn't thunk of for them to do 1st.  She was a control freak like that even tho Baby was already 36.  Finally peeps poked the queen a lot & she started talking to Baby again & agreed to let her marry Henry on the condition that he had to come & live in Buckingham Palace w/ the MIL ROFL

Princess Beatrice

OK there was so much begatting going on here that the rest of Victoria's queenly doings are just going to have to wait......

PS> stupid Blogger has made some "upgrades" & I cannot seem to UNbold the text here! :(

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don Your Pointy Historical Thinking Caps, Peeps!

I am a mere 5 (methinks) monarchs away from being done & dusted.  We don't want the historical fun to end, do we?

So use the comment thingy at the end of this post to pick new historical topics for the future!  Prolly not any of the major royals as they've been rather exhaustively covered for the most part, but any other historical peeps, place, or things ya want Scarlet to discourse about?  Do bear in mind that Scarlet knows the mostest about (in order) England, Scotland, Wales, USA, Ireland, & the Frenchies, tho twould mayhap be amusing to branch out.  I can natter on for yonks about most anything LOL

Suggestions as to what should be featured after I finish the epic saga, please!

OK so trying to organize Victoria is taking 4ever ROFL....don't want y'all to get bored.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Short Reign, Then a Short Queen

In case you're all a-flounder in that sea of hasty Hanoverian begatting, allow Scarlet to simplify a tad.  The 4 eldest sons of George III were George, Frederick, William, & Edward.  Prinny succeeded Pops as George IV, but w/ the demise of Princess Charlotte & her son, he had no legit descendents.  By the time George IV had a fatal case of the demises, his next-in-line bro Frederick had predeceased him.  Tho married, Frederick wasn't too fussed w/ his own wife & they had zero offspring.  This meant upon George IVs death, the throne went to the bro after Frederick, William. 

William IVs coronation portrait

As noted, William IV & his queen Adelaide lost both their daughters in infancy, & she also had at least 2 miscarriages & gave birth to stillborn twin sons b4 William's little swimmers retired.  Natch his 9 surviving bastards had no throne claims.  The next bro, Edward, had demised right b4 George III. 

William IV, aged 13, w/ bro Edward, aged 11

So even though there were a pair of legit Georges to spring from the loins of Ernst Augustus & Adolphus, being the 5th & 7th sons put them & their ilks further down in the succession than DS #4, Edward.  Edward demised not long into his late-life marriage, leaving behind just one child, a baby daughter, Princess Alexandrina Victoria. 

Victoria, Duchess of Kent, & her young daughter Alexandrina Victoria

Having gotten completely over that we won't have no steenking females on our throne thing via the later Tudors & Stuarts, thus 11 yo Drina, as she was nicknamed, was considered Uncle William's heir apparent.  In the event of her demise prior to Unks's or sans offspring, only then would peeps look to Ernst &/or his son George.  Caught up nicely now, are we?  If they had followed it this way in medieval times, wouldn't that have saved a whole lot of trouble w/ those Wars of the Roses?

At age 64, William still holds the record for oldest peep to ever succeed to the throne (tho if the current queen keeps breathing a bit longer, Chuckles may give him the boot to #2).  W/ those 3 older bros, William was permitted by his parents to go on practically a lifetime of active naval service & in fact was hanging round New York City & very nearly kidnapped by the rebels during the American Revolution.  He was Lord High Admiral during those pesky Napoleonic Wars, too, tho he didn't get into any actual battles there.  When he 1st married Adelaide they lived in Hanover b/c he had all those bastards to support, Parliament wouldn't increase his allowance, & the cost of living was cheaper there.  But when Frederick demised in 1827, William, George IVs heir, got a nice increase & they returned to London to take up residence in Clarence House. 

Clarence House

Today this is the official residence of Charles & Camilla, plus it was the Queen Mum's pad for yonks (she did live to be 101 yknow).

William was liked by the British peeps simply b/c he wasn't his brother George LOL  George was all about the rock star aspect of being king, whereas William knew how to economize & live a great deal less ostentatiously.  Sans all the pomp & circumstance, William had the groats to polish up Buckingham Palace, which Prinny had ignored & let fall apart b/c meh, he didn't like it & never lived in it.

Buckingham Palace

Queen Adelaide was well-liked, too, b/c she refused to have court be as amoral as it was in her BILs day & that fashion for scandalously low-cut gowns went straight out.  Betcha you thunk that was Victoria's fault, huh?  Peeps also felt sorry for her b/c of her tragickal childbearing history & even tho she was pushing 40 when DH finally got to be king, there were periodic rumors saying the queen was preggers again.  She was a nice chick & peeps wanted her to have a nice heir to the throne.  Hardly no one ever got to see Drina & didn't no one like her Mummy, so twas a lot of wishful thinking.

True to Hanoverian tradition, once the young FitzClarence lads were grown up, their father glared at them.  They were greedy for titles & money & precedence, all of which they got, but then natch they thunk that as king's sons they could do better & wanted more.  Parliament was all um NO you kids got enough stuff pfffft.

William had never been known for exercising tact & thus had lots of feisty run-ins w/ Parliament & his ministers, at one pt muttering that he would rather have the devil to dinner than those peeps LOL  They looked at him sideways when he insisted on making nice w/ those Americans & also when he gave more freedom of government to Canada & Hanover.  They're gonna get swelled heads & rebel like those Americans did, he was warned, to which William was all pffft they will not, & they didn't.  It was during his reign that the Abolition Act was passed, getting rid of slavery in all of the wide British Empire.  He also revamped the Poor Laws so that peeps wouldn't starve & pushed thru the Factory Act prohibiting child labor in them.  The politicians sneered & called him a reformer but the common peeps were rather fussed w/ William.

He & Adelaide tried to make nice w/ their niece & heir Drina, but the princess's mother had airs above her station.  W/o even asking she took over most of Kensington Palace & roundly snubbed not just all the bastard FitzClarences, but ignored the queen as much as she could manage.  William was irked at her right there just for her disrespect to his wife.  The duchess sniffed & whispered to her cronies that the king was just an oversexed oaf ROFL b/c of the whole Mrs Jordan affair w/ all those resultant kidlets.  Ya gotta chortle at the alliteration there & wonder how long it took her to come up w/ it.  Her secretary, Sir John Conroy, was said to be a bad influence & probably her BF (at one pt twas rumored he could be Drina's daddy), & the king & queen liked him not. 

Sir John Conroy
well, c'mon, he was a huge improvement over that bald, tubby Edward LOL

The duchess restricted their access to Drina as much as she could get away w/ doing whilst she & Conroy planned for a regency in which they would be the power behind the throne, figuring William would shuck off his mortal coil posthaste being already so old & leaving Drina as a minor monarch.  William knew all about their scheming & he was determined to keep breathing until Drina was old enough to govern on her own LOL

Drina was raised under what Mummy termed the Kensington System, which was remarkably like what one can see abusers doing to this day.  The girl was kept completely isolated from other children & was not allowed to do anything or go anywhere w/o Mummy &/or her governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen, helicoptering. 

sketch of Louise Lehzen, done by Queen Victoria

The kid did not so much as get an hr a day to herself & her bed was right next to Mummy's.  Where Mummy went to knock boots w/ Sir John I am sure I dunno ROFL  Guessing she prolly had Lehzen hover whilst she went off for a quickie in his rooms.  The kid didn't even speak English, as she was spoken to in German by her mother & governess, a further way to keep her isolated.  Who'd wanna play w/ a kid ya couldn't talk to?  Later on she was tutored in French & then English, & tis said her command of the English language was less than perfect, it not being her primary language.  Drina was kept away from all her Hanoverian rellies as much as possible.  The Kensington System was designed to make her weak & dependent upon Mummy & Mummy's ilks so that she would never be aught but a puppet queen.  It had the opposite of the desired effect & merely served to make Drina rebellious & really pissed off.

William was so fed up w/ his SILs silly antics, he got aggravated & had a rant about it at his last BD party.  This is how we know he vowed to keep breathing (he'd developed a bum ticker despite not being lardy like his bros) until Drina came of age, b/c when it came time for him to make the obligatory speech at the banquet, he actually said to the assemblage that he hope he survived 9 mos longer until his niece turned 18 so that the Duchess of Kent could never ever become Regent, terming her incompetent & growling that she was surrounded by evil advisors.  17 yo Drina was so mortified that she burst into tears & had to prevent Mummy from storming out in a regal fashion b4 the king was done speechifying.  That just wasn't done no matter how rude the king was to ya.  You sucked it up & sat nicely until you were dismissed & woe betide you if you didn't.  Well, not really, as they'd pretty much stopped giving out those Tower Fun Passes by then, but it still didn't do to have the king & queen snub ya or mayhap tinker w/ your allowance.

Coming to the throne so late, William only got to be king for not quite 7 yrs & demised of heart failure at Windsor Castle 2 mos b4 his next BD, when he would've turned 71.  The Hanoverian kings actually had some splendid genes b/c they all lived into their 70s, which was considered a pretty good age for the time. 

B/c Hanover still had that Salic Law thing going on, Princess Alexandrina couldn't become Queen of Hanover as well as Queen of the United Kingdom, so the next bro in line, Ernst, scampered over there to get a nice crown.  Since William demised in the middle of the night, Drina was poked awake by Mummy at 6am & told she had company.  Likely she whinged something along the lines of jeez Mummy 5 more minutes LOL but Mummy yanked off the covers, threw a robe at her, & pushed her thru the door into the sitting rm, where Drina was astonished to see the Archbishop of Canterbury & the chamberlain of the king's household awaiting her jammie'd, bed-head presence.

Victoria Receiving the News of Her Accession

And that is how Drina learned she was now the big cheese.....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Knocking Up Princesses

George IV gave Henry VIII some good competition in the lard dept, weighing at at round 17 stone (that's 245 lbs) & sporting a 50 in waist.  This is how creaking corsets on men got to be popular b/c Prinny there kept trying to hide his girth.  He invented high collars to hide his double chins & popularized trousers as opposed to breeches as those were looser & more flattering to one of bulkiness.

George IVs coronation portrait

Tho he was supposedly seecrudly married to Maria Fitzherbert, his parental units knew naught of such & frowned at him for yrs to find a nice princess & commence breeding heirs.  Finally the POW agreed to do such in 1794, as he was heavily in debt from all that roistering & w/ a wife came an increase in his allowance.  He was betrothed to a German cuz, Caroline of Brunswick.

contemporary engagement announcement of Caroline of Brunswick to George, Prince of Wales

From the start this did not appear to be an auspiscious match.  It was rumored George's current mistress, Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey, approved of Caroline b/c she knew George would despise her & thus hang w/ the mistress more.  Prinny had a thing for older women.

miniature of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey
take a moment & imagine Prinny crushing this little stick girl in bed ROFL

Lady Jersey was appointed the chief lady of the bedchamber.  This is not the same Lady Jersey who could getcha vouchers to Almack's in those Regency romances & ruin ya socially if she declined to do so; that was Frances's DIL, Sarah. 

Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
the dragon of Almack's

The British peeps who went to fetch the intended Princess of Wales on over were appalled at her slovenliness.  Apparently Caroline washed infrequently & would wear the same dirty clothes for days on end.  She also was said to be tactless, spouting off the 1st thing that came into her head w/ little regard for the consequences, & pretty much did as she pleased.  I mean, what's the pt of being royalty if ya can't, huh?  But this behavior, plus the poor hygiene, did not sit well w/ Prinny, who took one look at Caroline & pulled an I LIKE HER NOT!

Unlike Henry VIII, he really really meant it.  He rocked up drunk for the wedding in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.  Caroline was neither amused w/ this, Lady Jersey, or the fact that Prinny was fat & no longer resembled his handsome portraits.  Unlike Henry w/ Anne of Cleves, however, Prinny attempted to do his duty.  He wrote a letter to one of his peeps whinging about it & stating the humungous amts of intestinal fortitude it took to overcome his "disgust & aversion of her person" & said they only did the deed 3x in their 1st 2 days of marriage.  Then he had no more intestinal fortitude left for the job LOL  The POW & his bride maintained separate households from Day 3 onwards.  Luckily Caroline got pregnant from Prinny's paltry efforts & produced a royal infant 9 mos later, to much excitement.

Princess Charlotte

Alas, twas a princess, christened Charlotte Augusta.  Since the Brits had gotten over that whole being ruled over by a wench thing, she was regarded as next in line for the throne after her father.  Peeps nudged Prinny & said aintcha gonna try for a son?  Prinny was all um NO, I wouldn't bang my wife again if you pd me!

Caroline got lots of sympathy from the common peeps b/c Prinny was so publicly nasty to her.  3 days after their daughter was born, he made out a new will where he left Caroline the sum of one shilling & everything else to Mrs Fitzherbert.  His mistress, being in charge of Caroline's household, spied on her for Prinny & was said to open her mail, even, & tell peeps what was in it.  Charlotte was immediately given her own household & George insisted Caroline had to have supervised visitation & no more than an hr a day.  He, however, rarely visited his daughter at all.  Little Charlotte, being the sole legit grandchild, was a great fav natch of Queen Charlotte & King George, who had her over often.  She was said to be very close to her grandfather & distraught when he went permanently whacko.

The POW was frowned at & Caroline regarded as a wronged wife.  Prinny was aghast at how his popularity ratings plummeted merely for liking his wife not.  He was glared at for his extravagant lifestyle during wartime, while Caroline was seen as a mother spitefully denied raising her only child (which was zackly the case) & cheered by the crowds when she went out, as the common folk liked how she'd wave & stop to have a natter w/ them.  Picture Princess Diana, circa 1800 LOL  Caroline was the original People's Princess & Prinny was furious.

Caroline of Brunswick, 1804

B/c access was restricted to her own child, Caroline made a habit of picking up stray kidlets & adopting them, having at one pt about 8 or 9 of em hanging round the house.  Prinny's peeps started rumormongering that Caroline was a terrible slut & mayhap one or more of these orphan brats were really her bastards.  So Prinny set up a seecrud commission to investigate, hoping he could prove it & get a nice divorce.  Incompatibility hadn't been invented as grounds yet & while he himself was a notorious adulterer, his wife wasn't filing on it.  Natch the seecrudness was leaked to the press, but it gained Prinny naught as all the kidlets had mums who were present & accounted for & could prove parentage of Caroline's growing brood.  Even author Jane Austen stuck her nose in & said she would support the princess "because she is a woman & I hate her husband" ROFL  That's the last time you'll hear Scarlet chortle over Jane Austen as methinks she's vastly overrated & I don't get this whole Darcy fascination thingy.

Once George IIIs madness made his eldest son the Prince Regent, Caroline wasn't able to visit Charlotte, now 14, at all.  After Waterloo, once the continent was a nice place to visit again, Caroline negotiated herself a nice allowance & left the country, traveling round & settling finally in Italy.  There were rumors that the majordomo of her household was also her BF.  George Gordon, Lord Byron, who hung out w/ her, certainly thunk they were lovers, but they were discreet if they were b/c again, no adultery score for Prinny.

Meanwhile, 19 yo Charlotte, who was also very popular w/ peeps & a patron of Byron & Mozart, was married to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg Saalfield.

Princess Charlotte & Prince Leopold

This took place at her father's primary residence of Carlton House in May 1816.

contemporary drawing of Carlton House
tres Palladian

Within a yr it was announced the new royal couple were expecting HUZZAH!  All eyes were on their residence of Claremont House awaiting the outcome.  Charlotte's water broke & started FIFTY HOURS OF LABOR OW OW OW.  Turned out the royal infant was a transverse lie.  This is never good, not even in modern times where we got stuff.  Kidlets generally pop out headfirst.  Occasionally ya get the irritant like Scarlet's 2nd DS what decides to pop out arse over teakettle OW OW OW breech is NOT fun.  But a transverse lie is impossible to pop out w/o a) a C-section or b) doctors greasing up, sticking their whole arm up in ya, & attempting to turn the kid around.  This is b/c it's lying sideways in the uterus & therefore way too wide to slither into the birth canal.  Finally they got it turned & it stayed turned this time (see, they dunno any better LOL & keep moving on ya sometimes) b/c by now twas demised & Charlotte's ginormous 9 lb son OW was stillborn.  5 hrs later Charlotte herself had the demises from a slow leak hemorrhage.  You're bound to break sumfin after such an ordeal, I'm sure.

This was a tragedy of Diana-like proportions for the House of Hanover, not only b/c Charlotte was much-loved, but b/c NONE of George IIIs lg family of kidlets had produced ANY legit offspring, save for poor demised Charlotte there.  There weren't even any Stuarts left to call back & offer a throne.  The Duke of York, the 2nd son, was sans offspring (not to mention estranged from his duchess as well), as were the married princesses.  Prinny & Caroline weren't going to be copulating anytime soon & he had no grounds for divorce to get a fresh bride.  Ernst Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland & the 5th son, had married at age 44 a widowed cuz, 36 yo Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, about a yr b4 Charlotte & Leopold got hitched, but had no brats as of yet even tho she had 8 of em by her 1st DH.  Eventually they had one son, George, but Ernst had allllll those brothers ahead of him in the throne queue.

Ernst Augustus, Duke of Cumberland & later King of Hanover

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Duchess of Cumberland & later Queen of Hanover

So Charlotte's demise was followed by a spate of royal weddings in a race to get an heir.  1st Princess Mary, tho she was already 40, married her cuz the Duke of Gloucester.  Nuffin.  Then 50 yo Edward, Duke of Kent, the 4th son, also married a widow w/ 2 kids, Prince Leopold's older sister, 31 yo Victoria.  Reckon the bros had an eye out for proven breeders LOL  They had one daughter, christened Alexandrina Victoria, b4 Edward demised of pneumonia a mere 6 days prior to George IIIs demise; the baby was just 9 mos old.

Edward, Duke of Kent

Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, Duchess of Kent

Just 3 days after the Kent nuptials, Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the 7th son, married Augusta of Hesse-Cassel.  He was 43 & she was 21, & they had 3 children, George, Augusta, & Mary Adelaide.

Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge

Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, Duchess of Cambridge

The 6th son, Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, had married Lady Augusta Murray sans permission, which violated the Royal Marriages Act, so their pair of royal brats, also Augustus & Augusta, were out of the throne line b/c of that.  I'd imagine there was a lot of "What?  Who?" going on in that household w/ everyone's name being the same ROFL

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex

The 3rd son, William, Duke of Clarence & Lord High Admiral, had spent 20 happy yrs living in sin w/ his actress mistress, Dorothy Jordan, by whom he had 10 little FitzClarence bastards; a descendent would be the last British Governor-General of Australia.  Certainly there was naught wrong w/ William's little swimmers even if he was 53.

William, Duke of Clarence, in naval dress uniform

actress Dorothy Jordan

After seeing all his sibs rush to the altar, William decided he needed to get in on this race for the heir, as barring a miracle he would succeed bro George as king if Mad Dad ever demised.  Augusta of Hesse-Cassel spurned his proposal b/c he didn't come over in person but sent his bro Adolphus instead, & as ya saw, she apparently liked him better & married the Duke of Cambridge.  Undaunted, William finally got an OK out of 25 yo Adelaide of Saxe-Meningen, being the last of the Hanoverian tribe to get hitched.

Adelaide of Saxe-Meningen, Duchess of Clarence

Adelaide was unfussed w/ his passel of bastards underfoot, always a plus in a wife LOL  Their 1st child, Charlotte Augusta for her deceased cuz, only lived a day, & their 2nd, Elizabeth Georgiana, demised at barely 3 mos old.  Apparently William's little swimmers ceased firing after that b/c that was a mere 4 yrs into the marriage.  Despite the lack of legit brats & the age difference (plus the ginormous fortune it cost to pension off Mrs Jordan), the Clarences were said to have an affectionate marriage.

Lest we forget Prinny in all this wedding & bedding LOL, now king, he was all about the pomp & pageantry, throwing himself the bestest coronation ever & spending lots of groats to do it.

Caroline came dashing back to GB to assume her place as queen, but George said pffft & had all the Westminster Abbey doors guarded w/ strict orders not to let her in & ruin his speshul moment.  Banging on the doors didn't help none & at one pt Caroline was threatened by a member of the king's bodyguard w/ his bayonet.  Caroline was publicly humiliated & peeps were outraged on her behalf.  There were riots, even, & DH decided ENOUGH OF HER SHITE! & that he was gonna get a divorce posthaste.

Queen Caroline, 1820

This was known as the Trial of Queen Caroline & Parliament had to hear DHs evidence of DWs alleged adultery w/ her Italian BF.  Caroline joked that she'd committed adultery once, w/ Mrs Fitzherbert's husband LOL  The House of Lords approved of the evidence & said OK you can get divorced, but Caroline had so much support from the lower classes that the divorce bill failed to pass the House of Commons.  George was apoplectic when he heard.  And you thunk Charles & Diana had a rough marriage ROFL

He didn't have to wait long to be rid of her, as Caroline got the sicks & began chugging milk of magnesia like it was going out of style.  Historians think she may have had stomach cancer or an intestinal obstruction.  Natch the usual poison rumors began to circulate.  Whatever twas Caroline had, she was demised in less than 2 mos after the 1st symptom hit.  Sounds more like pancreatic or liver cancer to me b/c those are sometimes right quick even nowadays, but I ain't no doctor, I just like to speculate on demises LOL

George gave order that her funeral procession was NOT to go thru London, but there was more rioting & more outraged peeps & pretty soon there was brick-throwing & namecalling & shots fired & the dude in charge of it all said SCREW THIS & let the common folk steer Caroline's cortege wherever they pleased.  The king fired him after but meh he was prolly happy not to get kilt by the pissed-off Londoners.

George IV only got to be king for 10 yrs & didn't do much of anything save eat, drink, & be merry once he no longer had a wife he loathed.  He got even fatter & was mocked in the press.  By then political cartoons had been invented & he was the subject of many unflattering ones b/c of his personal habits. 

contemporary cartoon giving George IV the mocks
note the knife & fork as his family crest PMSL

There were rumors he was an opium-eater; this would be a peep addicted to laudanum, which is that stuff they're always dosing peeps w/ in novels as a pain-killer or sleep aid.  That whole India & China trade thing was booming, no thanks to the king.  He suffered from gout, cataracts, hardening of the arteries, & towards the end he spent entire days lollygagging in bed trying to catch his breath.  I'm gonna diagnose him w/ congestive heart failure, whatcha think?

George demised at Windsor in the middle of the night of June 26, 1830, after a spectacular career of having fun & doing nothing much of importance.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Madness of King George

George III was rather a dull fellow but inexplicably popular w/ the British peeps nonetheless.  He was admired for his faithfulness to Queen Charlotte, his piety, & his strong moral code.  He attempted to shove it all down his sons' throats & they all promptly rebelled against it as soon as they were able, drinking, gambling, consorting w/ actresses & other low wenches, & just generally carousing & having a good time.

George III

George's idea of a good time was hanging out w/ the wife & kidlets, at least until they got too old to mind him LOL

Queen Charlotte

But shortly after that whole colonial debacle, it became apparent George might not be all there.  In 1788 he suffered from a bout of madness, attributed by some historians to porphyria.  He would ramble on quickly & endlessly for hours, until he would lose his voice & start foaming at the mouth, & then he would ramble some more LOL  He was EZ-ily agitated & thunk he was in love w/ one of the queen's ladies, most shocking considering he'd never had a mistress.  Nobody knew what to do w/ him when this dragged on & so a Dr Francis Willis was recommended to the queen as having made great strides in the infant medical specialty of psychiatry.

Poor old George got slipped into a straitjacket & gagged when he started his incessant discourses, & plasters hot enough to blister his skin were applied to draw out the evil humours.  Willis made him get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, & even being king was no exception to the proscribed programme of physical labor.  Every time it seemed George had a grip on reality he would go bonkers again.  When this had gone on for several months, the POW decided meh the old man's nuts & went to Parliament & said I WANNA BE THE KING NOW!

George, Prince of Wales

Parliament decided that wouldn't do, but they did introduce a Regency Bill that would make young George just as good as king.  He sighed & said OK I'll take it, & can ya throw in an increase in my allowance, BTW, b/c I wanna build me a nice chinoiserie pavilion at Brighton.  Alas for Junior, just like w/ Richard of York, the king suddenly made a miraculous recovery & didn't remember a thing about being a whack job.  Prinny went & sulked, tho he perked up some in 1801 & 1804 when his father had more madness, only to have his hopes dashed once again when the old man recovered.

Even crazy, peeps still liked George.  There were 3 assassination attempts on him btwn the 1st & 2nd bouts of madness by, ironically, insane peeps, & George acted mercifully toward em & didn't yell OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!  There was a final Act of Union passed in 1800 that added Ireland into the mix.  George used the op to drop that pesky King of France thing from his titles that had been hanging there since Edward IIIs day, b/c even a nutty king knew he didn't wanna be no steenking king of the Frenchies what w/ all that guillotining & stuff that was going on there lately.  He did hang onto Henry VIIIs silly Defender of the Faith thingy, tho.  They made loads of fun of his sons in the political cartoons of the day, but peeps were always nice to George.  Well, OK, except for the Americans, who called him "Farmer George" (for his interest in agriculture) & branded him a "tyrant".

The youngest princess, Amelia, grew sickly in her teens, prolly w/ some lingering Tudor gene of tuberculosis.  She was Daddy's fav & he was quite upset as her health continued to deteriorate.  Amelia put a huge bummer on Christmas by demising, aged 27, near the end of 1810.  George had developed a bad case of the rheumatiz, was half-blinded w/ cataracts as well as getting increasingly deaf, & he himself took to his bed, overcome w/ mourning for his daughter. 

This turned into his last & final bout of madness & a Regency Bill was passed thru Parliament in 1811, giving Prinny's ever-widening rump the powers of kingship if not the title.  The queen was named the guardian of the king's person.  George was kept in seclusion at Windsor & no one even told him when Charlotte demised in 1818, as he didn't seem to notice she'd gone missing.  By Christmas of 1819 he started yammering again & wouldn't shut up, but no one had to worry about him becoming violent anymore b/c his arthritis was so bad he couldn't walk & by then he was totally blind & just about deaf.  Kinda pathetic, really.

Finally he demised at age 81 in January 1820, having set the bar for longest-lived monarch & longest-ruling monarch, as he was on the throne for not quite 60 yrs.  Elizabeth II & Victoria have since smashed his records FYI.  George III was the 1st of the Hanoverian monarchs to be born in England, speak English as his primary language, & never once toddle over to Hanover to check it out.  He was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The Prince Regent, 1816, in his Garter robes

Prinny was pushing 60 & prolly thinking the insane old man was gonna never demise & let him get his pudgy mitts on the crown, so he likely jumped up & down as much as his bulk would allow LOL when he got the news that the Regency was over & he could FINALLY have a nice coronation.....