Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Royal Family Fun

War, war, everywhere was what George III had to contend w/ after his usual nice Westminster Abbey coronation.

George III in his coronation robes

There was fighting going on in India; that was going rather well for the British, who'd taken it into their heads to conquer the subcontinent.  The battle of Pondicherry was the turning pt & the start of the creation of the British Raj there.

There was still fighting going on in Europe b/c that Frederick the Great kept invading peeps & "Sweet William" was roundly booed as his forces lost a portion of Hanover to the Frenchies.  But then there were lots of HUZZAHS! when the British Navy demolished the Frenchie Navy in a battle off the coast of Portugal.  And the Navy was as far afield as the Philippines, bombarding & capturing Manila from the Spanish.  We're talking GB was King of the Seas here, & all b/c Henry VIII had a ship built named after his mistress LOL

The Prime Minister, William Pitt, decided it might be a good idea to attack Frenchie possessions in the West Indies AKA the Carribean, & the islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, St Lucia, St Vincent, & Grenada were wrested from French control, while in Cuba, Havana was taken from the Spanish.  He also sent British troops to poke round in Africa & they captured Senegal.

William Pitt the Elder

Then natch there was that whole Frenchie thing going on in North America.  After the stunning victory at Quebec the French were trounced in Newfoundland at the battle of Signal Hill & were all RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

Mummy's pal Lord Bute replaced Pitt as George IIIs PM & he was all pffft there are too many bloody wars going on here, kiddo, we need to get out of some of these.  Peeps were all but, we got MORE STUFF!  Bute was all, we sure do, & looky how much all that stuff is costing us! 

So there was the Treaty of Paris whereby GB got most of the North American continental possessions of France in exchange for handing back a couple of the islands.  Good deal, eh?  All of Canada was now a GB colony, plus they got that Ohio Territory so the 13 colonies could expand all the way to the Mississippi.  The Louisiana Territory the Frenchies ceded to Spain, so there went all their hopes of ever having a nice colonial empire in the New World.  Bute decided we don't need no steenking Prussian alliance, so they got out of the continental European fray as well.  Frederick didn't need no steenking British anyway, as he was now allied w/ Peter the Great of Russia & together they forced Austria to the negotiating table as well.  The balance of power in Europe was definitely shifting & France was getting the shite end of the stick.  This is when peeps started bragging that the sun never set on the British Empire.  George was all chuffed as ya would be, tho most everything accomplished in the Eastern Hemisphere was Grandpa's doing.  But Grandpa, as noted, had pitched off his throne, so the young king got all the kudos.

George was def of marriageable age so his peeps began scouting for a nice bride.  They settled on Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, from one of those little Protestant German principalities like Mummy.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Charlotte was 17 when she was collected by George's peeps & brought over to England on a royal yacht that had been renamed just for her.  Just like Freddy & Augusta, her wedding to George was held in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

Chapel Royal, St James's Palace

The Prime Directive of Queenship is breed up heirs & Charlotte excelled at this even better than her MIL, as she & George had 15 kidlets, 13 of whom lived to adulthood.  Right out of the gate she gave birth to the male heir, George, followed by a pair of spares, Frederick & William, b4 getting a girl.

Their 1st daughter was named after the queen & given the title of the Princess Royal.  This hadn't been used much in the past after Edward III invented it for his eldest daughter Isabel, but the Hanoverians were bringing it back into vogue.  B/c she shared her name w/ Mum, the infant was called Royal all her life, instead of Charlotte.

Queen Charlotte & her daughter Charlotte, Princess Royal

I'm amazed Augusta didn't have a huge tantrum over the kid's name.  Charlotte did not get along well w/ her MIL, Augusta, whose fav Bute controlled the govt.  Deprived of being queen herself by Freddy's untimely demise, Augusta was determined to act like it & George was rather too much of a Mummy's boy to put his foot down on her neck.  Augusta redefined Margaret Beaufort's antiquated ideas of court etiquette to the pt where Charlotte didn't get to do much of anything unless her MIL said twas OK.  The ladies of her household were not even allowed to approach her sans beckoning & only if Charlotte wanted something; intimate conversation was deemed verboten.  Augusta even banned card playing when she found out Charlotte liked it.

After Royal, the kidlets just kept coming in a steady stream for the next 17 yrs; you can just picture Parliament groaning at all these royal allowances to dole out LOL  There was a 4th son, Edward, then the Princesses Augusta & Elizabeth, Ernest Augustus (named for George Is dad), Augustus Frederick, Adolphus, Mary, Sophia, Octavius (he was the 8th boy so betcha they was fresh outta names LOL), Alfred, & Amelia.  All the royal brats were healthy so twas a shock when little Alfred was born sickly & stayed that way, demising at not quite 2 yrs old.  Octavius was said to be George's fav (by this time the older lads were grown up & irksome as that many princes jockeying for power would be).  The 8th little prince suddenly became ill w/ that catch-all "fever" thing 6 mos after little bro Alfred died, & was demised in 2 days, aged 4.  George was said to be crushed w/ grief at the lad's death.

by Thomas Gainsborough

Darling Billy, who may have batted for the other team as he was sans wife & never expressed interest in getting one or was known to have any mistresses, was generally given the stink eye as royal uncles get, peeps thinking he meant to be the power behind the throne.  Good luck w/ that w/ Augusta in the way LOL  Billy had gotten ginormous despite being a career Army peep & just 4 yrs into his nevvy's reign he demised of a heart attack on Halloween, aged 44.  He got a nice funeral & was hurled under the floor of Henry VIIs Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

Scandal rocked the royal house b/c of George's littlest sister, Caroline Matilda.  Grandpa had betrothed her to Christian VII of Denmark & so at age 15 off to be wed CM went. 

Christian VII, King of Denmark

Christian made the Madness of King George look like a nap & tis agreed upon that he was most likely schizophrenic, suffering from hallucinations, bouts of self-mutilation, extreme paranoia, violent actions, & more interested in debauchery than in kingship or married life.  In fact, he made a public statement that he couldn't love CM b/c twas "unfashionable" LOL  Certainly in a court where the king lowered the standards to consorting openly w/ low-born whores & expecting his peeps to follow suit, twas indeed not moot to express sentiment toward one's bride. 

Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark
is it just moi, or does she look like a freakin' Easter egg? ROFL

Christian's stepmother, the Dowager Queen Juliana, was the real power behind the throne, & she was disappointed when CM quickly did her queenly duty & presented DH w/ the heir, Frederick, just over a yr after the wedding.  This is b/c Juliana's son Frederick, who was born w/ something wrong w/ him & couldn't walk sans lurching, tho his brains appeared to be unscrambled (mild cerebral palsy, mayhap?), was the heir-presumptive, so she despised CM just on general principles.

Queen Juliana of Denmark, holding a portrait of
her son, Prince Frederick
I so want that red crown chair!

Twas soon apparent to all that Christian's mental condition was really going downhill.  He returned to his wife & son after a lengthy European tour & the usual dive into Copenhagen's brothels en route home, bringing w/ him a peep he'd picked up in the course of his travels, Johann Friedrich Struensee, who was named his royal physician & soon became his chief minister.  Juliana was not amused, but CM was a tad relieved as Struensee's treatments of her DH seemed to calm him down some & Struensee made Christian behave nicely to his DW.  Soon twas Struensee & not Juliana who was running the joint, w/ CMs full approval, as Christian was kept nicely medicated & fell into a stupor.

Johann Friedrich Struensee, de facto Regent of Denmark

The Danish peeps looked askance at CM, who said pffft to their traditional way of doing stuff & not only liked to take daily walks instead of being trundled round in a carriage everywhere she went as the rest of the Danish ladies did, but liked to ride & did it astride dressed as a man (those irksome sidesaddles had come into vogue).  But at least she was merely eccentric, not a whack job, & so the Queen's Party, w/ Struensee behind the scenes, became popular....until twas bruited about that CM & the PM were having a torrid affair.  When CM gave birth to a daughter, Louise Augusta, no one believed it was Christian's kid & the infant was mocked in the press as la petite Struensee.

Louise Augusta of Denmark as an infant

Juliana & her boy Freddy, tired of being shoved to the sidelines, decided enough was enough here.  Freddy's place in the succession was not going to be usurped b/c CM was going to pass of Struensee's bastard brats as Christian's heirs.  CM & her BF were arrested.

contemporary woodcarving of the Arrest of Struensee

CM, w/ her daughter, were taken to isolated Kronberg Castle, where she eventually confessed to the affair w/ Struensee.

Kronborg Castle

After barely 5 yrs of marriage, CM & Christian were divorced, Struensee executed, & Juliana's boy Freddy installed as Regent for his insane half-brother.  A nice palace coup if I ever saw one.  CM lost her kidlets & was banished to Celle Castle in Hanover, where she demised 3 yrs later of scarlet fever, aged 23.  Kingly bro George was appalled at her admission of adultery & refused to let her return to England.

OK so that wasn't strictly British history, but once upon a time Scarlet read a bionovel of Caroline Matilda called The Lost Queen by Norah Lofts, so deal w/ it LOL

In the meantime, the Old Pretender demised in Italy.  Had he been permitted to succeed Daddy in 1701, his reign would've been longer than Queen Victoria's, as he didn't shuck off his mortal coil until 1766.  He was buried at the Vatican in St Peter's Basilica. 

Tho his claim as James III, rightful king of England, Scotland, & Ireland, had been approved by the papacy, Bonnie Prince Charlie was not given the same courtesy as Charles III, despite having a cardinal bro. 

Cardinal Henry Stuart

BPC did not have as good a rep as Daddy.  The Frenchies had decided to mount a full-scale invasion of England during the 7 Yrs' War & thunk meh, we'll put those Stuarts back on the throne while we're there.  James, who was mighty old by then, sent BPC as his representative to the mtg, & BPC turned up drunk & belligerent.  The Frenchies were not amused & decided meh, who needs this shite, & withdrew the idea entirely.  The British Navy repulsed the invasion, anyway, & so it wouldn't have worked.

After Daddy's demise, BPC thunk meh I should get me some legit heirs, mayhap, & married at age 52 to 20 yo Louise of Stolberg-Gedern.

Louise of Stolberg-Gedern

Louise's sister had married the Marquess of Jamaica & Duke of Berwick, of James IIs bastard Fitzjames line, & that was when her rellies decided to throw her at BPC.  BPC thunk if he settled down & produced an heir, he'd get papal recognition & some invasion assistance, while Louise was led to think she was going to live the life of a queen.  Neither's expectations were met.  After half a dozen yrs of living w/ a drunken old fart who prolly couldn't get it up anyway, Louise indulged in a very discreet affair w/ an Italian dude, & 2 yrs later left BPC, claiming he'd been physically abusive to her.  This was supported by BPCs bro & the pope, so likely true he was a drunken wife-beater, b/c  the pope agreed to a legal separation, even (still no Catholic divorce alas).  Louise remained shacked up w/ the poet Vittorio Alfieri until his demise in 1803 (tho when BIL Henry found out, he was not amused & never bothered w/ her again), & then shacked up in Florence w/ a Frenchie artist until her own demise in 1824.

Bonnie Prince Charlie in his 60s
see what too much likker does to ya? LOL

Peeps gave BPC the stink eye & w/ it went the last slim hopes of the Jacobite succession.  He did get his bastard Charlotte legitimicized & bestowed upon her the meaningless title of Countess of Albany, but Charlotte was such a huge slut & had round 4 bastard brats of her own, so she was not considered a viable successor to Daddy.   BPC demised in Rome in 1788 (prolly of cirrhosis LOL) at age 67 & was tumbled in w/ his parents at St Peter's.  His bro styled himself as Henry IX, but as a cardinal of Holy Mother Church w/ no offspring, twas merely nose-thumbing at the firmly entrenched Hanoverians.

George was having more woes w/ his own rellies.  His bro Henry, Duke of Cumberland, was pilloried in the press for carrying on an adulterous relationship, & then to make matters worse, he seecrudly wed a commoner, Anne Horton.

Henry, Duke of Cumberland

Anne was a widow & said to be of a rather slutty bent, so George was not amused, even tho she & Hank never bred.  Then he about tore his wig out LOL when he found out another bro, William, Duke of Gloucester, was also seecrudly married.

William, Duke of Gloucester

Bill had wed Maria Walpole, who was a bastard granddaughter of the former PM Sir Robert Walpole, also a widow & the Dowager Countess of Waldegrave.

Maria, Duchess of Gloucester

This prompted George to cram thru Parliament the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, made retroactive to incl his bros' hi-jinks, what said absotively posilutely NO ONE remotely connected w/ the royal family could get hitched sans the king's permission.  Yeah, the Tudors did that, too, but there was no real law against it, peeps were just afeared of Tudor wrath LOL  Now there was & anyone who did so forfeited not just their own claim to the throne, but that of any offspring.  Bill & Maria had 3 kidlets, 2 of whom lived, who were out of the running.  These wives & kidlets were never received at court & George ignored their existence.  Later on Bill would take an Irish mistress, Lady Almeria Carpenter, & sire a bastard daughter, Louisa, who was even more scandalous as she lived w/ her Scots DH for yonks b4 they were married & had 3 bastards of her own. 

As if this wasn't bad enough, then the Princes of Wales went & contracted a seecrud wedding w/ another widow, this one Catholic!

miniature of George, Prince of Wales, 1780
2 yrs b4 his seecrud wedding

Maria Anne Smythe continued to be known by her 2nd DHs name & was called Mrs Fitzherbert & merely thunk of as the POWs mistress. 

Maria Fitzherbert

Under the Royal Marriages Act, their marriage was totally illegal & if the king got wind of it, the POW would be out of the succession, so twas kept all hush-hush.  She was 6 yrs older than young George & they never had any kidlets w/ which to muddy up the succession & shacked up happily for over 20 yrs.

George II & Charlotte for some reason were reluctant to let their 13 remaining brats get hitched, esp the girls.  The 2 youngest princesses, Sophia & Amelia, as well as their older sister Augusta, never got married at all. 

miniature of Princess Augusta

Princess Sophia

Princess Amelia

Royal was 30 when she married King Frederick of Wurttemberg & never bred, while her poor sis Elizabeth was 47 when she married Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg. 

Charlotte, Queen of Wurttemburg

Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg

Mary was 40 when she married her cuz, Bill's son William, Duke of Gloucester. 

engraving of Mary, Duchess of Gloucester

engraving of William, Duke of Gloucester

Only the king's fav son, Frederick, Duke of York, married relatively young & w/ parental approval, at age 28, to Princess Frederica of Prussia. 

Frederick, Duke of York

Frederica, Duchess of York

None of these marriages produced any offspring, tho Frederick was a skirt-chaser from the word go & reportedly had at least 5 bastards by various GFs.  One avaricious mistress, Mary Anne Clarke, used her position to illegally sell Army commissions, causing a scandal, & when Frederick dumped her he had to pay her a pretty penny to get his indiscreet love letters back.  This is what happens when a guy's too cheap to keep a mistress in the style to which she'd like to become accustomed ROFL  Even sluts gotta plan for retirement.  Tho they had no kids together, Mary Anne's daughter by her DH is an ancestress of novelist Daphne du Maurier.  Begats trivia LOL

Mary Anne Clarke

The rest of the boys didn't even bother getting hitched at all until they were in their 40s & 50s, b/c there was a fun race to see who could produce an heir to the throne....


  1. Still hanging on every word, keep 'em coming Scarlet. Thanks.

  2. any thing that you want to discourse about would i am sure be interesting!!! I always check back to see what is new --- jan