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.....


  1. Her mum was a real *itch. As for how Drina was raised, well it explains much about her. Generation after generation of really lousy parenting. Kind of sad really. Great stories though - the best kind, 'cause they're true stories. (A lesson that could be learned by Phillipa Gregory!)


  2. All right Scarlet, am caught up again, eagerly awaiting the next installment.