Tag Archives: Queen Victoria

The Historical Tourist visits Walmer Castle

Between 1539 and 1543, King Henry VIII, who feared an invasion after divorcing his Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon and splitting from the Catholic church, constructed a chain of defensive castles. Built to a common design, the three artillery forts created to protect a stretch of beach along the Kent coast consisted of a central circular keep with lower semi-circular bastions that were arranged symmetrically around the keep to allow several tiers of guns to be mounted. Although one of the three, Sandown Castle, was almost entirely destroyed in the nineteenth century, Deal, the largest of the three, and Walmer survive.

Walmer Castle is often overshadowed by the better known Dover Castle, six miles away, but the Historical Tourist chose to visit Walmer because of its unique history. Although the castle was occupied by Royalists and put under siege by Parliamentarians following the execution of Charles I in 1648, its design had become old-fashioned by the end of the seventeenth century and Walmer Castle began to be used as the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1708. Holders of the post are usually appointed for life, but it is not a hereditary title. The office continues to be “seen as a high honour to be conferred on those who have given especially distinguished service to the State”, so it is not surprising that previous Lords Warden include the Duke of Wellington, Viscount Palmerston, Sir Winston Churchill, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The Historical Tourist has to admit that while she certainly respects this illustrious company, her interest in Walmer Castle is primarily due to another Lord Warden, the Rt Hon. William Pitt, who was born 252 years ago today! The son of the Earl of Chatham, Pitt the Younger became the youngest man ever to become Prime Minister when he took office in 1783 at age 24. Remembered for his gift at managing the nation’s finances and for his eloquence in the House of Commons, Pitt is also one of the longest serving Prime Ministers, in office from 1783-1801, and again from 1804 until his death in 1806.

View from Walmer Castle

In a note following his well-written and extremely readable biography of the late Prime Minister, author William Hague wrote that he “felt closest to [Pitt], perhaps, in Walmer Castle, where the panelled landing and the dining room are not dissimilar from how they would have been in his time, and it is possible to imagine him sitting at the head of the table, entertaining military visitors, humouring Lady Stanhope, and going out onto the wide terrace to look for signs of activity at sea” (p 17 *). With such an endorsement, I couldn’t help passing over Deal and even Dover for the official residence of the Warden of the Cinque Ports!

Although the Willingdon room, near the entrance of the castle, contains objects associated with Pitt the Younger, including a mahogany desk and a campaign chair, named because its metal frame meant that it could be taken apart for traveling, Walmer Castle’s most interesting displays are the rooms associated with the Duke of Wellington. Wellington was a frequent visitor who called the castle the “most charming marine residence”. The proximity of Walmer Castle to the port of Dover made it ideal for entertaining foreign royalty, but it was also enjoyed by the British Royal family. Victoria visited the castle at age sixteen and returned seven years later, as Queen, with Albert and two of their children. They stayed for a month.

Today Walmer Castle is home to the Lucas Collection of Wellington Memorabilia, which was donated to the property in 1966. The collection contains portraits and busts, but I was more impressed by the other objects featuring the Duke’s likeness, which included pot lids, paperweights, and even a doorstop!

The smaller Wellington Museum room contains a number of objects associated with the Duke’s Wardenship, including a pair of his famous Wellington boots and the instructions written to the shoemaker about their design. More on the history of Wellington boots can be found in an earlier entry here. The collection also contains a death mask of the Duke, who died at Walmer Castle on September 14th, 1852 at age 83.

Successive Wardens usually bought furniture from their predecessor’s estate, but Lord Palmerston refused to do so and the late Duke’s items were moved to his Apsley House residence so they were not dispersed. After W.H. Smith became Warden in 1891, he initiated the Indenture of Heirlooms by an Act of Parliament so that historic items would remain at Walmer Castle. As a result, when Lady Reading, in the 1930s, attempted to restore Wellington’s bedroom to the way it had been at the time of his death, the original contents of the room were returned to the castle by the fourth Duke of Wellington. Wellington’s bedroom, which is decorated with period appropriate wallpaper, now holds his campaign bed and the armchair in which he died.

My favourite resident is remembered in the Pitt Museum room across the hall. Pitt became the first commoner appointed to the post in 1792. Deeply in debt, he accepted the position because it came with an annual salary of three thousand pounds, and when his finances forced him to give up his country house he moved to Walmer permanently in 1803. The Pitt Museum is smaller than the displays on Wellington, but I enjoyed viewing the Gainsborough-Dupont portrait, political cartoons, and letter written by Pitt that adorn the walls and the leather covered gaming chair and writing desk that likely belonged to him.

Walmer corridor

During his Wardenship, Pitt created the corridor that runs the full length of the castle, which was painted a vivid teal by the succeeding Granvilles, and added the room later used by the Duke of Wellington as a bedroom to the castle as a winter apartment because it was the warmest part of the castle. He also made important contributions to the castle’s gardens with the help of his niece and hostess Lady Hester Stanhope.

The Dining Room at Walmer Castle

Other rooms at Walmer Castle include the royal bedroom suite used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during their month long visit in 1842, the 1920s/30s style drawing room, and the dining room mentioned in William Hague’s biography. The dining room continues to be set with a blue minton service that was used by the Queen Mother, Walmer Castle’s first female Warden, and the grounds contain a garden that was commissioned by English Heritage as a ninety-fifth birthday gift.

Queen Mother's Garden at Walmer Castle

* William Hague. William Pitt the Younger. London: Harper Perennial, 2005.



Filed under British History, Georgian, The Historical Tourist, The Regency

First Blogiversary

by Tele Chhe - Flickr

One year ago I published my first posts here at Truth in Fiction making today my blogiversary! I haven’t always been a consistent blogger, something I’ll do my best to change this year, but I have enjoyed watching, researching, and writing for this blog.

Truth in Fiction doesn’t fit neatly into one category. I’m not solely a film or book blogger and although I enjoy writing the Historical Tourist feature, I don’t travel enough to devote an entire blog to it. So when I decided to mark one year of blogging by looking back on the most popular posts of the year, as measured by the number of page views recorded by WordPress, I was pleased to find that the posts covered a variety of categories.

The leader in page views benefits from an attention-grabbing title as well as curiosity about the subject. Wellington’s Boots was written after I spotted a pair of the Iron Duke’s creation, while visiting his former residence of Walmer Castle. The display also included Wellington’s 1839 letter to his shoemaker instructing how a pair of boots should be made. So far 423 people have learned the history behind these enduring boots!

When I visited Ireland’s Glasnevin Cemetery in 2009, I was surprised by the number of people who arrived for the guided walking tour. I assumed the cemetery in North Dublin would be off the beaten tourist track but it has been both a popular tourist destination and a popular post. Over the past year 239 people have viewed The Historical Tourist visits Glasnevin Cemetery and “glasnevin cemetery”, “www.glasnevintrust.ie”, and “glasnevin heritage centre” have all been used multiple times as search engine terms. I’m glad to see that this important historical place remains a popular choice.

My review of The Young Victoria is the most popular movie post on Truth in Fiction and ranks number three overall. Written as part of a Victoria Day-themed series of posts, The Young Victoria has been visited 226 times. Many of the visitors have been searching for whether parts of the film were true or false and among the search engine terms used to find the post, which I have left to their original wording and spelling, are: “the young victoria was albert shot?”, “why did the young victoria have to escorted on the stairs?”, “what did Melbourne advice young victoria to do that upset the people!”, and “young victoria king’s birthday speech”. Hopefully my review of the film was able to answer all of their questions!

Rounding out the top five are two very different book reviews. I raved about Morgan Llywelyn’s 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion, in a post viewed 175 times so far, praising her meticulously researched fictional re-telling of the Easter Rising and her ability to bring historical figures to life as compelling characters.

I was less impressed by Gillian Gill’s joint biography of the Queen and her Prince Consort We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals, but the popularity of the film The Young Victoria likely helped generate the 134 views of this post.

On this anniversary I’d like to thank everyone who does read Truth in Fiction and especially the fellow blogging members of my family, who can always be relied upon to leave comments and offer encouragement. Hopefully my second year of blogging will continue to be as informative and fun as the first!

© Tela Chhe | Flickr Creative Commons


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The Young Victoria

This is my third review for the 2010 Period Drama Challenge hosted by Lights, Camera…History!

“Some people are born more fortunate than others,” says Victoria (played by Emily Blunt) in a voiceover at the beginning of the film, but she doesn’t feel fortunate. The teenage Princess is controlled by a strict set of rules implemented by her mother, The Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), and her household comptroller Sir John Conroy (Mark Strong). These rules forbid her from sleeping in a room without her mother and from walking down a flight of stairs without an escort to hold her hand. Despite Conroy’s attempts to force the seventeen-year-old Victoria to sign a regency order, which would allow the Duchess of Kent to reign for her underage daughter, Victoria stubbornly refuses to sign away her crown. When she reaches her eighteenth birthday the order becomes obsolete and upon the death of her Uncle King William IV (Jim Broadbent), she is crowned Queen.

Victoria initially delights in the new freedom that being Queen brings, refusing to see Sir John Conroy and having the Duchess’ bed moved from her room. Although pressure is placed on her to marry, she is unwilling to give up her newfound independence and delays a decision, turning instead to the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (Paul Bettany), for advice. Victoria’s unwillingness to lose Melbourne turns public opinion against her though and the Queen decides that she is ready for a partner who will “play the game with” her. This partner is Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Rupert Friend), with whom she falls deeply in love. Both have been pawns in their families’ political aspirations though, and both are strong-willed, resulting in an inevitable clash of character.

Victoria is informed that she is now Queen.

Victoria really did interfere with politics by refusing to appoint Tory-affiliated ladies of the bedchamber. The “bedchamber crisis”, as it was dubbed, occurred when Lord Melbourne, the Whig Prime Minister she had become close friends with, resigned from government. Sir Robert Peel, a Tory, was given a chance to form a government but the Queen had appointed Melbourne’s choices as her ladies of the bedchamber, all of whom came from prominent Whig families. She refused to let some of these ladies be replaced with Tory choices, citing her royal prerogative to retain ladies regardless of their political affiliations. Peel believed that this refusal meant he did not have the Queen’s confidence and refused to form a government. The result was that Victoria kept Melbourne in government as her Prime Minister but was criticized mercilessly by the press and hissed at by the people, who called her “Mrs. Melbourne”.

The Young Victoria also depicts King William’s speech at his birthday dinner in which he denounced the Duchess of Kent for her behaviour and for keeping her daughter away from court. Not only is this true, but some of the speech is quoted word for word from what the King reportedly said! The difference lies in the aftermath. In the film the Duchess storms out and Victoria just appears upset, but in reality, Victoria burst into tears and the Duchess remained in the room, sitting next to the King at that so one imagines it made for an awkward meal!

On a lighter note, there is a brief scene in which the Duke of Wellington uses a yo-yo. Much to my surprise, the Duke was reportedly an enthusiast of the toy, although it was then known as a ‘quiz’ or a ‘bandalore’ rather than a ‘yo-yo’.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Although The Young Victoria portrays him as a seducer, it’s worth noting that Lord Melbourne was forty years Victoria’s senior, an age few would guess at in the film given Paul Bettany’s youthful makeup and costuming. Victoria never knew her father and Lord Melbourne had lost his child so it is likely that their relationship was more paternal than romantic.

The only large change comes in an assassination attempt made late in the film that I suspect was added as a dramatic way for Albert and Victoria to reconcile after an argument. Albert is shot defending his wife in the scene and Victoria tearfully reaffirms her love. Although many attempts were made on Victoria’s life throughout her sixty-three year reign, Albert was never wounded during one.

Additionally, Leopold, King of the Belgians, is depicted as a rather one-note schemer. While he certainly did train his nephew to woo Victoria, he was also Victoria’s favourite Uncle and a great influence on her.

My mother, the Grammarian, kindly went to see the film with me even though she doesn’t share my passion for history and she enjoyed it. Part of The Young Victoria‘s appeal is that it has something for everyone. Yes it’s a romance and a period piece, but it also has politics and characters who are relatable in the modern age. It’s largely historically accurate and features stunning costumes and a great cast. Some have criticized Emily Blunt for not looking enough like the Queen, but she has Victoria’s stubbornness and her charms completely. In my opinion, it is Rupert Friend who is the real star of the movie though. His Albert is a Prince that any girl would be glad to have by her side and is obviously loving, but also displays human flaws, showing frustration when he must wait for Victoria to choose him and at her dependence on “Lord M”.

The Young Victoria is a wonderful film that I would recommend to anyone.


Filed under British History, Period Drama Challenge, Victorian

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill. Ballantine Books, 2009.

Gillian Gill’s We Two is a biographical look at Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In it she presents the argument that their marriage was not a case of Victoria submitting to Albert, but a constant struggle for power. She begins with Victoria’s unhappy childhood as a virtual captive in her own home, forced to abide by a set of strict rules implemented by her mother and the household comptroller Sir John Conroy which came to be known as the Kensington System. She then examines Albert’s childhood in Germany before discussing their marriage and their family life including the nine royal children who would marry into Royal houses across Europe.

We Two gets off to a great start. While it includes historical detail, it is also very readable and Gill’s narrative style flows. Some interesting details are offered, including the fact that the morality for which the Victorian age is remembered was due to Albert’s influence rather than Victoria’s, and I loved the descriptions of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Royal Visit to France. These events are presented in such vivid detail that the reader can feel the enthusiasm Gill’s subjects must have felt during these events. The biography sets out to demonstrate that Victoria and Albert’s marriage was a constant power struggle but the strongest chapters are those dealing with Victoria’s youth and their family life together.

Unfortunately Gill is less effective when she writes about Albert and the early years of their marriage. Biographers must walk a fine line. They must be interested enough in their subjects to devote months or even years of study to them, but identifying too closely with the subject may cause the work to become a biased text that overlooks flaws and criticism in favour of undisguised adoration. This is not Gill’s problem. In fact she leans too far to the other side of the spectrum, making this reader wonder why she would bother writing on two subjects when she so clearly dislikes one of them!

Gill is extremely hard on Prince Albert, especially during the chapters chronicling the early years of his marriage to Victoria, so I can only imagine what reading Duff’s biography, which Gill cites as a “scathing indictment” of the Prince in her endnotes, would be like! Throughout We Two she complains about Albert’s excessive morality, his lack of humour and warmth with the general populace, and his desire for political and household control. These can be easily accepted as human flaws, but Gill goes one step further by using the label ‘misogynist’ for Albert.

Was the Prince Consort sexist by 21st century standards? Absolutely, as were most men of his time, but labeling him a misogynist, a term defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as a “man who hates women”, is completely unfounded. Feminist theory suggests that there is no difference between sexism and misogyny. I respectfully disagree.

Albert did hold sexist views. He was raised in Germany, where law forbid women from inheriting the throne, and was surrounded entirely by other men in the form of his father, brother Ernest, and uncle Leopold. His mother was exiled from court when he was six and passed away five years later. It’s hardly a surprise that the ambitious Albert doubted his wife’s ability to reign as a consequence; yet Albert loved his mother as a boy, showed affection for Victoria throughout their marriage, and doted on his eldest daughter Vicky, The Princess Royal. Certainly in the nineteenth century it was possible to hold sexist views, as Albert did, without hating women. The friction in Albert and Victoria’s relationship over power demonstrates that both had human flaws but it does not constitute misogyny and Gill’s labeling of it as such put me off her biography.

It is also worth mentioning that she not only uses the word in reference to Albert more than once but also uses it to label other male characters. Admittedly this is something that I found extremely off-putting personally but that might not influence other readers’ enjoyment of the work. If this mislabeling doesn’t bother you or if you choose to believe that misogyny and sexism are one and the same then you will likely enjoy this biography. It just wasn’t for me.

On an unrelated note, the choice of endnotes over footnotes might be more appealing for a popular history work, but it is distracting to have to flip back and forth to expand on sources.

Verdict: Your mileage may vary on this one. While I found Gillian Gill to be a capable writer, her obvious bias put me off and I can’t recommend this book. If you are interested in reading it borrow the book rather than buying it and take what she writes about the Prince Consort with a grain of salt.


Filed under Biography, British History, Victorian

Sunday Spotlight: Enchanted by Josephine

I hadn’t planned on doing a Sunday Spotlight post this week, but when I found out Enchanted by Josephine was holding a Victoria Day Weekend event I couldn’t resist! I’ve been reading Lucy’s blog for awhile now and was even been tempted to join her French Historicals Reading Challenge this year, although I ultimately decided to keep my number of challenges small.

As you might have guessed, her blog is named for Josephine, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, and her interests lie in French and Italian history. Enchanted by Josephine features historical posts, author guest posts, book reviews of historical fiction and non-fiction, and an interesting feature called ‘Historical Flavour of the Month’ where she features brief but fascinating biographies of women in history. Specific pages collect her posts on Venice and Josephine, two of her favourite subjects. Lucy is also a member of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, which writes about new historical fiction releases and is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the genre.

As a fellow Canadian blogger, Lucy is celebrating the long weekend with a Queen Victoria event. Enchanted by Josephine has already reviewed a biography on the Queen by Grace Greenwood and is planning more Victoria-themed content including a giveaway. Anyone who posts on Queen Victoria is invited to share their links on Enchanted by Josephine as part of the ‘Queen Victoria Long Weekend Binge’ here.

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YotH: The Queen and Lord M

The Queen and Lord M by Jean Plaidy. Robert Hale Limited, 1973.

This is my May entry in the 2010 reading challenge Year of the Historical.

The second in her four book Queen Victoria series, Jean Plaidy’s The Queen and Lord M chronicles Victoria’s life through her time at Kensington Palace while she waits to become Queen and her marriage to Albert. As the title suggests this is the story of Victoria’s close relationship with the Prime Minister. Although forty years her elder, Lord Melbourne charmed the Queen and was the most important male figure in her life until she married Albert. Victoria’s attachment to her dear “Lord M” is at first charming as he guides her through the earliest days of her reign, but her unwillingness to let go of their close friendship threatens the country when she stubbornly refuses to let Melbourne’s failing government be replaced by Sir Robert Peel’s Tories.

Plaidy’s novel is largely historically accurate, but does take one liberty with the age of “the boy Jones”. She writes that a boy of eight or nine was discovered in Buckingham Palace where he had hoped to meet the Queen. While there was a boy who found his way into the palace, he was Edward Jones, a fifteen-year-old sweep who had squeezed through a hole in the Marble Arch in 1938. The press called him “In-I-Go Jones” because his ability to find an entrance meant that he must be “a descendant of In-I-Go Jones”, a reference to Renaissance architect Inigo Jones. Jones made a second visit to the palace two years later when he was found under the sofa in Her Majesty’s dressing room.

The unfortunate case of Lady Flora Hastings is also true. She began to experience swelling in 1839 but refused a medical examination so the physician believed her to be pregnant. The pregnancy rumour was spread by Baroness Lehzen, Victoria’s old governess and close friend, and the Marchioness of Tavistock. Flora Hastings did eventually submit to an examination in early 1839 and the doctor found a liver tumor. After she passed away in July of that year, her brother and Sir John Conroy began a press campaign against the Queen and all others involved in the scandal.

She has been called one of the ‘grande dames’ of historical fiction, but until I started following historical fiction blogs I had never even heard of Jean Plaidy, let alone read any of her many novels. Although her books were published between 1941 and the early 90s, they have enduring appeal for many historical fiction devotees and there is even a Plaidy reading challenge you can take part in. Unfortunately many of her books are now out of print and I borrowed my copy from the local library.

I’m not quite ready to declare her the ‘Queen of historical fiction’ but I do understand why she is admired by so many. What Plaidy does well in this novel is to give realistic but interesting voices to historical figures. The Queen and Lord M didn’t immediately hook me, but once Victoria met Melbourne the witty conversations between Prime Minister and Queen captured my attention and didn’t let go. I thought that Plaidy did a wonderful job of getting into the minds of these characters and giving them distinct voices. Although the film came much later, I can just hear Paul Bettany and Emily Blunt as Lord M and Victoria from the wonderful movie The Young Victoria having these conversations as I read, and think that this makes a wonderful companion piece for anyone who enjoyed the film.

Of course the true strength of this novel is the amount of research that went into it, a joy for those historical fiction readers who like their novels heavy on the history but still very readable. If you read to expand your vocabulary you’ll also be in for a treat. Plaidy uses a number of unusual words but not in a way that suggests a case of Thesaurusitus.

This one really is a nitpick, but I found that Plaidy significantly overused the expression “with tears in his eyes” when referring to Lord Melbourne. Unless he was a particularly weepy man or prone to allergies I can’t imagine anyone being so often on the verge of tears. What begins as a touching reminder of his affection for Victoria quickly became, in my opinion, an odd and overused image in an otherwise realistic novel.

So how did I feel about my first Plaidy novel? I enjoyed it a great deal and I hope to read more by her in the future. Unfortunately, my local library doesn’t have a copy of the third Victoria novel (The Queen’s Husband) so I’ll be on my own tracking that one down.

Verdict: Recommended. Especially for anyone who enjoyed The Young Victoria and wants to learn more.

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Filed under British History, Victorian

The amazing race… to the altar!

History is full of royal mistresses and marriages based on political alliances rather than love, but the union of King George III and Charlotte was a rare case of an arranged marriage that was both successful and happy. George met his bride for the first time on their wedding day but he never took a mistress and the couple had 15 children. With seven sons and six daughters surviving to adulthood the succession seemed ensured.

But at 32 their eldest son George, Prince of Wales, was still not suitably married and his extravagant lifestyle had put him deeply in debt. His father refused to lend him money but Parliament offered an increased salary as well as repayment of all his debts if would marry his cousin Caroline of Brunswick, so the Prince reluctantly agreed. The marriage was a disaster. It was consummated only once (with him drunk) and the couple formally separated after the birth of a baby girl, Charlotte.

With her parents constantly at war, it’s not surprising that Charlotte had an unhappy childhood. She had a strict upbringing and came to believe that the only solution to her problems was marriage. Charlotte wasn’t in love with Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, nor he with her, but he set out to win her love and Charlotte fell for the handsome Leopold. On May 2, 1816 Leopold married the heiress to the British throne. Later he would train his nephew Albert to win the heart of another English Princess… Victoria.

Charlotte had miscarried twice in the early months of their marriage before she became pregnant again. In November she delivered a stillborn son. At first Charlotte seemed to be recovering from the long labour but later she began to have difficulty breathing and passed away, likely of an internal hemorrhage. The devastated Leopold wrote ‘Two generations gone – gone in a moment!’

The double tragedy also left open the question of who would inherit the throne. George III had many surviving sons, all of whom were in their forties or fifties, but none had produced legitimate offspring under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. The Act said that:

“no descendant of the body of his late majesty King George the Second, male or female, (other than the issue of princesses who have married, or may hereafter marry, into foreign families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, signified under the great seal, and declared in council… and that every marriage, or matrimonial contract, of any such descendant, without such consent first had and obtained, shall be null and void, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.”

It went on to add that if the descendant wished to marry someone the King disapproved of, they could apply to Parliament for permission and then wait twelve months before doing so. Despite the restrictions of the Royal Marriages Act, there was a large incentive to marry within its limits – married Princes would receive an extra income from Parliament!

When Charlotte died in 1818, George III’s insanity had taken hold and he was in seclusion at Windsor Castle while The Prince of Wales ruled as Prince Regent. After the 55 year-old Prince George the succession went as follows: Frederick (age 54), William (52), Edward (50), Ernest (46), Augustus (44) and Adolphus (43). All seven sons were supported by Parliament and had been called “the damnedest millstones around the necks of any government that can be imagined” by the Duke of Wellington. Of the seven, only George, Augustus, and Frederick were already married and none with legitimate offspring so the race to the altar began…

William already had 10 children with his mistress Dorothy Jordan but married the German Princess Adelaide. Their union was by all accounts a happy one, but it produced only one child who lived more than a few days.

Ernest married Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and, two weeks after Charlotte’s death, Adolphus married Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. Edward married a widower, the Princess of Leningen, who had originally refused him because she was happier as a widow and already had two children. After the double tragedy Edward proposed to her again, this time through her brother Leopold, and was accepted.

In March 1819 William and Adelaide bore a daughter who died within hours of her birth, but the seventh brother Adolphus produced a son named George.

In May, the fifth brother, Ernest, became a father. His son was also named George.

But on May 24th, Edward, Duke of Kent, and his wife delivered a daughter. As the child of the fourth brother, little Princess Victoria became the heir presumptive to the British throne.

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Filed under British History, Historical Tales, The Regency