Monday, January 6, 2014

Princess Charlotte of Wales

The bright spot of the Regency era was Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent and Caroline of Brunswick. Despite the horror of their marriage, the couple managed to produce a lovely and sweet daughter, and proceeded to make her life pretty miserable. George left most of her upbringing to governesses and servants, and severely limited her contact with her mother. Charlotte was devoted to her mother, despite her faults. King George III adored his only grandchild and was responsible for arranging her education, with the clear goal of training her for the role of future queen.

I am surprised that a Regency costume drama has never been made of her life, as it is so full of intrigue, passion, and tragedy, all played by a spunky heroine that even Jane Austen could not have imagined. Charlotte was said to have identified with Austen's Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.

The Prince Regent was anxious to make an advantageous marriage for his daughter, and settled on William, the Hereditary Prince of Orange. Charlotte's first meeting with him was not a success, as William had joined all the other men in getting drunk. I'm making a long, complicated story very short, but during this time, Charlotte met a poor German nobleman, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, and the two fell in love. The end result was that they married and lived happily ever after. Well, happily for a year or so.

The public adored Charlotte and her happy match was viewed as not only a fairy-tale ending, but a triumph over the machinations of her father. Here, Dolly and Minerva are thrilled to see the loving couple at the theatre, while watching a performance of Sheridan's The Rivals. Mrs. Malaprop was a popular character, famed for her hilariously garbled figures of speech. Her name has gone on in the term malapropisms, substituting a word for a similar one, to humorous effect.

Here's a picture of Princess Charlotte next to the dress she wore in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment