|Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781
| Queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland |
Electress/Queen consort of Hanover
|Tenure||8 September 1761 – 17 November 1818|
|Coronation||22 September 1761|
|Born||19 May 1744|
Unteres Schloß, Mirow,
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||17 November 1818 74) (aged|
Kew Palace, Kew, England
|Burial||2 December 1818|
George III of the United Kingdom (m. 1761)
|Father||Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg|
|Mother||Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen|
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Sophia Charlotte; 19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was the wife of King George III. She was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was queen consort of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress consort of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.
Charlotte was a patron of the arts and an amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens. She was distressed by her husband's bouts of physical and mental illness, which became permanent in later life and resulted in their eldest son George's appointment as Prince Regent in 1811. George III and Charlotte had 15 children in total, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. They included two future British monarchs, George IV and William IV; Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg; Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the father of Queen Victoria; and Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover.
Sophia Charlotte was born on 19 May 1744. She was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg (1708–1752; known as "Prince of Mirow") and of his wife Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen (1713–1761). Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a small north-German duchy in the Holy Roman Empire.
The children of Duke Charles were all born at the Unteres Schloss (Lower Castle) in Mirow. 16 Her upbringing was similar to that of a daughter of an English country gentleman. She received some rudimentary instruction in botany, natural history and language from tutors, but her education focused on household management and on religion, the latter taught by a priest. Only after her brother Adolphus Frederick succeeded to the ducal throne in 1752 did she gain any experience of princely duties and of court life.According to diplomatic reports at the time of her engagement to George III in 1761, Charlotte had received "a very mediocre education". :
When King George III succeeded to the throne of Great Britain upon the death of his grandfather, George II, he was 22 years old and unmarried. His mother and advisors were anxious to have him settled in marriage. The 17-year-old Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz appealed to him as a prospective consort partly because she had been brought up in an insignificant north German duchy; and therefore, would probably have had no experience or interest in power politics or party intrigues. That proved to be the case; to make sure, he instructed her shortly after their wedding "not to meddle," a precept she was glad to follow.
The King announced to his Council in July 1761, according to the usual form, his intention to wed the Princess, after which a party of escorts, led by the Earl Harcourt, departed for Germany to conduct Princess Charlotte to England. They reached Strelitz on 14 August 1761, and were received the next day by the reigning duke, Princess Charlotte's brother, at which time the marriage contract was signed by him on the one hand and Earl Harcourt on the other. Three days of public celebrations followed, and on 17 August 1761, the Princess set out for Britain, accompanied by her brother, Duke Adolphus Frederick, and by the British escort party. On 22 August, they reached Cuxhaven, where a small fleet awaited to convey them to England. The voyage was extremely difficult; the party encountered three storms at sea, and landed at Harwich only on 7 September. They set out at once for London, spent that night in Witham, at the residence of Lord Abercorn, and arrived at 3:30 pm the next day at St. James's Palace in London. They were received by the King and his family at the garden gate, which marked the first meeting of the bride and groom.
At 9:00 pm that same evening (8 September 1761), within six hours of her arrival, Charlotte was united in marriage with King George III. The ceremony was performed at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker.Only the royal family, the party who had travelled from Germany, and a handful of guests were present.
Upon her wedding day, Charlotte spoke no English. However, she quickly learned English, albeit speaking with a strong German accent. One observer commented, "She is timid at first but talks a lot, when she is among people she knows." 17:
Less than a year after the marriage, on 12 August 1762, the Queen gave birth to her first child, George, Prince of Wales. In the course of their marriage, the couple became the parents of 15 children,all but two of whom (Octavius and Alfred) survived into adulthood.
St James's Palace functioned as the official residence of the royal couple, but the king had recently purchased a nearby property, Buckingham House, located at the western end of St James's Park. Relatively more private and compact, the new property stood amid rolling parkland not far from St James's Palace. Around 1762 the King and Queen moved to this residence, which was originally intended as a private retreat. The Queen came to favour this residence, spending so much of her time there that it came to be known as The Queen's House. Indeed, in 1775, an Act of Parliament settled the property on Queen Charlotte in exchange for her rights to Somerset House.Most of her 15 children were born in Buckingham House, although St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence.
During her first years in Great Britain, Charlotte's strained relationship with her mother-in-law, Princess Augusta, caused her difficulty in adapting to the life of the British court. [ by whom? ] for keeping favorites, notably her close confidante Juliane von Schwellenberg.The queen mother interfered with Charlotte's efforts to establish social contacts by insisting on rigid court etiquette. Furthermore, Augusta appointed many of Charlotte's staff, among whom several were expected to report to Augusta about Charlotte's behaviour. When she turned to her German companions for friends, she was criticised
The King enjoyed country pursuits and riding and preferred to keep his family's residence as much as possible in the then rural towns of Kew and Richmond. He favoured an informal and relaxed domestic life, to the dismay of some courtiers more accustomed to displays of grandeur and strict protocol. Lady Mary Coke was indignant on hearing in July 1769 that the King, the Queen, her visiting brother Prince Ernest and Lady Effingham had gone for a walk through Richmond town by themselves without any servants. "I am not satisfied in my mind about the propriety of a Queen walking in town unattended." 23:
From 1778 the Royal family spent much of their time at a newly-constructed residence, the Queen's Lodge at Windsor, opposite Windsor Castle, in Windsor Great Park, where the King enjoyed hunting deer. 23The Queen was responsible for the interior decoration of their new residence, described by friend of the Royal Family and diarist Mary Delany: "The entrance into the first room was dazzling, all furnished with beautiful Indian paper, chairs covered with different embroideries of the liveliest colours, glasses, tables, sconces, in the best taste, the whole calculated to give the greatest cheerfulness to the place." :
Queen Charlotte endeared herself to her ladies and to her children's attendants by treating them with friendly warmth, reflected in this note she wrote to her daughters' assistant governess:
My dear Miss Hamilton, What can I have to say? Not much indeed! But to wish you a good morning, in the pretty blue and white room where I had the pleasure to sit and read with you The Hermit, a poem which is such a favourite with me that I have read it twice this summer. Oh! What a blessing to keep good company! Very likely I should not have been acquainted with either poet or poem was it not for you. 72:
Charlotte did have some influence on political affairs through the King. Her influence was discreet and indirect, as demonstrated in the correspondence with her brother Charles. She used her closeness with George III to keep herself informed and to make recommendations for offices. Apparently her recommendations were not direct, as she on one occasion, in 1779, asked her brother Charles to burn her letter, because the King suspected that a person she had recently recommended for a post was the client of a woman who sold offices. Charlotte particularly interested herself in German issues. She took an interest in the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779), and it is possible that it was due to her efforts that the King supported British intervention in the continuing conflict between Joseph II and the Charles Theodore of Bavaria in 1785.
When the King had his first, temporary, bout of mental illness in 1765, her mother-in-law and Lord Bute kept Charlotte unaware of the situation. The Regency Bill of 1765 stated that if the King should become permanently unable to rule, Charlotte was to become Regent. Her mother-in-law and Lord Bute had unsuccessfully opposed this arrangement, but as the King's illness of 1765 was temporary, Charlotte was aware neither of it, nor of the Regency Bill.
The King's bout of physical and mental illness in 1788 distressed and terrified the Queen. The writer Fanny Burney, at that time one of the Queen's attendants, overheard her moaning to herself with "desponding sound": "What will become of me? What will become of me?" 116 When the King collapsed one night, she refused to be left alone with him and successfully insisted that she be given her own bedroom. When the doctor, Warren, was called, she was not informed and was not given the opportunity to speak with him. When told by the Prince of Wales that the King was to be removed to Kew, but that she should move to Queen's House or to Windsor, she successfully insisted that she accompany her spouse to Kew. However, she and her daughters were taken to Kew separately from the King and lived secluded from him during his illness. They regularly visited him, but the visits tended to be uncomfortable, as he had a tendency to embrace them and refuse to let them go.:
During the 1788 illness of the King, a conflict arose between the Queen and the Prince of Wales, who were both suspected of desiring to assume the Regency should the illness of the King become permanent, resulting in him being declared unfit to rule. The Queen suspected the Prince of Wales of a plan to have the King declared insane with the assistance of Doctor Warren, and to take over the Regency. The followers of the Prince of Wales, notably Sir Gilbert Ellis, in turn suspected the Queen of a plan to have the King declared sane with the assistance of Doctor Willis and Prime Minister Pitt, so that he could have her appointed Regent should he fall ill again, and then have him declared insane again and assume the Regency. According to Doctor Warren, Doctor Willis had pressed him to declare the King sane on the orders of the Queen.
In the Regency Bill of 1789, the Prince of Wales was declared Regent should the King become permanently insane, but it also placed the King himself, his court and minor children under the guardianship of the Queen. The Queen used this Bill when she refused the Prince of Wales permission to see the King alone, even well after he had been declared sane again in the spring of 1789. The conflict around the regency led to serious discord between the Prince of Wales and his mother. In an argument he accused her of having sided with his enemies, while she called him the enemy of the King. Their conflict became public when she refused to invite him to the concert held in celebration of the recovery of the King, which created a scandal. Queen Charlotte and the Prince of Wales finally reconciled, on her initiative, in March 1791.
As the King gradually became permanently insane, the Queen's personality altered: she developed a terrible temper, sank into depression, no longer enjoyed appearing in public, not even at the musical concerts she had so loved, and her relationships with her adult children became strained. 112–379 passim From 1792 she found some relief from her worry about her husband by planning the gardens and decoration of a new residence for herself, Frogmore House, in Windsor Home Park.:
From 1804 onward, when the King displayed declining mental health, Queen Charlotte slept in a separate bedroom, had her meals separate from him, and avoided seeing him alone.
King George III and Queen Charlotte were music connoisseurs with German tastes, who gave special honour to German artists and composers. They were passionate admirers of the music of George Frideric Handel.
In April 1764, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, then aged eight, arrived in Britain with his family as part of their grand tour of Europe and remained until July 1765.The Mozarts were summoned to court on 19 May and played before a limited circle from six to ten o'clock. Johann Christian Bach, eleventh son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, was then music-master to the Queen. He put difficult works of Handel, J. S. Bach, and Carl Friedrich Abel before the boy: he played them all at sight, to the amazement of those present. Afterwards, the young Mozart accompanied the Queen in an aria which she sang, and played a solo work on the flute. On 29 October, the Mozarts were in London again, and were invited to court to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the King's accession. As a memento of the royal favour, Leopold Mozart published six sonatas composed by Wolfgang, known as Mozart's Opus 3, that were dedicated to the Queen on 18 January 1765, a dedication she rewarded with a present of 50 guineas.
Queen Charlotte was an amateur botanist who took a great interest in Kew Gardens. In an age of discovery, when such travellers and explorers as Captain James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks were constantly bringing home new species and varieties of plants, she ensured that the collections were greatly enriched and expanded.Her interest in botany led to the South African flower, the Bird of Paradise, being named Strelitzia reginae in her honour.
Among the royal couple's favored craftsmen and artists were the cabinetmaker William Vile, silversmith Thomas Heming, the landscape designer Capability Brown, and the German painter Johann Zoffany, who frequently painted the king and queen and their children in charmingly informal scenes, such as a portrait of Queen Charlotte and her children as she sat at her dressing table.In 1788 the royal couple visited the Worcester Porcelain Factory (founded in 1751, and later to be known as Royal Worcester), where Queen Charlotte ordered a porcelain service that was later renamed "Royal Lily" in her honour. Another well-known porcelain service designed and named in her honour was the "Queen Charlotte" pattern.
The queen founded orphanages and, in 1809, became the patron (providing new funding) of the General Lying-in Hospital, a hospital for expectant mothers. It was subsequently renamed as the Queen's Hospital, and is today the Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital.The education of women was of great importance to her, and she ensured that her daughters were better educated than was usual for young women of the day; however, she also insisted that her daughters live restricted lives close to their mother, and she refused to allow them to marry until they were well-advanced in years. As a result, none of her daughters had legitimate issue (one, Princess Sophia, may have had an illegitimate son).
Up until 1788, portraits of Charlotte often depict her in maternal poses with her children, and she looks young and contented;however, in that year her husband fell seriously ill and became temporarily insane. It is now thought that the King was suffering from porphyria, but at the time the cause of the King's illness was unknown. Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of her at this time marks a transition point, after which she looks much older in her portraits; the Assistant Keeper of Charlotte's Wardrobe, Mrs. Papendiek, wrote that the Queen was "much changed, her hair quite grey".
The French Revolution of 1789 probably added to the strain that Charlotte felt.Queen Charlotte and Queen Marie Antoinette of France had maintained a close relationship. Charlotte was 11 years older than Marie Antoinette, yet they shared many interests, such as their love of music and the arts, in which they both enthusiastically took an interest. Never meeting face to face, they relegated their friendship to pen and paper. Marie Antoinette confided in Charlotte upon the outbreak of the French Revolution. Charlotte had organized apartments to be prepared and ready for the refugee royal family of France to occupy. She was greatly distraught when she heard the news that the King and Queen of France had been executed.
After the onset of his permanent madness in 1811, George III was placed under the guardianship of his wife in accordance with the Regency Bill of 1789.She could not bring herself to visit him very often, due to his erratic behaviour and occasional violent reactions. It is believed she did not visit him again after June 1812. However, Charlotte remained supportive of her spouse as his illness, now believed to be porphyria, worsened in old age. While her son, the Prince Regent, wielded the royal power, she was her spouse's legal guardian from 1811 until her death in 1818. Due to the extent of the King's illness he was incapable of knowing or understanding that she had died.
During the Regency of her son, Queen Charlotte continued to fill her role as first lady in royal representation because of the estrangement of the Prince Regent and his spouse.As such, she functioned as the hostess by the side of her son at official receptions, such as the festivities given in London to celebrate the defeat of Emperor Napoleon in 1814. She also supervised the upbringing of Charlotte of Wales. During her last years, she was met with a growing lack of popularity and sometimes subjected to demonstrations. After having attended a reception in London on 29 April 1817, she was jeered by a crowd. She told the crowd that it was upsetting to be treated like that after such long service.
The Queen died in the presence of her eldest son, the Prince Regent, who was holding her hand as she sat in an armchair at the family's country retreat, Dutch House in Surrey (now known as Kew Palace).She was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Her husband died just over a year later. She is the second longest-serving consort in British history (after the present Duke of Edinburgh), having served as such from her marriage (on 8 September 1761) to her death (17 November 1818), a total of 57 years and 70 days.
On the day before her death, the Queen dictated her will to her husband's secretary, Sir Herbert Taylor, appointing him and Lord Arden as her executors; at her death, her personal estate was valued at less than £140,000 (equivalent to £10,297,415 in 2019), with her jewels accounting for the greater portion of her assets. In her will, proven at Doctor's Commons on 8 January 1819, the Queen bequeathed her husband the jewels she had received from him, unless he remained in his state of insanity, in which case the jewels were to become an heirloom of the House of Hanover. Other jewels, including some gifted to the Queen by the Nawab of Arcot, were to be evenly distributed among her surviving daughters. The furnishings and fixtures at the royal residence at Frogmore, along with "live and dead stock...on the estates", were bequeathed to her daughter Augusta Sophia along with the Frogmore property, unless its maintenance would prove too expensive for her daughter, in which case it was to revert to the Crown. Her youngest daughter Sophia inherited the Royal Lodge. Certain personal assets which the Queen had brought from Mecklenburg-Strelitz were to revert to the senior branch of that dynasty, while the remainder of her assets, including her books, linen, art objects and china, were to be evenly divided among her surviving daughters.
At the Queen's death, her eldest son, the Prince Regent, claimed Charlotte's jewels, but the rest of her property was sold at auction from May to August 1819. Her clothes, furniture, and even her snuff were sold by Christie's.It is highly unlikely that her husband ever knew of her death. He died blind, deaf, lame and insane 14 months later.
Places named after her include the Queen Charlotte Islands (now known as Haida Gwaii ) in British Columbia, Canada, and Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii; Queen Charlotte Sound (not far from the Haida Gwaii Islands); Queen Charlotte Bay in West Falkland; Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand; several fortifications, including Fort Charlotte, Saint Vincent; Charlottesville, Virginia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Charlotte, North Carolina;Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; Mecklenburg County, Virginia; Charlotte County, Virginia, Charlotte County, Florida, Port Charlotte, Florida, Charlotte Harbor, Florida, and Charlotte, Vermont. The proposed North American colonies of Vandalia (because of her supposed Vandal ancestry; see below) and Charlotina were also named for her. Queen Street, or Lebuh Queen as it is known in Malay, is a major street in Penang, Malaysia named after her. In Tonga, the royal family adopted the name Sālote (Tongan version of Charlotte) in her honour, and notable individuals included Sālote Lupepauʻu and Sālote Tupou III.
Her provision of funding to the General Lying-in Hospital in London prevented its closure; today it is named Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, and is an acknowledged centre of excellence amongst maternity hospitals. A large copy of the Allan Ramsay portrait of Queen Charlotte hangs in the main lobby of the hospital.The Queen Charlotte's Ball, an annual debutante ball that originally funded the hospital, is named after her.
A statue of Queen Charlotte stands in Queen Square in Bloomsbury, London,and at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, was chartered in 1766 as Queen's College, in reference to Queen Charlotte.It was renamed in 1825 in honor of Henry Rutgers, a Revolutionary War officer and college benefactor. Its oldest extant building, Old Queen's (built 1809–1823), and the city block that forms the historic core of the university, Queen's Campus, retain their original names.
Queen Charlotte was played by Helen Mirren in the 1994 film The Madness of King George.
The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom are impaled with her father's arms as a Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The arms were: Quarterly of six, 1st, Or, a buffalo's head cabossed Sable, armed and ringed Argent, crowned and langued Gules (Mecklenburg); 2nd, Azure, a griffin segreant Or (Rostock); 3rd, Per fess, in chief Azure, a griffin segreant Or, and in the base Vert, a bordure Argent (Principality of Schwerin); 4th, Gules, a cross patée Argent crowned Or (Ratzeburg); 5th, Gules, a dexter arm Argent issuant from clouds in sinister flank and holding a finger ring Or (County of Schwerin); 6th, Or, a buffalo's head Sable, armed Argent, crowned and langued Gules (Wenden); Overall an inescutcheon, per fess Gules and Or (Stargard).
The Queen's arms changed twice to mirror the changes in her husband's arms, once in 1801 and then again in 1816. A funerary hatchment displaying the Queen's full coat of arms, painted in 1818, is on display at Kew Palace.
|George IV||12 August 1762||26 June 1830||married 1795, Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; had issue, but no descendants today|
|Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany||16 August 1763||5 January 1827||married 1791, Princess Frederica of Prussia; no issue|
|William IV||21 August 1765||20 June 1837||married 1818, Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen; no surviving legitimate issue, but has illegitimate descendants, including David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom|
|Charlotte, Princess Royal||29 September 1766||6 October 1828||married 1797, King Frederick of Württemberg; no surviving issue|
|Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn||2 November 1767||23 January 1820||married 1818, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; had issue, descendants include Queen Victoria, Elizabeth II, Felipe VI of Spain, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Harald V of Norway and Margrethe II of Denmark.|
|Princess Augusta Sophia||8 November 1768||22 September 1840||never married, no issue|
|Princess Elizabeth||22 May 1770||10 January 1840||married 1818, Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg; no issue|
|Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover||5 June 1771||18 November 1851||married 1815, Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; had issue, descendants include Constantine II of Greece and Felipe VI of Spain.|
|Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex||27 January 1773||21 April 1843||(1) married in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, The Lady Augusta Murray; had issue; marriage annulled 1794|
(2) married 1831, The Lady Cecilia Buggin (later 1st Duchess of Inverness); no issue
|Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge||24 February 1774||8 July 1850||married 1818, Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel; had issue, descendants include Elizabeth II|
|Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh||25 April 1776||30 April 1857||married 1816, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh; no issue|
|Princess Sophia||3 November 1777||27 May 1848||never married|
|Prince Octavius||23 February 1779||3 May 1783||died in childhood|
|Prince Alfred||22 September 1780||20 August 1782||died in childhood|
|Princess Amelia||7 August 1783||2 November 1810||never married, no issue|
|Ancestors of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
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In his book Sex and Race: Volume I, first published in 1940, Jamaican-American writer J. A. Rogers uses anthropometric language of scientific racism to make the claims:
Charlotte Sophia, German-born consort of George III, had the broad nostrils and heavy lips "of the blond Negroid type" mentioned in Brunold Springer on page 11 of this book.
The portrait of Queen Charlotte Sophia, consort of George III, by Ramsay clearly shows a Negro strain. Horace Walpole, who saw her, wrote of her, "nostrils spreading too wide; mouth has the same fault."
The portrait referred to in these claims is an Allan Ramsay variation(NPG 224 in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London), reproduced in the book as a monochromatic plate.
The full quote from Horace Walpole appears in his Letters:
She is not tall nor a beauty; pale, and very thin; but looks sensible, and is genteel. Her hair is darkish and fine; her forehead low, her nose very well, except the nostrils spreading too wide; her mouth has the same fault, but her teeth are good. She talks a great deal, and French tolerably;...— Horace Walpole, The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, Volume 3 (1891)
In Sex and Race, he claims numerous other historical figures were "Negro," with the same meaning as the modern socioracial category "Black," whereas for Charlotte he specifically uses the terms "Negro strain" and "Negroid type."
The cover of Rogers' 1952 book Nature Knows No Color-Line shows a copy of a line engravingderived from an original mezzotint portrait by Thomas Frye and states that "With these Negroes in German nobility, the evident Negro strain in Queen Charlotte Sophia consort of George III of England, who was a German princess, might be explained (see her portrait)." In the 1957 edition of his book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, Rogers includes a reprint of a July 1, 1940 article in The New York Times "Negroid Blood in Hitler's 'Aryans'" describing the work of Brunold Springer alongside a cropped headshot of Charlotte from the Ramsay portrait.
The first printed instance of person claiming she was "black" comes from letter to the editor published in The Charlotte Observer, February 3, 1989, in which Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku, a South African civil rights activist and Methodist minister in Charlotte, North Carolina, states "She was a black woman even though she was the consort of King George III."This letter was in response to the recent unveiling in Charlotte, North Carolina, of a statue of Charlotte sculpted by B. Graham Weathers.
Chabaku claimed that Weathers' statue replaced Charlotte's "African features" with a "European or Caucasian appearance." Weathers responded with a description of the numerous portraits he used to composite his statue and claimed he did not see any "African features" to remove.This exchange was followed by a feature article that starts with the question "Was Queen Charlotte black?" and presents the perspective of several people on this issue. The article cites Rogers' claims about Charlotte from Sex and Race, but erroneously states that he "[pronounced] her black" and misattributes some of Rogers' words to Horace Walpole.
In 1999, PBS Frontline developed a website called "The Blurred Racial Lines of Famous Families"a companion to a documentary "Secret Daughter" produced by June Cross, described as "the story of a mixed race daughter and the white mother who gave her away" about Cross' experience as an adoptee. There are no references to Charlotte in the documentary. The website describes several white European and American individuals and families who had or possibly had non-white ancestors. The majority of the website content was developed by Mario de Valdes y Cocom (also named as Mario Valdes in other articles), a self-described "historian of the African diaspora." Valdes claims that Charlotte had an "unmistakable African appearance" and "negroid physiogomy[sic]" that was the result of distant African ancestry. In a 2017 article in The Washington Post , journalist DeNeen L. Brown quotes Valdes as saying, "I had heard these stories from my Jamaican nanny, Etheralda 'TeeTee' Cole."
Valdes speculates that Scottish painter Allan Ramsay emphasized Charlotte's supposed "Negroid characteristics" to paint "the most decidedly African of all her portraits" to support the anti-slave trade movement.Valdes notes that Baron Stockmar described her as "small and crooked, with a true Mulatto face", though without the context she was terminally ill and within months of dying. Valdes misdescribes Stockmar as "the Queen's personal physician"; instead he was physician-in-ordinary to her granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Wales and grandson-in-law Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Valdes also cites as evidence a Romantic poem by Samuel Bowden with the line "Descended from the warlike Vandal race, she still preserves that title in her face" with the unconventional interpretation that this allusion is to African ancestry because the Vandals conquered Numidia in what is present-day Algeria, rather than the simpler interpretation that the Vandals were a Germanic people and it alludes to Charlotte being ethnically German.
An article in The Sunday Times from June 1999 is the first published mention of Charlotte's connection to Madragana, referring to her by the name Madalena Gil.This article quotes an explicit claim by Valdes of her "mixed-race" ancestry and the authors use the term "black" ancestry, though they do not refer to Charlotte as "mixed-race" or "black". It is well-documented that Charlotte was descended from Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman, who traced her ancestry to King Afonso III of Portugal (1210–1279) and one of his mistresses, Madragana (c. 1230–?).
Critics of Valdes's claim point out that Margarita's and Madragana's distant position in Charlotte's ancestry makes any African ancestry that they may have contributed negligible. There is also no evidence that Madragana was "black", and Charlotte shared descent from Afonso III and Madragana with a large proportion of Europe's royalty and nobility.The claim of Madragana's African ancestry comes from her being described as a Moor by Duarte Nunes de Leão, a Portuguese royal chronicler of the 16th century. She was probably Mozarab, a modern historical term for Iberian Christians living in Muslim Iberia.
DeNeen Brown claims incorrectly in her 2017 Washington Post articlethat "Sir Walter Scott described her as 'ill-coloured' and referred to her kin as 'a bunch of ill-coloured orangutans.'" Scott was instead describing paintings of Charlotte's ancestors that he thought to be comically bad:
There are some fine paintings, and some droll ones: among the last are those of divers[sic] princes of the House of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, of which Queen Charlotte was descended. They are ill-coloured, ouran-outang-looking figures, with black eyes and hook-noses, in old-fashioned uniforms.— Walter Scott, Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume 4 (1901)
In 2017, David Buck, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson, was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying: "This has been rumoured for years and years. It is a matter of history, and frankly, we've got far more important things to talk about."
The Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a duchy in northern Germany, consisting of the eastern fifth of the historic Mecklenburg region, roughly corresponding with the present-day Mecklenburg-Strelitz district, and the western exclave of the former bishopric of Ratzeburg in modern Schleswig-Holstein. At the time of its establishment, the duchy bordered on the territory of Swedish Pomerania in the north and of Brandenburg in the south.
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was Princess of Wales by marriage to Frederick, Prince of Wales. She was one of only four Princesses of Wales who never became queen consort, as her eldest son succeeded her father-in-law as George III of the United Kingdom in 1760 rather than her spouse, who had died nine years earlier. Augusta was presumptive regent of Great Britain in the event of a regency between the death of her spouse in 1751, until the majority of her son in 1756, though in the event her father-in-law, George II, lived until 1760.
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge was a member of the British royal family, a granddaughter of George III, grandmother of Edward VIII and George VI and great-grandmother of Elizabeth II. She held the title of Duchess of Teck through marriage.
Princess Augusta of Cambridge was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of George III. She married into the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and became the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a German princess who became, by marriage, princess of Prussia, princess of Solms-Braunfels, Duchess of Cumberland in Britain and Queen of Hanover as the consort of Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover.
Charlotte, Princess Royal, was Queen of Württemberg as the wife of King Frederick I. She was the first daughter and fourth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh was the eleventh child and fourth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Kew Palace is a British royal palace in Kew Gardens on the banks of the River Thames up river from London. Originally a large complex, few elements of it survive. Dating to 1631 but built atop the undercroft of an earlier building, the main survivor is known as the Dutch House. Its royal occupation lasted from around 1728 until 1818, with a final short-lived occupation in 1844. The Dutch House is Grade I listed, and open to visitors. It is cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown. Alongside the Dutch House is a part of its 18th-century service wing, whilst nearby are a former housekeeper's cottage, brewhouse and kitchen block – most of these buildings are private, though the kitchens are open to the public. These kitchens and Queen Charlotte's Cottage are also run by Historic Royal Palaces.
Duchess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen was a Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She served as regent for her son after the deaths in 1752–1753 of her husband and brother-in-law of, respectively, the ducal appanage of Mirow and of the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom was the sixth child and second daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom was the twelfth child and fifth daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Sophia is perhaps best known for the rumours surrounding a supposed illegitimate child to whom she gave birth as a young woman.
Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom was the seventh child and third daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. After marrying the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg, Frederick VI, she took permanent residence in Germany as landgravine.
Madragana Ben Aloandro, later Maior or Mór Afonso, was a woman from the Algarve known as a mistress to king Afonso III of Portugal, in the 13th century, when he ended the Reconquista in Portugal by taking Faro in 1249. Faro was at that time the last part of the Kingdom of the Algarve still in Muslim hands, and there her father was the Qadi.
Charles II was ruler of the state of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from 1794 until his death. Originally ruling as duke, he was raised to the rank of grand duke in 1815. Prior to succeeding to the throne he served as Governor of Hanover from 1776 to 1786.
Prince Alfred was a member of the British Royal Family as the fourteenth child and ninth and youngest son of King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Alfred became ill after his inoculation against the smallpox virus; his early death at the age of nearly two, along with the demise of his brother Prince Octavius six months later, was a shock to their parents. In his later bouts of madness King George would have imagined conversations with both of his youngest sons.
Prince Octavius was the thirteenth child and eighth son of King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Six months after the death of his brother Prince Alfred, Octavius was inoculated with the smallpox virus. Several days later, he became ill. His subsequent death at the age of four devastated his parents, and in particular his father. George bemoaned the death of his son, of whom he was exceedingly fond; the king's later bouts of madness would involve hallucinations of his two youngest sons.
Duchess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the consort of Crown Prince Danilo of Montenegro. When a married woman, she was known as Militza.
Countess Maria Louise Albertine of Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg ; also known as Princess George, was heiress to the barony of Broich and by marriage Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt. She was the grandmother and educator of Princess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who later became Queen consort of Prussia.
Duke Ernest Gottlob Albert of Mecklenburg was a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. As a younger son of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg, Ernest was an elder brother of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom, who married King George III in 1761. Ernest followed his sister to England, where he unsuccessfully pursued marriage with the country's largest heiress, Mary Eleanor Bowes.
The Queen Charlotte's Ball is an annual British debutante ball. The ball was founded in 1780 by George III as a birthday celebration in honour of his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, for whom the ball is named. The Queen Charlotte's Ball originally served as a fundraiser for the Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital. The annual ball continued after Queen Charlotte's death in 1818, but was criticised by the British royal family in the 1950s and 1960s and folded in 1976. It was revived in the 21st century by Jenny Hallam-Peel, a former debutante, who shifted its focus from entering high society to teaching business skills, networking, and etiquette, and fundraising for charities. Debutantes being presented curtsey to a large birthday cake in honour of Queen Charlotte.
In 1775 the property was legally settled, by Act of Parliament, on Queen Charlotte (in exchange for Somerset House, [...]); and henceforth Buckingham House was known in West-end society as the "Queen's House."
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Cadet branch of the House of MecklenburgBorn: 19 May 1744 Died: 17 November 1818
Title last held byCaroline of Ansbach
| Queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland |
|Acts of Union 1800|
| Electress consort of Hanover |
Holy Roman Empire dissolved in 1806
|New title|| Queen consort of the United Kingdom |
Title next held byCaroline of Brunswick
| Queen consort of Hanover |