Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom

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Princess Amelia
Princess Amelia (1783-1810).jpg
Portrait by Sir William Beechey
Born(1783-08-07)7 August 1783
Royal Lodge, Windsor
Died2 November 1810(1810-11-02) (aged 27)
Augusta Lodge, Windsor
Burial13 November 1810
House Hanover
Father George III of the United Kingdom
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom (7 August 1783 – 2 November 1810) was the fifteenth and last child and sixth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom and his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was their first daughter to die and third child to die before them.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress 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.

Contents

Early life

Princess Amelia in 1785 Princess Amelia in 1785.jpg
Princess Amelia in 1785

Princess Amelia was born on 7 August 1783, at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte's 15 children as well as the only one born at Windsor Castle. [1] [2] It is often said that she was her father's favourite; he affectionately called her "Emily". She was born after the early deaths of her two elder brothers, Octavius (23 February 1779 - 3 May 1783) and Alfred (22 September 1780 - 20 August 1782). [3] These deaths left a gap of almost six years between Amelia and her nearest surviving sibling, Princess Sophia. She was twenty-one years younger than her eldest sibling, George, and nearly seventeen years younger than her eldest sister, Charlotte. [4]

Royal Lodge house in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England

The Royal Lodge is a Grade II listed house in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England, half a mile north of Cumberland Lodge and 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Windsor Castle. It was the Windsor residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until her death there in 2002. Since 2004, it has been the official country residence of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Windsor, Berkshire town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England

Windsor is a historic market town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.

Prince Octavius of Great Britain British prince

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.

Amelia was christened at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace by John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury, on 17 September 1783. Her godparents were the Prince of Wales (Amelia's eldest brother), the Princess Royal (her eldest sister), and the Princess Augusta Sophia (her second eldest sister). [5] [4] She was the fifteenth sibling christened there. [4] She was later confirmed by the Archbishop on 24 December 1799. [6]

St Jamess Palace Royal palace in the United Kingdom

St James's Palace is the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, although no longer the principal residence of the monarch, it is the ceremonial meeting place of the Accession Council and the London residence of several minor members of the royal family.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom princess of England

Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom was the sixth child and second daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

Coming so soon after the death of Octavius and shortly before the end of the war between Great Britain and the United States, Amelia's birth was felt to be a beginning of a new period of hope, and much was expected of her, even from birth. [7] "Our littlest sister is without exception one of the prettiest children I have ever seen," her oldest sister wrote to Prince William when Amelia was only a month old. [4] She was expected to be as beautiful, charming, and winning as Octavius, her father's previous favourite child, had been. [4] As a result of her two brothers' deaths, Amelia was considered as her father's favourite. [8] [9]

From an early age, Amelia was conscious of her rank. A popular tale relates that when the famous tragedian Sarah Siddons expressed a desire to kiss the beautiful baby, Amelia "...instantly held her little hand out to be kissed, so early had she learnt the lessons of Royalty." [10] When Amelia was three, Fanny Burney, the Queen's Keeper of the Robes, commented that the princess could be "decorous and dignified when called upon to act en princess to any strangers, as if conscious of her high rank, and the importance of condescendingly sustaining it." Burney even dubbed her "the little idol". As the youngest of the thirteen surviving children, Amelia spent most of her time with her sisters Mary and Sophia, living in various royal residences. From the beginning, the three younger princesses did not receive as much parental attention as their elder sisters had, and spent a good deal of time away from the King and Queen, communicating with them mostly by letter.

Sarah Siddons 18th-century Welsh-born actress

Sarah Siddons was a Welsh-born English actress, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century. Contemporaneous critic William Hazlitt dubbed Siddons as "tragedy personified".

Frances Burney English writer

Frances Burney, also known as Fanny Burney and after her marriage as Madame d'Arblay, was an English satirical novelist, diarist and playwright. She was born in Lynn Regis, now King's Lynn, England, on 13 June 1752, to the musician and music historian Dr Charles Burney (1726–1814) and his first wife, Esther Sleepe Burney (1725–1762). The third of her mother's six children, she was self-educated and began writing what she called her "scribblings" at the age of ten.

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh British princess

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.

It seems that the three youngest princesses were much wilder than their elder sisters, as evidenced by their behaviour when they sat for a portrait in 1785. In 1770, Johan Zoffany had been able to paint the King, the Queen, and all six eldest children with little difficulty. In 1785, however, John Singleton Copley had so much difficulty getting the dogs, birds, and especially the three royal children to sit still that he never painted another portrait. [11] Compared to the carefully planned education that Charlotte, Augusta, and Elizabeth had been given, the education given to Mary, Sophia, and Amelia was based solely on what had come before. Amelia was only five years old when her father suffered his first bout of madness. As a consequence of her father's declining health, she never experienced the closeness and affection that had characterized the family during her elder sisters' early years. [12]

Johan Zoffany German painter and engraver

Johan Joseph Zoffany, RA was a German neoclassical painter, active mainly in England, Italy and India. His works appear in many prominent British collections such as the National Gallery, London, the Tate Gallery and in the Royal Collection, as well as institutions in Europe, India, the United States and Australia. His name is sometimes spelled Zoffani or Zauffelij.

John Singleton Copley American-born painter

John Singleton Copley was an Anglo-American painter, active in both colonial America and England. He was probably born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Richard and Mary Singleton Copley, both Anglo-Irish. He is famous for his portrait paintings of wealthy and influential figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects. His portraits were innovative in their tendency to depict artifacts relating to these individuals' lives.

Porphyria An inherited metabolic disorder that involves certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway resulting in the overproduction and accumulation of porphyrins.

Porphyria is a group of diseases in which substances called porphyrins build up, negatively affecting the skin or nervous system. The types that affect the nervous system are also known as acute porphyria, as symptoms are rapid in onset and last a short time. Symptoms of an attack include abdominal pain, chest pain, vomiting, confusion, constipation, fever, high blood pressure, and high heart rate. The attacks usually last for days to weeks. Complications may include paralysis, low blood sodium levels, and seizures. Attacks may be triggered by alcohol, smoking, hormonal changes, fasting, stress, or certain medications. If the skin is affected, blisters or itching may occur with sunlight exposure.

The Three Youngest Princesses, by John Singleton Copley, 1785 (Amelia is the baby) Daughters of King George III.jpg
The Three Youngest Princesses, by John Singleton Copley, 1785 (Amelia is the baby)

Adulthood

Prior to 1788, King George had told his daughters that he would take them to Hanover and find them suitable husbands [13] despite misgivings he had, which stemmed from his sisters' own unhappy marriages. [14] He remarked, "I cannot deny that I have never wished to see any of them marry: I am happy in their company, and do not in the least want a separation." [15] However, the King suffered his first bout of madness that year, when Amelia was aged five. Further lapses into insanity occurred in 1801 and 1804, thus forestalling talk of marriage for his daughters. The question of matrimony was rarely raised; Queen Charlotte feared that the subject, which had always discomfited the King, would push him back into insanity. Furthermore, the Queen, under strain due to her illness, wanted the princesses to remain close to her. [9] [15] [16]

Amelia and her sisters, Charlotte, Augusta Sophia, Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia were over-protected and isolated, which restricted meeting eligible suitors of their own age. [9]

Illness

In 1798, Princess Amelia developed a pain in the joint of her knee, and was sent to the large seaside town of Worthing for recovery. She wrote to her father, "Certainly the vapour and warm sea bath are of use and therefore I hope that I shall be able to assure you that I am better." [17] [18] The following year, Amelia temporarily recovered enough to join her family at Weymouth, where she doted upon her niece Princess Charlotte of Wales. [19] Throughout her life, Amelia was often in poor health; at the age of fifteen, she started to suffer the early symptoms of what turned out to be tuberculosis. [9]

In 1801, the princess was sent for a seaside cure at Weymouth to improve her health. [9] Among those staying with her was the Hon. Charles FitzRoy, an equerry 21 years older than she, and the son of Charles FitzRoy, 1st Baron Southampton. [20] [21] Amelia fell in love with the equerry, desiring to marry him. [9] The Queen was told of the affair by a servant, but turned a blind eye. It was hoped that such discretion would prevent the King from discovering the liaison, which may have risked sending him into one of the bouts of mental illness to which he was becoming increasingly prone. Though she never gave up hope of marrying him, [9] Amelia knew she could not legally marry FitzRoy due to the provisions of the Royal Marriages Act passed by her father's Parliament (at least until she reached the age of 25, after which she could receive permission by assent of the Privy Council).[ citation needed ] She would later tell her brother Frederick that she considered herself to be married, taking the initials A. F. R. (Amelia FitzRoy). [9]

In 1808, Amelia had a severe attack of measles and the depressed atmosphere at home with her mother in Windsor made her even more miserable. The anxious King George decided to send Amelia to Weymouth, accompanied by her sister Mary. Her health was improved only a little, but she found comfort in quietly resting. In 1809, she could occasionally take short walks in the garden. This improvement was temporary, and in August 1810 her sufferings grew sharper, whilst in October of that year she was seized with St. Anthony's fire (erysipelas), which cut off all hope and confined her to her bed on the 25th. The king summoned his daughter's physicians to him at seven o'clock every morning and three or four other times during the day, questioning them minutely as to her condition. She lingered a few days more, waited upon to the last by her favourite and devoted sister, Mary. [22] Her death occurred on the same day as her brother Edward's birthday, 2 November. [23]

The dying princess had a mourning ring made for the King, composed of a lock of her hair under crystal set round with diamonds. He purportedly burst into tears upon receiving it. [24] Otherwise, her will dictated all her possessions be given to Charles FitzRoy. [21] Amelia was buried in the royal vault in St George's Chapel, Windsor. [24] [25] Her eldest brother, later George IV, is reputed to have requested her death mask.

Death and aftermath

After Amelia's death, George Villiers, the King's bailiff, and younger brother of Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, attempted to blackmail the King and Queen with letters belonging to Amelia, after the disappearance of £280,000 in his control. [26] Villiers was father of later diplomat and statesman George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon.

Her death is credited with contributing to the decline in her father's health which resulted in his insanity [25] [27] [28] and the subsequent invocation of the Regency Act of 1811.[ citation needed ] According to his doctor Dr. Willis, the king would later cry "in a wild, monotonous, delirious way, 'Oh Emily [Princess Amelia], why won't you save your father? I hate all the physicians..." [29] Another of King George's delusions included the belief that a healthy Amelia was only staying in Hanover with a large family of her own, where she would "never grow older and always be well." [30]

Amelia has been described as a beautiful, slender girl with ruby lips and auburn hair. Reportedly she was the "most turbulent and tempestuous of all the Princesses". However, she is also said to have been amiable, spirited, unselfish and intelligent. These qualities led her sister-in-law Princess Caroline, who was known to despise her in-laws, to call Amelia the "most amiable of the bunch". Amelia was a favourite of both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, who called her a "lovely creature". Amelia adored the former and once told him that she had always loved him better than her other brothers. He for his part loved her perhaps more than he did his other sisters (with the possible exception of Princess Mary) and was devastated when she died. So deeply affected was he by her death that after her funeral, he could never again sleep in a room that was not lit by several wax candles. [31] He also burst into tears at the mention of her name more than three years after her demise. [32]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

As the daughter of the monarch, she was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Amelia from birth.

Arms

As of 1789, as a daughter of the sovereign, Amelia had use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing a rose gules, the outer points each bearing a heart gules. [33]

Coat of Arms of Amelia of the United Kingdom.svg

Ancestors

See also

British Royalty
House of Hanover
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1801-1816).svg
George III
George IV
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
William IV
Charlotte, Princess Royal and Queen of Württemberg
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Princess Augusta Sophia
Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg
Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Princess Sophia
Prince Octavius
Prince Alfred
Princess Amelia
Grandchildren
Charlotte, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Princess Charlotte of Clarence
Princess Elizabeth of Clarence
Victoria
Princess Frederica of Cumberland
George V of Hanover
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck
Great-grandchildren
Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover
Princess Frederica, Baroness von Pawel-Rammingen
Princess Marie of Hanover
Great-great-grandchildren
Marie Louise, Margravine of Baden
George William, Hereditary Prince of Hanover
Alexandra, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Princess Olga of Hanover
Prince Christian of Hanover
Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Prince of Hanover
Great-great-great-grandchildren
Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick and Prince of Hanover
Prince George William of Hanover
Frederica, Queen of the Hellenes

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References

Notes

  1. Fraser 2004, p. 78.
  2. Weir 2008, p. 300.
  3. Fraser 2004, pp. 76-78.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Fraser 2004, p. 79.
  5. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  6. "Collection of autograph letters etc., by Princess Amelia". Bonhams.
  7. Fraser 2004, pp. 78-79.
  8. Panton 2011, p. 45.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Purdue 2004.
  10. Fraser 2004, p. 87.
  11. Fraser 2004, p. 93.
  12. Princesses, Flora Fraser
  13. Black 2006, p. 157.
  14. Robinson, David (2 October 2004). "The Princess diaries". The Scotsman . Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  15. 1 2 Schiff, Stacy (24 April 2005). "'Princesses': All the King's Girls". The New York Times . Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  16. Black 2006, p. 156.
  17. Fraser 2004, p. 182.
  18. Council, Worthing Borough. "Princess Amelia". www.worthingmuseum.co.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  19. Fraser 2004, p. 184.
  20. Panton 2011, pp. 45-46.
  21. 1 2 Hibbert 2000, p. 398.
  22. Humphreys, Jennett (1885). "Amelia"  . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 366.
  23. Willson 1907, p. 550.
  24. 1 2 Hibbert 2000, p. 396.
  25. 1 2 Panton 2011, p. 46.
  26. Roberts, Jane (1997). Royal landscape: the gardens and parks of Windsor. Yale University Press. pp. 289–290.
  27. Hibbert 2000, pp. 396-397.
  28. Willson 1907, p. 549.
  29. Hibbert 2000, p. 278.
  30. Hibbert 2000, p. 400.
  31. Hibbert 2007, p. 349.
  32. Hibbert 2007, p. 437.
  33. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  34. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 5.

Bibliography