|Princess Augusta Sophia|
Portrait by William Beechey
|Born||8 November 1768|
Buckingham House, London, England
|Died||22 September 1840 71) (aged|
Clarence House, London, England
|Burial||2 October 1840|
|Father||George III of the United Kingdom|
|Mother||Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom (8 November 1768 – 22 September 1840) was the sixth child and second daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
Princess Augusta Sophia was born at Buckingham House, London, the sixth child and second daughter of George III (1738–1820) and his wife Queen Charlotte. Her father so much wanted the new baby to be a girl that the doctor presiding over the labour thought fit to protest that "whoever sees those lovely Princes above stairs must be glad to have another." The King was so upset by this view he replied that "whoever sees that lovely child the Princess Royal above stairs must not wish to have the fellow to her." To the King's delight, and the Queen's relief, the baby was a small and pretty girl.
The young princess was christened on 6 December 1768, by Frederick Cornwallis, The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Great Council Chamber at St. James's Palace. Her godparents were Prince Charles of Mecklenburg (her maternal uncle, who was visiting England), The Queen-consort of Denmark (her paternal aunt, for whom The Duchess of Ancaster and Kesteven, Mistress of the Robes to The Queen, stood proxy) and The Hereditary Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her paternal aunt, for whom The Duchess of Northumberland, Lady of the Bedchamber to The Queen, stood proxy).Lady Mary Coke declared the month-old Augusta "the most beautiful infant I ever saw".
Princess Augusta was the middle of the elder trio of princesses that consisted of her, her older sister Charlotte (born 1766) and her younger sister Elizabeth (born 1770). In 1771, the two elder Princesses started travelling to Kew to take lessons under the supervision of Lady Charlotte Finch and Miss Frederica Planta. The Princesses, who had formerly been very close to their brothers now saw little of them, except when their paths crossed on daily walks. In 1774, Martha Goldsworthy, or "Gouly" became the new head of their educations. The Princesses learned typically feminine pursuits, such as deportment, music, dancing, and arts, but their mother also ensured that they learned English, French, German, Geography, and had well-educated governesses.
The young Augusta was a great favourite with Miss Planta, who called her "the handsomest of all the Princesses" though compared to her older sister, she was "childish". However, the princess was painfully shy, and stammered when in front of people she didn't know. From an early age Augusta was fixed on being good and was often upset when she did not succeed. Her behaviour veered in between troublesome and well-mannered. She sometimes threw tantrums and hit her governesses, though she also often had a calm disposition and family-minded ways. She strongly disliked the political tensions that by 1780 had sprung up between her elder brothers and their parents, and preferred to occupy herself with her coin collection. As all her sisters were, Augusta was sheltered from the outside world so much that her only friends were her attendants, with whom she kept up a frequent correspondence.
In 1782, Augusta had her debut into society at the King's birthday celebrations. As she was still terrified of crowds, her mother did not tell her daughter about her debut until two days before it happened. Later that year, the Princess's youngest brother, Alfred, died, followed eight months later by her next youngest brother, Octavius. When the Princesses went to see the summer exhibition in 1783 at the Royal Academy, they were so distraught by the portraits of their two youngest brothers that they broke down and cried in front of everyone. In August 1783 came the birth of Augusta's youngest sibling, Amelia. She stood as a godmother, along with Charlotte and George. Although the birth of her sister did not erase the pain she felt at losing her brothers, Augusta did not dwell on their deaths as her father did.
By the time they reached their teens, the three eldest Princesses were spending a great deal of time with their parents. They accompanied them to the theatre, to the Opera, and to Court, and their once academic lessons began to wind down, with music and the arts becoming the new focus. They heard famous actresses such as Sarah Siddons read, and along with Charlotte and their parents, Augusta met John Adams when he was presented to the Queen. The three girls were always dressed alike at public functions, the only difference ever in their dresses being colour. Though so often displayed in public, Augusta still was happiest at home, where she adored her younger brothers Ernest, Augustus, and Adolphus. She was also extremely close to her sister Elizabeth, as Charlotte was often haughty and overly conscious of her position as Princess Royal.
Since they were quickly approaching a marriageable age, Augusta and the Princess Royal were given their first lady-in-waiting in July 1783. Augusta frequently wrote to her elder brother William, who was in Hanover for military training. She was a good correspondent, telling him family news and encouraging him to tell her what was happening in his life. She revelled in his attention and in the little gifts he sent her, even though the Queen tried to discourage William from taking up his sister's valuable time. Though their academic lessons were nearly over, the Queen was loath to have her daughters waste time, and made sure that the Princesses spent hours studying music or art, learning many types of specialty work from different masters.
The princesses did not "dress" until dinner, wearing morning gowns nearly all day. Even when "dressed", the Royal family often wore plain clothes, far removed from the ornate splendour of other courts. As there were six princesses, the Queen's expenses even for these clothes were enormous, and she tried to keep costs down and within the allowance she was given. Moving into this new phase of life meant that the amount of money the Queen was spending on her three eldest daughters was rapidly increasing. The Princesses constantly needed dresses, hats, trimmings, fans, and other items. The quarterly expense for their clothes was estimated to be £2000, and the expense of all their servants and tutors added to that. Yet it all paid off in one way: the Princesses were quickly becoming a familiar sight to the public. When their group portrait was exhibited to the people, it was marvelled at for the porcelain impersonal beauty they displayed. They were dressed the same, and only their accessories hinted at the very different personalities that lay underneath the painted masks.
By 1785, Augusta and Charlotte were reaching an age where they could be considered as potential brides for foreign princes. In that year the Crown Prince of Denmark (later King Frederick VI) indicated to King George III that he would break off every other discussed proposal for the hand in marriage of a British princess. He was also supposed to prefer Augusta to her older sister. However, the King declared that after the horrible treatment of his younger sister by the Crown Prince's father, King Christian VII, he would never send one of his daughters to the Danish court. As their friends and ladies of the court began to get married, the princesses wondered when their turn would come. In 1797, she received a proposal from Prince Frederick Adolf of Sweden, a proposal given without the approval of the Swedish royal house.A British princess, especially from so fertile a mother, was a prize, but Augusta's father seemed increasingly unwilling to allow his daughters to marry.
Largely denied access to personal relationships with men of their own rank, several of the daughters of George III embarked on such romances with gentleman at court. Augusta Sophia first met Sir Brent Spencer, a senior Anglo-Irish officer in the British Army, around 1800. As she wrote to her brother, the future King George IV, then Prince Regent, in 1812, the two had entered into an understanding around 1803, while Spencer was stationed in England. In 1805 he was appointed as an equerry to the king. The couple conducted their romance with the utmost privacy, and Augusta asked the Prince Regent in 1812 to consent to her marrying Spencer, promising further discretion in their behaviour.
While no record of a marriage between the two exists, it was noted at the court of Hesse-Homburg at the time of her sister Elizabeth's marriage in 1818 that Augusta was "privately married." It was Spencer who informed Augusta of her mother's death later that year, and Spencer was said to be holding a locket with Augusta's picture when he died in 1828.
According to a flyer held by the V&A Archives, Princess Augusta was a patron of L. Bertolotto's flea circus.
In 1828 Augusta was heard to remark to a friend: “I was ashamed to hear myself called Princess Augusta, and never could persuade myself that I was so, as long as any of the Stuart family were alive; but after the death of Cardinal York [in 1807], I felt myself to be really Princess Augusta”.
She died on 22 September 1840 at Clarence House, St. James, London, and was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor on 2 October, after lying in state at Frogmore.
As of 1789, as a daughter of the sovereign, Augusta Sophia 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 ermine.
|Ancestors of Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom|
Marie Julie Clary, was Queen consort of Spain and the Indies, Naples and Sicily as the spouse of Joseph Bonaparte, who was King of Naples and Sicily from January 1806 to June 1808, and later King of Spain and the Spanish West Indies from 25 June 1808 to June 1813.
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.
Frederica Dorothea Wilhelmina of Baden was Queen of Sweden from 1797 to 1809 as the consort of King Gustav IV Adolf.
Prince Gustav Vasa, Count Itterburg, born Crown Prince of Sweden and later called Gustaf Gustafsson von Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Vasa, was the son of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Queen Frederica. His Austrian princely title was actually spelled Wasa.
Sophia Magdalena of Denmark was Queen of Sweden as the consort of King Gustav III.
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 Augusta Frederica of Great Britain was a British princess, granddaughter of King George II and the only elder sibling of King George III. She was a Princess consort of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel by marriage to Charles William Ferdinand, Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Her daughter Caroline was the spouse of King George IV.
Princess Sophia Albertina of Sweden was the last Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg Abbey, and as such reigned as vassal monarch of the Holy Roman Empire.
Princess Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt was a Hereditary Princess of Baden by marriage to Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden. She was the daughter of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Henriette Karoline of Palatine-Zweibrücken.
Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp was Queen of Sweden and Norway as the consort of King Charles XIII and II. She was also a famed diarist, memoirist and wit. She is known by her full pen name (above), though her official name as queen was Charlotte (Charlotta).
Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily was the last Holy Roman Empress and the first Empress of Austria by marriage to Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. She was the eldest daughter of Ferdinand IV & III of Naples and Sicily (1751–1825) and Marie Caroline of Austria (1752–1814).
Prince Frederick Adolf of Sweden was a Swedish Prince, youngest son of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, a sister of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. He was given the title Duke of Östergötland.
Princess Wilhelmina Caroline of Denmark and Norway, was the Landgravine consort of Hesse-Kassel and later the Electress of Hesse-Kassel by marriage to William I, Elector of Hesse.
Fredrika Charlotte "Lolotte" Forssberg (1766–1840) was a Swedish noble and lady-in-waiting, later countess Stenbock. She was one of the most talked about people of her time as the possible child of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden. Princess Sophia Albertina of Sweden investigated her birth in the 1790s and tried to have her acknowledged as the daughter of her father. The truth is unconfirmed, though it is considered likely that she was the illegitimate daughter of the king.
Christina Augusta Löwenhielm née von Fersen, was a Swedish countess and courtier. She is known for her love affair with the later Charles XIII of Sweden. She is also famous in history as one of "the three graces" of the Gustavian age; three ladies-in-waiting immortalized in the poem Gracernas döpelse by Johan Henric Kellgren, and known profiles of the epoch.
Adolf Fredrik, Count Munck, was a Swedish and Finnish noble during the Gustavian era. His family name is sometimes inaccurately given as "Munck af Fulkila" because his father usurped this family's title in the Swedish Diet but, as a matter of fact, without genealogical justification.
Ulrika "Ulla" Eleonora von Höpken, later von Wright, née von Fersen, was a Swedish countess and courtier. She is also famous in history as one of "the three graces" of the Gustavian age; three ladies-in-waiting immortalized in the poem Gracernas döpelse by Johan Henric Kellgren, and known profiles of the epoch. She was a leading socialite and trendsetter in contemporary Sweden, and one of the best known profiles of the Gustavian age.
Princess and Margravine Anna Elisabeth Louise of Brandenburg-Schwedt was a Prussian princess. She was a daughter of Margrave Frederick William of Brandenburg-Schwedt and his wife, Princess Sophia Dorothea of Prussia.
Charlotta "Lotta" Fredrika Sparre, commonly named Lotta Sparre, was a Swedish noble and courtier.
Marie of Baden was a Duchess consort of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Brunswick-Oels. She was married to Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and was the daughter of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden, and Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt.