Biography

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.


Queen Charlotte Sophia (1744-1818)

This article was written by Francis Watt and was published in 1887


Charlotte Sophia was the wife of queen of George III. She was the youngest daughter of Charles Lewis, brother of Frederic, third duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. When a young girl she was so distressed at the ravages of the Prussian troops on a relative's territory, that she wrote a letter to their king begging him to restrain them. This letter found its way to England, and is said to have done something to direct the attention of the English court to her as a suitable consort for George. The inquiries made resulted in a formal proposal, which was accepted, and the princess set off for England. The voyage from Cuxhaven to Harwich took ten days, for the ship was delayed by contrary winds. Charlotte beguiled the time by practising English tunes on the harpsichord.

On 7 September 1761 she landed in England. The next day she saw George for the first time at St. James's. From that moment till the king's illness she said that she never knew real sorrow. They were married late that same evening. Their coronation took place on 22 September of that year (a minute description is given in Richard Thomson's Faithful Account, &c., 1820). Her appearance at this time is briefly described by Horace Walpole: ‘She is not tall nor a beauty. Pale and very thin; but looks sensible and genteel. Her hair is darkish and fine; her forehead low, her nose very well, except the nostrils spreading too wide. The mouth has the same fault, but her teeth are good. She talks a great deal, and French tolerably’.

The records of Charlotte's life are entirely of a domestic nature. She was merely a lay figure in the numerous state pageants in which her position obliged her to take part, and she had no interest in nor influence over English politics, which she probably scarcely understood. The king, though a devoted husband, never discussed affairs of state with her. She was a woman of little ability, but she certainly acted up to her own standard of duty. Court life during this long reign was perfectly decorous, and it must be added very dull and colourless. Scandal could only say of her that she was somewhat mean in money matters; but this was probably from early training (the story of an intrigue with the Chevalier d'Eon hardly requires serious mention). In 1788, when the king became ill, the care of his person and the disposition of his household were placed in her hands, and in 1810, when, on the death of the Princess Amelia, George became permanently insane, much the same arrangements were made. The queen died at Kew 17 November 1818, and was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

Of the fifteen children born of her marriage, the last three, Octavius, Alfred, and Amelia, predeceased their mother.


Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 11 November, 2013

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
1789-1850
 
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind