caroline princess of wales and princess charlotte

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On this day in history, January 7th, in 1796, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was born. She was the only child of the future George IV and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick.

George and Caroline infamously hated one another, and he would later insist they had only ever had sexual intercourse three times; twice on their wedding night and once the night after. Charlotte was born almost exactly 9 months after her parents’ wedding, which had taken place on April 8th of the previous year.

As the only living and legitimate grandchild of George III, Charlotte was second in line to the throne after her father. She was expected to someday become Queen of the United Kingdom, but this never came to pass.

She was married to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1816, when she was 20 years old. Early in their marriage she suffered a miscarriage, but it was announced she was pregnant again in April of 1817.

After two days of labour, she gave birth to a large stillborn son on November 5th, 1817. Complications from the delivery caused her own death in the early morning hours of the following day.

The entire kingdom went into heavy mourning after her death, she had been greatly beloved and was one of the only popular members of the Royal Family. Her death caused a scramble among the remaining unmarried sons of George III to produce a legitimate child and heir to the throne.

Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, would be the one to father the eventual heir, the future Queen Victoria. Had Charlotte lived, Victoria would never have existed and England’s “Victorian Era” as we now know it would have been completely different.

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197 years ago today, May 24th, at 4:15 in the morning, a baby girl was born in this room inside of Kensington Palace. She was the first, and ultimately only, child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and his wife Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She was given the name Alexandria Victoria; her first name after one of her godparents, Alexander I of Russia, and her second name after her mother.

The Princess’ birth was the result of a succession crisis in the United Kingdom. Of the many sons of George III and Queen Charlotte, only  one had produced a legitimate child. George, Prince of Wales (The future George IV) had fathered a daughter, Princess Charlotte, but she had died two years before in childbirth. George had long been estranged from his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, since even before Charlotte was born and there was no hope of him having another child with her. This led his remaining brothers to abandon their mistresses and scramble about Europe looking for respectable Princesses that they could marry and have legitimate heirs with.

After both of her Uncle-Kings (George IV and William IV) died, neither having left behind a legitimate child, the little princess born in Kensington Palace came to the throne as Queen Victoria.

She would go on to rule the United Kingdom for sixty three years and two hundred sixteen days, giving her name to an Era and becoming the second longest reigning female monarch in history. The record was only broken recently by the current Queen, and her great-great granddaughter, Elizabeth II.