PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 1816 AUTOGRAPH LETTER re: her wedding to PRINCE LEOPOLD For Sale
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PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 1816 AUTOGRAPH LETTER re: her wedding to PRINCE LEOPOLD:
Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796-1817). AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY PRINCESS CHARLOTTE and addressed to JANE STANHOPE, COUNTESS OF HARRINGTON expressing her joy about her forthcoming marriage to Prince Leopold. Cranburn Lodge, March 16th, . Over 80 words penned by Princess Charlotte on 9 inch high by 7-1/4 inch wide creamy white paper. An autograph letter signed by Princess Charlotte and addressed to Jane Stanhope, Countess of Harrington. The letter, written from Cranburn [Cranbourne] Lodge, is dated March 16,  only two days following the public announcement in the House of Commons of her engagement to Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg. She expresses her thanks to Lady Harrington for "your kind offer received by todays Post." Princess Charlotte is excited about the future and relates that "Everybody has taken a great interest and expressed themselves very warmly & kindly about my approaching marriage & happy prospects." She closes: "Believe me to be / Dear Lady Harrington / Yours very truly / Charlotte". Folded once horizontally and twice vertically with tears to the edges of the folds which have been reinforced with archival linen tape from the verso. There is a small piece out from the bottom left corner, not affecting the text and some minor soiling to the top right corner and side. Good.
The only child of the Prince Regent, future British King George IV, and Caroline of Brunswick, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796-1817) had only limited contact with her mother after her parents separated. Her care was left to governesses and servants. As she reached adulthood, the Prince Regent pressured her to marry William, the Hereditary Prince of Orange. Though she initially conceded, Charlotte eventually broke off the engagement which led to conflict with her father resulting in her isolation at Cranbourne Lodge. Charlotte became infatuated with Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. Early in 1816 she was able to convince her father to allow her to marry Prince Leopold. In a diary entry of March 1, 1816 Charlotte's companion Cornelia Knight wrote: "I was at a small party at Lady Harrington's. It was said there that orders had been sent to Weymouth to prepare the Lodge for the reception of somebody, but of whom it is not known. Some said the Prince of Saxe-Coburg was to remain there until the marriage; others that Princess Charlotte was; others, that perhaps they were to be married soon, and both go there to stay till Easter." [AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS CORNELIA KNIGHT, LADY COMPANION TO THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES. (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1861)] The couple were married on May 2. They had a brief though happy marriage. Only a year-and-half later on November 6, 1817 Charlotte died after delivering a stillborn son. Sir Richard Croft, Charlotte's "accoucheur" (male midwife) committed suicide soon after the death of Princess Charlotte and her son. So deep was the grief that gripped Britain (not unlike that at the time of Diana's tragic death) that, hearing of her death, Lord Byron penned from Venice that "The death of Princess Charlotte has been a shock even here, and must have been an earthquake at home".
The society hostess and heiress Jane Stanhope, Countess of Harrington (1755-1824) served as a "lady of the Bedchamber" to King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte.
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