Charlotte, Consort of George III, letter to son, William and letter concerning daughter Sophia's health
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of a letter from Queen Charlotte to her son William (later King William IV) from 1784 admonishing him for his melancholia while at school in Germany. It also contains an 1817 letter from Queen Charlotte thanking the recipient for their report on the health of her daughter, Princess Sophia.
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Collection is open for research.
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Biographical / Historical
Sophia Charlotte was born on May 19, 1744 in Mirow in the German duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick and Princess Elizabeth Albertina of Saxe-Hildburghausen. On September 8, 1761, Charlotte arrived in London for the first time and was married to King George III. Over the course of their marriage, the couple would go on to have 15 children, including two future kings (George IV and William IV). Charlotte loved music and her music-master was Johann Christian Bach, the son of Johann Sebastian Bach. She was also interested in botany and spent a great deal of time working on Kew Gardens. Additionally, she founded several orphanages and in 1809 became patron of the General Lying-in Hospital, which today is called The Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital. She died in Kew Palace on November 17, 1818 and is buried in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Mecklenburg county and Charlotte, North Carolina were named in her honor in 1762 and 1768, respectively.
Prince William Henry (later King William IV) was born on August 21, 1765 in Buckingham Palace to King George III and Queen Charlotte. As the third son, he was not expected to inherit the throne and began a career in the Royal Navy at the age of 13. During this time, he served in America and the West Indies and eventually became admiral of the fleet in 1811. After the death of his older brother, George IV, in 1830, William became king. During his time as king, Parliament passed the 1832 Reform Act against his opposition, which corrected some of the abuses of the electoral system and extended the vote to the middle classes. He died on June 20, 1837 at Windsor Castle and was succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria.
Princess Sophia Matilda was born on November 3, 1777 in Buckingham Palace to King George III and Queen Charlotte. Sophia was particularly close with her father, George III, who tended to prefer the company of his daughters over his sons. After George III suffered bouts of madness in 1788, 1801 and 1804, Queen Charlotte began to cling more closely to her daughters and sought to prevent them from marrying and leaving her. With the exception of the oldest daughter Charlotte, Princess Royal, none of the other daughters of George III and Charlotte were permitted to marry at a young age and often grdugingly referred to their living situation as a nunnery. Due to the lack of exposure to males outside of their home, several of George and Charlotte's daughters began relationships with courtiers and equerries that worked on the palace grounds. Sophia allegedly had a child with her father's chief equerry, Major-General Thomas Garth in 1800. When her oldest brother, George, became Prince Regent in 1811, he helped her sisters Mary and Elizabeth secure marriages. Sophia and her sister Augusta, however, were not free to marry until after their mother Charlotte's death in 1818, which rendered them too old for the standards of the time. As Sophia grew older, she began to suffer from spasms and bouts of depression. After the death of her mother, she lived in Kensington Palace, next door to her sister-in-law, Victoria, the Duchess of Kent, and her niece Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria.) Around 1837, Sophia became blind and remained that way for the rest of her life. Sophia passed away on May 27, 1848 at Kensington Palace with her sister Mary and sister-in-law, Victoria, by her side.
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Language of Materials
Letter from Queen Charlotte to her son William (later King William IV) admonishing him for his melancholia while at school in Germany and letter from Queen Charlotte concerning the health of her daughter, Princess Sophia.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mrs. Robert S. Pickens, 1968; Purchased from Argosy Book Store, 2022
- Charlotte, Queen, consort of George III, King of Great Britain
- Queens -- Correspondence Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- William, IV, King of Great Britain
- Charlotte, Consort Of George III, letters
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