Crown Imperial: An Alt British Monarchy

Opo

Monthly Donor
I think the Louise she presents to George is Luise of Mecklenburg Strelitz (daughter of the Dowager Queens sister, Marie), rather than Louise of Hesse Kassel, future Queen of Denmark (daughter of Dowager Queen Louise' s brother, William).

The opening paragraph has a sequence narrated by the future Queen of Denmark, then the next paragraph comments that Louise also stated, and these are about tea parties at Rumpenheim (William's home) rather than Neustrelitz
That's right, the Louise the Dowager Queen has returned to England with is Duchess Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the eldest daughter of Dowager Queen Louise's sister Marie and Marie's husband Grand Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, making her King George V's first cousin.

All these Georges and Louises can be very confusing sometimes!
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 15: The Puppet Princess

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George V

Part One, Chapter Fifteen: The Puppet Princess

Duchess Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz [1], born in 1818 at Schloss Neustrelitz, was the eldest daughter of Grand Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and his wife, Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel. She had been named for her godmother, now the Dowager Queen who had brought her from Germany to England. Luise had been raised in a loving but modest family, the Grand Duke enjoying a position of authority but (compared to his counterparts across Germany) not one that brought great wealth. Her childhood was a simple one spent in the company of her three younger siblings Hereditary Grand Duke Frederick William, Duchess Caroline Marianne and Duke George August but there were frequent trips to Rumpenheim to visit her grandfather Frederick, her uncle William and her cousins Karoline, Marie, Louise (later Queen consort of Denmark), Frederick William and Auguste. From an early age, Luise was nicknamed “Sunny” by her father Grand Duke George who called her “the brightest and happiest of all my children”. Queen Louise of Denmark later said of her; “She inherited Aunt Marie’s ability to see the good in all people and even as a child, she never complained”. Indeed, Duke Georg August wrote of her; “When we were given treats as children, she was only too happy to part with her own because of the happiness it gave her to see us enjoy more of the same”.

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Duchess Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, c. 1837 [2]

But Luise was also a shy and timid girl, never one to push herself forward. Her daughter Princess Victoria (1840 – 1922) later wrote; “Of all the memories shared with me of my poor dear mother, all had a common theme; that she was that rarest of creatures who had a natural goodness, a total lack of self-interest and a desire only to make those around her happy”. There are no records of Luise’s reaction to being uprooted from her family in Neustrelitz and taken to England with her godmother but in her letters home to her parents, there is no trace of bitterness or complaint. She is full of compliments for the British Royal Family and praises her aunt for her kindness and generosity. Susannah, Countess of Harrowby (who had served the Dowager Queen Louise as a lady of the bedchamber) noted that “The little Duchess could see a goodness in her aunt that nobody else could. Indeed, of all those around the Queen it was only her niece who had a kind word and a generous thought for her. This was surprising given that the Queen treated the poor girl as a kind of unpaid companion and she was never allowed to go out by herself”.

From her modest life at Neustrelitz, Duchess Luise was thrown into life at the Court of St James’ with very little preparation. The first barrier was the language. Whilst she spoke a little English, she was hardly fluent and Queen Louise refused to allow her to speak German, insisting that she must improve her English-speaking skills without delay. She engaged a tutor for the purpose who praised the young Duchess to his employer; “She already has an enviable command of German, French, Russian and Italian and her ear for languages is quite remarkable”. Queen Louise replied, “I do not care for her ear, I care for her to be properly educated as quickly as possible”. But Luise was well educated. Her father, Grand Duke George, had insisted on a programme of school building when he succeeded his father in 1816 and by the end of his reign, the vast majority of his subjects could read and write which was far from the norm. Regardless of their gender, the Grand Duke had provided a well-rounded education for his own children too and Luise was both an avid reader and a talented poetess.

Naturally it was Luise’s beauty which first caught the attention of the English court. In his diary, Charles Greville describes the first time he saw the Duchess, albeit from a distance, as she made her way to Marlborough House after a luncheon party; “She is without a doubt an incredibly beautiful young lady with long golden curls and they say she has bright blue eyes and skin as clear as fine porcelain”. She dressed simply, though not fashionably, rejecting the leg-o-mutton sleeve which was still popular and dispensing with the heavily embellished skirts of the day. Instead, she embraced romantic fashions with a more natural silhouette, her gowns cut from patterned cottons and mousselines rather than the heavy silks with complicated embroidery and lace frills still very much in favour. Her blonde tresses were parted in the centre and brushed smoothly over her ears into a chignon at the back of her head, again a departure from the elaborate styles of the day and she was a great devotee of modest decoration of the hair with flowers or ribbons. In England, this would become known as the Mecklenburg Style, the English believing as they did that every young lady in the Grand Duchy dressed that way. Soon after her arrival in England, and as newspapers began to print stories and sketches of her, middle class girls embraced Luise’s style and so slowly the previous fashions of the 1820s and early 1830s were abandoned.

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A dress worn by Duchess Luise in 1836.

When she first arrived in England, Luise followed her aunt everywhere. At Royal Lodge, she was given two rooms at the back of the house in which to sleep and dress with an adjoining sitting room. Her accommodation at Marlborough House was far more comfortable as she was given the apartment formerly occupied by the Duke of Sussex. This suite of rooms included a private salon, a large bedroom, a study, a dining room, dressing room and bathroom. This particularly impressed Luise as the plumbing at Neustrelitz was rudimentary at best. Her father sent portraits of the family so that she could decorate her rooms with them but she had few possessions of her own. This was not the result of poverty of course; she simply did not feel she needed to surround herself with clutter.

If she had one criticism of her aunt, it was that; “She does so like to acquire little things which are very pretty but which must be such a chore for the servants to organise”. The Dowager Queen opened an account for Luise with a Knightsbridge dressmaker, Madame Yvonne, but Luise never commissioned a dress unless she was instructed to by her aunt ahead of a function or fete. She was given a lady’s maid, Beryl Whigham, who later said that she often found Luise had dressed herself and styled her own hair leaving her with nothing to do; “Her wardrobe was very simple too and I was shocked when she mended a small tear in the hem of a dress with very fine stitching. I am sure other ladies in her position would have thrown the dress away but she did not”.

Luise was not naïve and must have known why her godmother, absent for so many years in her life, had suddenly taken an interest in her. The Clarences too understood why Luise had been brought to England. The Duke felt his sister-in-law’s meddling to be “far too obvious” and complained that “[Queen Louise] has no style in these things, no elegance or decorum. It is all far too matter of fact – not to mention presumptuous”. But that is not to say that the Duke did not approve of Duchess Luise, on the contrary, on the day she arrived at Windsor he noted in his journal that she was “a sweet girl of good protestant stock with sound and well-liked parents. That she should be named for the Queen is a burden she should not bear for the two are so very different in personality. Pray God that remains so”. However, the Duke was still insistent that his nephew should be allowed to choose his own bride when he came of age and whilst he felt Luise was more than a suitable match, he did not intend to join in the Dowager Queen’s matchmaking. Besides, the King was only 15 years old. If George took an interest in Luise in the future, it would be “all to the good” but Clarence made it clear that he would not “push His Majesty into a hasty marriage for which he is not fully prepared and which should not be his priority at this time in his life”.

As far as Queen Louise was concerned, the Duke of Clarence’s views on the King’s marriage were of no consequence. Her late husband’s will gave her the right to decide who and when her children would marry and if she chose to present her niece as a fait accompli, the King would simply have to accept her as his bride. There was a flaw in this plan, however. The Queen had no real relationship with her son and he was not enthused or excited by her return to England. He did not rush to spend time with her and their first few meetings were brief, usually in passing, with no real opportunity for the Dowager Queen to introduce the King to his cousin in any meaningful way. Louise’s past behaviour was putting obstacles in her way and she could not count on her in-laws to assist her. Princess Augusta condemned the Queen bringing Luise to England as “the most vulgar scheme”, whilst the Duke of Sussex said that whilst he was greatly impressed with “the Mecklenburg girl”, the Queen was “handling the whole thing so blatantly and so boorishly that it [is] almost indecent”.

The Duke of Clarence had resolved not to battle with his sister-in-law and where possible, to bite his tongue. Fortunately for the Duke, the Dowager Queen now had a project she could focus her attentions upon and not only that, but she also had her full allowance restored from the Civil List which allowed her to spend money, a past time which always made her happy. For weeks after returning to England, Louise spared no expense where her niece was concerned. She was horrified that Luise showed no interest in filling her rooms with the same clutter the Dowager Queen preferred and when she found that Luise was not placing regular orders with Madame Yvonne in Knightsbridge, she took control. The result was an endless array of packages containing dresses, hats, scarves, bonnets and shoes which were not to Luise’s taste and which she only ever wore when dining alone with her aunt at Marlborough House to show gratitude. For Luise’s 17th birthday on the 31st of May 1835, the Dowager Queen presented her with a demi-parure fashioned from pearls and diamonds by Garrards & Co. The wary jeweller had demanded payment in advance. Queen Louise used the occasion to introduce her niece to London society and to the King.

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The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Luise’s first birthday in England was marked with a trip to the theatre and then a late supper party given at Marlborough House. The Clarences were surprised to be invited, though the Duchess noted that she felt this was more to secure their support for Luise than a gesture of apology or reconciliation. The King and Princess Charlotte Louise, Princess Victoria and the Duke of Sussex were also present, though the Duke of Clarence’s two sisters did not receive invitations. The party was not exactly a jolly affair and got off to a bad start. The Dowager Queen had asked Baroness Pallenberg to arrange a visit to the theatre before the supper party began. Not a natural lover of the arts, Pallenberg had bought tickets to the first play she had seen advertised. Dressed in their best, the Dowager Queen and Duchess Luise arrived at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to see a production of Virginius, an 1820 tragedy by the Irish writer James Sheridan Knowles starring Charles Kemble. When the audience saw the Dowager Queen enter the royal box, there was no round of applause as was customary, indeed, there were even a few boos from the stalls below. Within half an hour, the Dowager Queen had decided the play was quite unsuitable and in the middle of a scene, the royal party left and returned early to Marlborough House.

None of the guests were aware that the Dowager Queen would be home from the theatre early, neither were the servants. They were still preparing the ballroom and Louise flew into a temper berating them for their laziness and lacklustre approach to their work. She remained in a foul mood for the remainder of the evening. With no attempt at discretion whatsoever, she seated Luise opposite the King at supper but made the mistake of putting the Duke of Richmond next to her niece. Richmond took far too much wine and monopolised the girl so much that she could barely exchange more than a few pleasantries with the King who clearly wasn’t enjoying himself and left early, much to his mother’s anger. As the King left the ballroom, the Dowager Queen retired to bed leaving her guests to wonder whether they too should go home early. There was not a hint of disaster in Luise’s letter to her mother; “Aunt Louise was most kind and took me to the theatre and then gave a small supper party for my birthday. I enjoyed the play very much and the supper was pleasant too. The King came and wished me well and he gave me a small silver box as a gift which is very pretty and was most kind of him. I enjoyed my birthday very much”.

The Duchess of Clarence was the one member of the Royal Family who dared to point out the obvious in a letter to her sister Ida, now living in Weimar with her husband Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach; “She is much kinder to [Luise] than she ever was to her own children, indeed, she might well be taken for her mother which is so very difficult to understand, especially given that she has not once extended an invitation (or even shown an interest) in seeing poor Lottie”. Princess Charlotte Louise was not particularly hurt by this. As far as she was concerned, she did not have a relationship with her mother and whether the Dowager Queen resided in Germany, England or on the Moon, she had lost nothing because there never was a closeness there to begin with; “I felt very much that I had disappointed her for a time”, she later wrote, “But then I realized that she did not know me and so could not be disappointed. Indeed, as she cared only for her own interests, even if I were to have disappointed her in some way, she would not have shown the slightest indication of it and so I came to regard her as someone who existed only in the conversations of others or in portraits on the walls of Buckingham Palace”.

Queen Louise’s grip on her niece meant that the Duchess was rarely seen outside of her company. She did not mix with the King or Princess Charlotte Louise, nor was she able to accept invitations to Clarence House kindly extended by the Duke and Duchess because Queen Louise had sworn never to step foot there. But one invitation she was thrilled to accept came in June 1835 from King George V. Both the Dowager Queen and her niece were invited to Buckingham Palace where the King was to host his very first reception to be held in honour of the various Ambassadors at the Court of St James’. Lord Palmerston had proposed the idea as a way of introducing the King to the diplomatic corps and the reception became an annual tradition, though the date was later moved to be held in January. The King wished the entire Royal Family to be present to support him but again, Princess Augusta declined, thereby keeping her word never to find herself in the presence of her sister-in-law so long as she could help it.

King George welcomed his guests in the ballroom of the palace with each being formally presented as he sat on a chair set on a dais. After everybody was presented, the King circulated so as to spend a few minutes with each Ambassador and their wives. The Duke of Clarence had advised the King to dance with these ladies rather than the women of the court whom he saw regularly and this frustrated the Dowager Queen who had hopes that might ask his cousin to dance. But George did not ignore Luise entirely. In the moments they spent together that evening, he politely inquired as to how she liked living at Marlborough House. Luise replied that she thought the property “very nice indeed”. A bumptious Queen Louise interjected; “Yes but I am sure Luise would like to see more of the Palace here. Perhaps His Majesty might like to show her some of the paintings in the gallery?”. The King smiled politely and nodded, moving on to greet Cristóvão Pedro de Morais Sarmento, the Envoy Extraordinary of Portugal to the Court of St James.

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Count di Borgo.

Also present that evening was Count Carlo di Borgo, the Corsican politician who had so bitterly opposed Napoleon and had entered the Russian diplomatic service leading Bonaparte to consider him a traitor to France. Di Borgo’s presence was not popular with the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, who was incredibly rude, perhaps because the Russian diplomat had once been the lover of Palmerston’s mistress, Lady Cowper. Di Borgo was not only present that evening as a courtesy. Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom were strained with a rise in Russophobia in England following the Greek War of Independence. Russians were consistently characterised in the British press as backward and militaristic and their rulers no better than tyrants. Palmerston himself was suspicious of Russia and one of his great aims was to prevent Russia establishing itself on the Bosporus. His reputation in St Petersburg was poor, especially after his openly hostile arguments against the Treaty of Hünkâr Īskelesi of 1833, a mutual assistance pact between Russia and the Ottomans.

Unknown to the British, Di Borgo had been given a special assignment by Tsar Nicholas I, one which Di Borgo was warned to keep absolutely top secret. The Tsar had heard of the Dutch interest in Princess Victoria of Kent as the future bride of the Prince of Orange. Whilst the Tsar was (unkindly) inclined to believe gossip that Victoria was either illegitimate or had some kind of inherited “madness” from her grandfather or from her mother, he had begun to seriously consider the possibility of an Anglo-Russian match for his eldest son, the Tsarevich Alexander. For the Tsar, such a marriage was purely one of political convenience. He hoped that by forging a closer bond between the two dynasties, the British may soften in their anti-Russian views and be more inclined to support – or at least, stay neutral – in future international disputes. [3]

Princess Charlotte Louise was just 14 years old but any marriage between the Tsarevich and the Princess was likely to take a long time to negotiate. Furthermore, the Princess would have to change her religion and learn to speak Russian, neither being particularly easy (or fast) hurdles to overcome. Di Borgo was asked for a report on Princess Charlotte Louise’s looks and character. If the Tsar found both agreeable, he may well add her to a list of potential brides he was already considering for his son and heir. Oddly, the Tsar did not consider his eldest daughter, the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, as a match for King George V. This was based not in diplomacy but in sentimentality. Maria was the Tsar’s favourite and he did not wish her to leave Russia. She would eventually marry the Duke of Leuchtenberg, the Tsar only giving permission for the match on the understanding that the couple remain close to him in St Petersburg.

Di Borgo’s report to the Tsar was brief. He found Princess Charlotte Louise to be “a beauty in the English fashion, a little bold in personality but generally a pleasant girl”. Her education had been limited, he pointed out, but she was “adept in conversation” and “evidently close to her older brother, the King”. But Di Borgo made clear to the Tsar that any suggestion of marriage between the Princess and the Tsarevich must be handled delicately; “The Duke of Clarence insists that neither of his nieces must marry before they are 18, indeed, he would keep them with him forever if he could, that is the strength of his affection for them. It must also be said that in England, the Queen Dowager (sic) decides all royal marriages but as she apparently shows little interest in her daughter, she is unlikely to oppose such a union. It appears at present there is some correspondence with one of the Coburg princes but I am told this is not serious in any way and that Queen Louise would never countenance a marriage with either one for she despises the family”.

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Tsar Nicholas I.

But unlike King George V, Di Borgo had noticed Duchess Luise. In his report to the Tsar, he spoke of “A Mecklenburg Duchess who is being put forward by the Dowager Queen as a bride for her son. He shows no real interest in her but she is a modest type, very beautiful and of marriageable age. I believe her to be worth consideration if the English Princess is found to be unsuitable. The Duchess also has a younger sister Caroline who may prove to be of interest too”. Even if Queen Louise’s plan to wed her son to her niece failed, it was clear that Luise’s arrival in England was creating a stir and that she would not find it difficult to make a good match for herself in another of Europe’s royal courts. Unfortunately for Di Borgo, the Duchess of Cumberland heard gossip in Berlin that the Tsar was interested in Duchess Luise for the Tsarevich and wasted no time in sending a letter to the Dowager Queen informing her of the fact. Louise was initially furious but when she learned that Di Borgo had primarily been asked to report back to the Tsar on Princess Charlotte Louise, the course of action became clear to her; she must ensure that her daughter was promoted in Russia whilst her niece was promoted in England.

The Duke of Clarence was kept ignorant of the Russian interest but he noted with irritation the way in which his sister-in-law pushed her niece forward. Even when the King invited his mother to tea (out of duty rather than affection), the Dowager Queen insisted on bringing the young Duchess with her. But more than that, Clarence was concerned that Luise may find herself “a puppet princess”. It did not take long for the Duke to work out what Queen Louise’s ambition was. If she could marry her niece to her son, Duchess Luise would forever owe her position to her mother-in-law. Whilst the Queen had no hold over the King, it was entirely possible she could claw back influence and position at court through her successor. The Duke made a decision. If the King showed no real interest in Luise within a year, he would insist that she be sent back to Neustrelitz. But this was not based in any desire for revenge against his sister-in-law. It appears the Duke was genuinely concerned for Luise’s welfare; “It cannot be good for the girl to be separated from her parents in such a way and I do not think it fair that she miss out on other opportunities because she is being kept a prisoner at Marlborough House, prepared for a role that will never come her way”.

For Luise, she was quite content to remain in England whatever the future may hold. She had taken to the country and its people and though she had no independence or freedom, she wrote to her sister Caroline that she “loved the English countryside so very much that I could not dream of being parted from it. I should like to have a small house of my own like the ones I see in English paintings and I would grow roses and sit by the stream taking tea all day”. However, whilst Luise was shy and quiet and seemingly the very model of charm and grace, there was once incident in July 1835 that offered a glimpse of something strong and perhaps even a little defiant. She had received an invitation to take tea with Princess Sophia at St James’ Palace, an invitation the Dowager Queen refused on her behalf. Sophia was becoming increasingly eccentric in her advancing years but she was also incredibly lonely. Her eyesight was poor (she would be completely blind by 1838) and with the exception of the occasional visit from the Duchess of Clarence or her sister Princess Mary, she rarely socialised. She had heard much from her sister Augusta about the Mecklenburg Duchess and wanted to see her for herself.

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Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom.

The Dowager Queen had declined Sophia’s invitation, purely on the basis that Louise herself was to attend the opening of a new exhibition at the British Museum that afternoon. Luise was due to go with her but complained of a headache and so was excused. Left alone except for the company of the household staff, Luise dressed herself and styled her hair before stepping outside via the gardens of Marlborough House and across the street that led to the entrance to Friary Court at St James’. Princess Sophia’s butler had never seen the Duchess before but as soon as she told him who she was, he raced to the Drawing Room to tell his mistress that Luise had come for tea. Delighted, Princess Sophia welcomed Luise with a kiss on each cheek and then ordered tea be brought in. Luise was enchanted and Sophia reported to her sister Augusta that Luise was; “the most charming little thing, so very curious about us all and her manners are impeccable. She promised to come again and I have to confess, I really was very sad when she left”.

Luise managed to get back to Marlborough House before her aunt returned from the British Museum. At supper that evening, a sour-faced Baroness Pallenberg entered the room holding a pale pink scarf.

“I believe this to be yours, Your Highness”, Pallenberg said in an accusatory tone, “It was left with Princess Sophia this afternoon”.

Queen Louise put down her glass of wine and fixed her niece with a ferocious stare.

“Am I to understand that you defied me and took tea at St James' today?”, she glowered, “I declined that invitation and you were supposed to be unwell with a pain in your head”

Luise looked sheepishly across the table to her aunt.

“I am sorry”, she began, “But I felt better and I did not want to seem rude so I went across the gardens to see the Princess”

There was a tense silence. The Dowager Queen stood up and made her way slowly to where Luise was sitting, nervously looking down to her half-eaten meal.

A sharp snap of flesh meeting flesh shattered the atmosphere. As Luise sat there, her cheek red and her eyes filling with tears, her aunt held her roughly by the chin and as she looked into her eyes dangerously.

“If you ever defy me again”, she growled, “I shall keep you here with me until those pretty blonde locks are white as snow. Do you understand me child?”

Luise nodded her head. Her aunt released her. Taking Baroness Pallenberg’s arm, Queen Louise made for the door.

“Thankyou my dear”, she said in a sickly-sweet voice, “My niece is apparently unwell. See to it that she goes to her room and is undisturbed until I call for her”.

For Duchess Luise, the start of two long years of captivity at Marlborough House had begun.



[1] Both Louises were baptised as Luise but would have had their names anglicized to Louise in the Court Circular. To make it easier to distinguish between the two, I’ll refer to Duchess Luise with the original German spelling of her Christian name.

[2] Actually a portrait of Mrs Charles Sabine Thellusson (née Georgiana Theobald, 1828-1883) by Margaret Sarah Carpenter painted in 1850 but this was the portrait I used to base the description of Duchess Luise on and unfortunately, I cannot find any real images of her to use instead.

[3] If this seems a little early, Tsar Nicholas I was already considering Princess Victoria as a possible bride for the future Tsar Alexander II when she was much younger than Charlotte Louise is here.

N.B: The production of Virginius at Drury Lane was staged between 1834 and 1835 but I can't find any exact dates so it's possible the production had closed by May 1835. If so, do forgive!
 
Bloody hell the Dowager Queen is a right piece of work. I imagine if Clarence heard about this or her Parents the Dowager queen would probably get the Tower accommodations.
 
So Luise and George marry, given they are both stated to have had daughters called Victoria born in 1840
I think they will marry too. It says that Luise was captive at Marlborough House for two years. This would be from 1835-1837. 1837 is the year that George got married. Therefore, I think it is safe to say the George warmed up to Luise and the two got married.
 
Louise is going to end her life lonely, estranged from he family and hated by the public and nobility alike! A daughter-in-law who spent two years in abusive captivity will probably not even let her see her grandchildren! Her daughter whose existence she ignores will probably do the same! Louise is her own worst enemy!
 
And we know Louise doesn't attend her daughter's wedding either, which suggests that she doesn't approve of the match, and that Charlotte does end up with Albert as Louise very much doesn't want, preferring the Russian match.

If we've learned anything thus far it is that Louise is spiteful and will last out when things don't go her way, we also know her daughter doesn't feel like her mother cares of her, and by the time that Charlotte will be or age to marry, her brother and the Duchess Luise will be married, and it will be George V, influenced by his wife whom his mother effectively held hostage for two years, who will have ultimate veto on his sister's marriage, not his mother.

Louise is about to make things even worse for herself.
 
This is rather better than I first thought. Marriage seemed unlikely, since George is very young, and it would be several years before even a betrothal could happen. With George only 15 and Luise some years older, I suspected that Louise had brought her to seduce George and become his mistress - he being a horny teenager.
 
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Opo

Monthly Donor
Louise is going to end her life lonely, estranged from he family and hated by the public and nobility alike! A daughter-in-law who spent two years in abusive captivity will probably not even let her see her grandchildren! Her daughter whose existence she ignores will probably do the same! Louise is her own worst enemy!

Louise is about to make things even worse for herself.
These are both great observations, spot on too. This is very much Louise's last chance to claw back some kind of position for herself in the future. She's pinning her hopes on being able to bully and dominate Duchess Luise so that she can maintain some kind of influence but when the King turns 18, he's the master of his own house as it were. He can make life unbearable for his mother if he so chooses. As you both rightly say, Louise is her own worst enemy and is actually making things worse for herself. For those who (quite rightly!) despise the Dowager Queen, you won't have to wait too long until she gets her inevitable come-uppance!
This is rather better than I first thought. Marriage seemed unlikely, since Georgg. is very young, and it would be several years before even a betrothal could happen. With George only 15 and Luise some years older, I suspected that Louise had brought her to seduce George and become his mistress - he being a horny teenager.
Perish the thought! But this raises a good point. Initially I had reservations about introducing the idea of marriage for George at this stage. After all, the average age for marriage around this time in the UK was between 20 and 24. But then I decided to take inspiration from the OTL Victoria, Princess Royal. Her parents were already planning her marriage to the Crown Prince of Prussia when she was just 11 years old.

By the time Vicky was 15 she was in love with Fritz (who proposed) but the couple were asked to wait until Vicky turned 17. There are obviously different factors at play here but it wouldn't be so unusual for marriage plans to be in the offing for Victoria, George and Charlotte Louise at this time in their lives, even if the actual weddings are a few years off yet. I've spared any of them the fate of poor Queen Olga of Greece however, who married at just 16. On the night of her first banquet in Athens she was found under the stairs crying and playing with her teddy bear saying she wanted to go back to Russia to her parents and didn't want to be Queen at all.

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone reading. It's always great when you give feedback so I know what you're enjoying! The next installment will be a few days away but if anyone has any questions about either the George IV or George V timeline thus far they'd like to ask (avoiding spoilers of course!), feel free to ask and I'll do my best to fill in any gaps you might have spotted. Otherwise, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year!
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 16: Comings and Goings

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George V

Part One, Chapter Sixteen: Comings and Goings

On Christmas Day 1835, the British Royal Family gathered at Windsor Castle. The Clarences had opted for a small celebration but though the festivities were on a much smaller scale than in recent years, those present agreed that, by comparison to some of the guests, the Clarences were the perfect hosts. In a move that surprised everybody, Queen Louise accepted the Duchess of Clarence’s invitation to join the Royal Family for the holiday season but as was her wont, her acceptance was conditional with a list of demands sent to the Duchess on the 23rd of December via Baroness Pallenberg. The Queen did not enjoy the English tradition of celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December and so would not attend the luncheon to be held in St George’s Hall that day. However, she would attend the exchange of presents after tea on Christmas Eve and the supper party that followed. Naturally she would be accompanied by her niece, Duchess Luise. For the Duchess of Clarence, these demands were, unusually, quite welcome. Princess Augusta had refused to attend the Christmas Day luncheon if Queen Louise was present and clearly expected the Clarences to side with the Duke’s sister rather than the Dowager Queen. The Duchess of Clarence thanked heaven for small mercies, not wishing to face either in battle.

As planned, Queen Louise and her niece arrived at Windsor Castle from Royal Lodge on the Windsor Estate after tea. They added their gifts to the long table set in the middle of St George’s Hall and then stood together ignoring the other guests until the King arrived. Queen Louise was visibly irritated when her son greeted the Duke and Duchess of Clarence before her but her bad mood didn’t last when he wished Duchess Luise a Happy Christmas and offered to help her retrieve her gifts from the gifts table. From the Dowager Queen, there was a rather hideous heavy marble mantle clock which was overtly funereal in design and which looked suspiciously familiar to the adults in St George’s Hall. It was in fact a clock sent to the Dowager Queen by the King of France as a token of sympathy following the death of her husband in 1827 and had recently been whisked away from her boudoir by Baroness Pallenberg to be presented as a gift to Duchess Luise.

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The Charles X Clock, now housed at the British Museum.

Fortunately, the other gifts on the table were far more thoughtful. The Clarences gave Queen Louise a silver punch bowl with 8 matching cups which could be hung from tiny hooks around the circumference of the bowl. Each of the cups was engraved with Queen Louise’s coat of arms. Louise had brought nothing with her for the Clarences. Neither did she bother to bring a gift for her daughter, Princess Charlotte Louise but as she had during the Queen's long absence, the Duchess of Clarence had thought ahead and had written a label on the Dowager Queen’s behalf which she attached to a collection of leather-bound poetry books. When the young Princess approached her mother and thanked her, Queen Louise nodded without smiling and said coldly, “You may kiss me”. Charlotte Louise dutifully kissed her mother’s cheek and the Queen then ignored her daughter for the rest of the evening. For the King, there was a gift of a set of maps of the world commissioned by the Duke of Clarence. Queen Louise presented her son with a hip flask, which everybody agreed was a ridiculous present for a 15-year-old boy. Once again, it was not purchased by the Dowager Queen but had belonged to George IV. But the gift which set tongues wagging was the one given by King George to his cousin Luise.

On the table there sat three identical green leather boxes from Garrards & Co; one for Princess Charlotte Louise, one for Princess Victoria and one for Duchess Luise. Each box contained a brooch in the form of a flower. For Princess Charlotte Louise, there was a Morning Glory, the petals created from amethysts with diamonds and a small yellow sapphire in the centre. For Princess Victoria, there was an Iris created in the same colour gemstones as Princess Charlotte Louise’s brooch. But for Duchess Luise there was something slightly different; a Lily of the Valley created from diamonds and emeralds. Floriography had been introduced to England by Mary Wortley Montagu in 1717 and its appeal had proved long lasting. Indeed, in 1830 a popular gift for young women about to come of age was a copy of Joseph Hammer-Purgstall’s Dictionnaire du languages des fleurs. Published in 1809, it was agreed that this was the absolute authority on flowers and their meanings and if a young lady received a posy from a gentleman, she could look at what each bloom meant to work out the message he was trying to convey. [1]

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A mid 19th century postcard on the 'Language of Flowers'.

It is unclear as to whether King George V was familiar with floriography but the commission notes at Garrards specifies; “Three fine floral brooches in silver with AM/D x 2 and D/EM x 1; MG, IS & LV. Created for His Majesty the King, Christmas 1835, £600 – paid upon delivery”. It is also hard to know whether Duchess Luise was familiar with the English passion for the “language of flowers” but certainly Princess Charlotte Louise and Princess Victoria would have been and possibly knew immediately that the King was trying to convey messages of affection and trust respectively. Taking Duchess Luise’s brooch and applying floriography, one might suggest (as did some of the ladies in attendance that Christmas Eve) that George was trying to communicate “sweetness” or “humility” to his cousin. But did he believe her to be sweet? Was he reminding her to be more humble? As ridiculous as it may seem to a modern audience, this was debated for weeks after the Christmas celebrations of 1835 by all who were present; with the exception that is of the Duchess herself. She was just thrilled to have been given such a pretty brooch.

Since her arrival in England, Luise had spent alternate Sundays in the company of the King when he called at Royal Lodge after church to take tea with his mother. These had begun as unpleasant and awkward affairs and Queen Louise was shocked when she began to talk about the Duke of Cumberland only to be reminded by her son that “Uncle Cumberland is not a subject we discuss at court”. Later that afternoon, the Dowager Queen hissed at Pallenberg; “He has been made Clarence’s creature just as I said”. But the one highlight of these visits quickly became the presence of the King’s cousin. That isn’t to say that he fell in love with Luise or even that he found her attractive. But compared to his glowering mother and the sour disapproving looks of Baroness Pallenberg, the beautiful Duchess with her warm smile and bright eyes could only be a consolation. By Christmas 1835, the King had come to look forward to his Sunday visits to Royal Lodge and whether it pleased his mother or not, he began to genuinely enjoy being in the company of Duchess Luise. “She is quite like you”, he told his cousin Princess Victoria, adding playfully “But prettier of course”.

Whilst some of the King’s relations felt the Queen was behaving “almost indecently” in the way she tried to push her son and her niece together, the Duke of Clarence was reassured when he saw them together one afternoon after church. The Duchess dropped her shawl and the King quickly picked it up, draped it around her shoulders and then the pair engaged in brief conversation before the King offered her his arm to lead her back to Royal Lodge for the much-dreaded post-church service tea with the Dowager Queen. Clarence wrote to his brother, the Duke of Sussex; “Whilst I should never have acted in the brazen fashion our sister-in-law has demonstrated in this matter, I see now that Georgie is neither encouraged nor dissuaded, despite her efforts. I believe his interest in the Duchess will wane in time but at present, I should not be concerned if the boy forms an attachment to her as all young men must fall in love and have their hearts broken more than once before they are ready for marriage”.

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Queen Anna of the Netherlands.

The same did not apply to young ladies of course. By the New Year of 1836, the Duchess of Clarence had received a letter from the Queen of the Netherlands concerning Princess Victoria. Her recent visit to The Hague impressed the Prince of Orange and his wife and now they were quite determined to declare their interest in her as a bride for their eldest son before another eligible European bachelor took a fancy to her as well. Victoria was now 16 and a half years old. Though the Dutch royal couple respected the Duke of Clarence’s wishes that his niece could not be married before she turned 18 years of age, Princess Anna asked if there would be any objection to an engagement in six months’ time when Princess Victoria turned 17 with a view to marriage after her 18th birthday. King William I also wanted a reassurance that no other offers were being considered. Princess Anna had heard rumours via her sister the Grand Duchess Maria in Weimar that their brother Tsar Nicholas I was seriously considering a British princess for the Tsarevich and that she had heard very good reports had been sent to St Petersburg concerning Princess Victoria.

In actual fact, Grand Duchess Maria was mistaken. The Tsar was considering a British princess for the Tsarevich’s future bride but it was Princess Charlotte Louise who had taken his interest. Count Di Borgo’s report had pleased Nicholas I but he wanted more information. The first priority was to see if Di Borgo could obtain a portrait of the Princess. But the Tsar knew only too well that portraits were not always reliable (neither were courtiers) and so he wrote to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who had met both Princess Charlotte Louise and Princess Victoria, for an honest assessment of their characters. Charles Frederick reassured his brother-in-law that both Princesses were “attractive (after the English fashion), polite, respectable and friendly” but added jokingly; “I’m afraid your dear sister Anna has beaten you there old man - she has already snapped up Victoria of Kent to be a little Hollander!”.

The Clarences were unsure as to what to do about the situation regarding the future “little Hollander”. The Duchess considered the Princess of Orange's request to be entirely reasonable, indeed, if the Duke was not supportive of such a match he would never have allowed his wife to take their niece to The Hague “on approval”. For days, the Duke of Clarence refused to discuss the matter, insisting that he had somewhere else to be. Then he became irritated when it was mentioned, snapping at his wife; “Do not interfere Adelaide! I shall not be bullied by excited women!”. It was clear to the Duchess, even if it was not to the Duke, that his reluctance was caused by something that had been 16 and a half years in the making; Clarence did not want his niece to go. He had come to adore her as his own daughter, devoted to ensuring her happiness in all things and now it appeared their life together was coming to an end. If Victoria left for the Netherlands, it was unlikely Clarence would see his niece again for some time. Visits would be rare, letters their only reliable form of communication, and as she settled her into new role as the future Prince of Orange’s wife, her time would be taken up with a new family, new friends and new responsibilities. “And after all that, will she still have any time left for her poor old uncle?”, the Duke noted sadly in his journal.

The Dutch needed an answer. The Duchess of Clarence advised her husband to ask the Prime Minister, Lord Lansdowne, what he thought they should do. Lansdowne knew of the interest expressed by the Dutch in Princess Victoria and perhaps a little ignorant to the Duke’s sensitivity on the issue, he replied; “But there could be no better match for Her Royal Highness surely? We shall wave the Princess off to Holland with a hearty cheer for a happy future”. In his diary Lansdowne recorded; “The Duke then wept like an infant, so much so that I had to comfort him. I felt quite embarrassed but the Duchess quickly relieved me of my duty and I left the room, hearing her say ‘Now come Billy, do not carry on so’ as his sobs grew louder”. The Duke knew what he had to do. He decided to spend some time with his niece at Windsor before asking her whether she felt she could accept the Dutch proposal, keeping to his promise that he would never force Victoria to marry anybody she did not like.

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The Duke of Clarence in the final year of his life, drawn by his daughter Sophia de L'Isle and Dudley.

The week did not exactly play out as Clarence might have hoped. On the second day of their stay, the Duke was out walking in the Great Park with the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, when he suddenly collapsed. Clutching at his stomach in agony, he writhed in pain on the wet grass, his cloak covered in mud as his whole body appeared to go into spasm. Palmerston shouted to the guards nearby to fetch the Royal Physician, Sir John Forbes, as the Duke of Clarence cried out “Adelaide! I must have Adelaide at the last!”. A group of guardsmen rushed to the Duke’s aide and carried him back to the Castle where he was put to bed. A nervous Duchess of Clarence paced outside the bedroom, certain that her husband had suffered a heart attack and was about to die. Clarence’s health had been in steady decline for some time and he was now 70 years old. It appeared the end was near. [2]

To everybody’s relief, Forbes found that the Duke had not suffered a heart attack but rather, a gallbladder attack caused by a rich diet and too much fortified wine. A period of rest was essential if the Duke wanted to avoid further attacks, after which Forbes promised a complete recovery. But for the Duke of Clarence, the situation was all too reminiscent of his older brother’s decline. Shortly after being treated for gallbladder problems, George IV had suffered a series of strokes that had led to his death in 1827. Clarence believed he did not have long left to live. When he was well enough to receive visitors, he called Princess Victoria to his bedroom. For the first time, he addressed her as an adult. A keen diarist, Victoria wrote in her journal;

Poor Uncle William looked so very pale and tired and I kissed his forehead and sat upon the edge of the bed. He took my hand and told me that he had something very important to discuss with me. I had no idea what it could be and I felt quite nervous as he told me that whatever my answer to his question might be, he would honour it and not force me to do anything I did not feel to be right in my heart. Then he told me that the Dutch Prince wanted me for his wife and that Queen Anna had written to Aunt Adelaide to ask Uncle William’s permission for us to be engaged soon. I was so surprised that I must admit that I cried and this upset poor dear Uncle William so that we held each other until we were quite exhausted with tears. He told me that I must think about it all very carefully and that Aunt Adelaide would be able to answer any questions I might have but I must confess that I had not expected any of this and I do not know what answer I should give. Oh! How I wish I could stay here with darling Uncle William forever and ever.

Victoria does not make another entry in her diary for six days. But on the 3rd of February 1836, she writes;

The Prince and Princess of Orange are to bring the Prince to London for my birthday celebrations in May. Our engagement was announced in-Council by Uncle William this morning at Windsor.

The Duke of Clarence was now fully recovered from his gallbladder attack but his brush with death had awoken a need in him to put his affairs in order. He did not put pressure on his niece to give a response, far from it, but perhaps during his recovery he saw the situation a little differently. That said, he remained sentimental. In a letter to his brother, the Duke of Sussex, he wrote; “I realise that it is not enough to have prepared Drina for a happy life. I must now allow her to live it”. Whether or not Victoria accepted the Prince of Orange freely or reluctantly, her diary entries from this point on until long after her marriage became matter of fact accounts about her daily activities. She does not indicate her feelings towards her future husband one way or the other and it is not until later entries that we learn that she accepted the proposal only after being reassured by the Duchess of Clarence that she still had a year following her engagement to change her mind.

“You might even delay the wedding until you feel you are ready”, the Duchess advised.

“And if I am never ready?”, Victoria replied.

“Then you will know it in your heart”, her aunt said gently.

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Princess Victoria in 1836.

Whilst the Cabinet and Privy Council were informed that Princess Victoria was to be engaged on the 24th of May, nobody in the Royal Family with the exception of the Duke and Duchess of Clarence (and naturally, Princess Victoria) were to be told until the evening of Princess Victoria’s 17th birthday. But Victoria’s marriage was not the only thing the Duke of Clarence wished to see settled. Laid low at Windsor for a week, he pondered on what might have been had he suffered a heart attack and died. King George IV had stipulated in his will that his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, should serve as Deputy Regent for his son if the Duke of Clarence became indisposed. If Clarence died, Cambridge was to serve as regent for King George V until he reached the age of majority. But the Duke of Cambridge was still living in Hanover where he had served as Viceroy since 1816. It would take weeks, perhaps even months, for Cambridge to return to England and in that time, there would be a chasm of authority leaving the King without a regent. It was now essential that the Duke of Cambridge come home as soon as possible.

Lord Lansdowne agreed with the Duke of Clarence and asked him to recommend a successor who might be sent to Hanover to serve as the new Viceroy. Clarence was keen that it should be a position that remained in the family and that there should be no political interference in the appointment whatsoever. But among the Royal Family, there were only two possible candidates to succeed the Duke of Cambridge. The first was the Duke of Cumberland, now living in Berlin and still persona non grata in England following the disastrous consequences of his first-hand involvement in the political plots and schemes of 1828. Cumberland was an unthinkable choice and was immediately discounted. The only other candidate therefore was the Duke of Sussex, the sixth son and ninth child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Born in 1773, Sussex had lived a curious life so far, admonished by his family for his poor choice of female companions but equally regarded as reliable and capable of carrying out duties on behalf of the Crown.

By 1836, the Duke of Sussex was dividing his time equally between his posts as Chief Ranger and Keeper of St James’ and Hyde Parks and President of the Royal Society. He had also married for a second time in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. His second wife was Lady Cecilia Buggin (known as Lady Cecilia Underwood by Royal License), a widow 12 years younger than the Duke who was regarded as being of inferior rank and thus, an unsuitable bride for the King’s uncle. Sussex and Lady Cecilia had married just five years earlier in 1831 but had not sought permission to do so from the Duke of Clarence (acting on the King’s behalf). Their marriage was therefore considered to be legally void and Clarence refused to back down, barring Lady Cecilia from using the style and title of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex and forbidding his brother ever to bring her to court. Oddly, this had not soured relations between the two brothers and however resentful he might be, the Duke was content simply to live with Lady Cecilia as man and wife in their shared townhouse in Belgravia.

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Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex.

Whilst Sussex welcomed his appointment as Viceroy of Hanover, he also glimpsed the prospect of a solution to his problem. In a letter to his brother, Sussex wrote; “I accept and do not ask you to go against your conscience or your word but there must be some compromise which allows me to honour both my wife, whom I love so very dearly, and you, my dearest brother, for whom I have nothing but respect and admiration”. The pressing issue for the Duke was that he had no intention of leaving his wife behind in England and fully intended on taking her to Hanover with him. But as things stood, Lady Cecilia could not even be seated next to her husband at dinner because of her low rank. “I ask only that you give consideration to this most difficult situation”, Sussex implored the Duke of Clarence, “And to understand that I must ask this, though I know we agreed never to discuss the matter for the sake of our mutual love for one another”.

Clarence relented. If this was the price to pay to see a successor to the Duke of Cambridge in Hanover whom Clarence trusted and respected, it was a small one. Though the Duke of Sussex’s marriage would not be recognized, the Duke of Clarence was willing to issue Letters Patent in the King’s name creating Lady Cecilia as Duchess of Inverness in her own right. This would allow her to accompany the Duke of Sussex to at least some of his functions as Viceroy in Hanover, though she would never be accepted as a member of the Royal Family or allowed to attend state occasions in the future. Clarence wrote; “I offer this as a gesture of my personal regard for you but I must remind you that it will not change anything beyond the title and rank of the lady concerned, which I recognize is of great importance to you and which I know will reassure you as you prepare to leave England for Hanover. I wish you the best in this, dear brother of mine, and ask for God to bless and keep you in the days to come”. [3]

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Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.

With the Duke of Sussex preparing to leave England, the Duke of Cambridge readied himself for his return. For almost 20 years, Cambridge had lived at Herrenhausen and it had become a family home and much-loved residence. Fortunately, he had maintained a residence at Cambridge House in Piccadilly where the family stayed on their rare visits to London and he sent word that the house should be prepared for their arrival shortly before May. The Duchess of Cambridge was also sad to leave Hanover. She had enjoyed a life there that was closer to her childhood at Rumpenheim than she would ever know in England but her sadness was secondary to her delight that she would finally be reunited with her eldest son, Prince George. Prince George was separated from his parents in 1830 when he was sent to live in England so that he might be educated there, rather than continue his studies in Hanover. He lived at Windsor but saw little of his cousins when his studies were put in the hands of the Reverend J.R Wood, a canon of Worcester Cathedral. With his parents returning to England, Prince George was to join the family at Cambridge House with a Professor from King’s College, Cambridge engaged to tutor him privately at home.

At this time, the Duke of Clarence still believed his gallbladder attack was a sign of his impending death. “I shall not see the year out”, he told Major “Honest Billy” Smith, “My brother went the same way you know”. Indeed, so pessimistic was the Duke about his state of health that he asked the Prime Minister to be prepared for the Duke of Cambridge to take over his duties as Regent at any time. Lord Lansdowne asked whom the Duke would recommend as a Deputy to the Duke of Cambridge if the worst should happen. Clarence tried to reassure Lansdowne that such a recommendation wouldn’t be necessary; “My brother is in a good state of health and should he succeed me as regent, I trust he shall know what to do for the best”. There remained just over two years left before King George V would reach the age of majority. Whilst the Duke of Clarence did not expect to see his nephew celebrate his 18th birthday, he was certain the Duke of Cambridge would. Lansdowne was not placated however and spoke privately with the Duke of Cambridge on the matter. “My mother served on the Council [of Regency] during my father’s time”, Cambridge replied, “If I should need a deputy, then my sister Princess Augusta is more than qualified to serve alongside me”.

At Marlborough House, somebody else was being kept informed of developments concerning a future without the Duke of Clarence. Queen Louise relied entirely on reports from Baroness Pallenberg but as the Baroness was widely disliked at court, most of what she told the Dowager Queen was what she believed Louise would like to hear. As a result, the Queen thought the Duke of Clarence was “days from death” and though she had not forgiven her brother-in-law for his actions in removing her from Herrenhausen, he was undeniably a far better prospect as regent than the Duke of Clarence where Louise was concerned. Writing to her sister Marie in Neustrelitz, Louise predicted “a great change here, a turn of events in our favour which will finally right the wrong Clarence imposed upon me when my beloved husband died”.

As far as Louise was concerned, if Cambridge needed to appoint a deputy regent for her son, it certainly wouldn’t be Princess Augusta. It would be the Dowager Queen herself.



[1] Amazingly the floriography craze lasted for well over a century in England but was at it’s most popular in the 1830s and 1840s. It lasted until the 1880s when it disappeared, though some traces of it remain in the types of flowers considered suitable for wedding bouquets and funeral wreaths in the UK today.

[2] Half butterflies. In the OTL, William IV’s health was in decline by 1836 and he did have issues with his gallbladder (a family trait due to their mutual love of overindulging at the dinner table). I include this here because it means Clarence begins to look to the future, something essential to setting up the all-important year of 1837 for TTL.

[3] In the OTL, it was Queen Victoria who finally relented on the Inverness situation because she was fond of her uncle. King William IV was furious that his brother had not sought his permission to marry Cecilia Buggin but he didn’t punish the Duke of Sussex – indeed, he continued to offer him key appointments at court throughout his reign. Here I believe Clarence would be practical. He doesn’t go back on his word but he offers an olive branch. Again, half butterflies!
 
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Opo

Monthly Donor
Still loving this TL. Can’t wait to see what Louise gets up to if she thinks she’s got a shot at replacing Clarence as regent…
Thank you so much for reading!
I imagine Clarence and the King have prepared for that
The decision on whether Louise becomes Deputy Regent will rest with the Duke of Cambridge when the Duke of Clarence dies. But whether he'll be the pushover Louise expects him to be remains to be seen. ;)
 
The decision on whether Louise becomes Deputy Regent will rest with the Duke of Cambridge when the Duke of Clarence dies. But whether he'll be the pushover Louise expects him to be remains to be seen. ;)
Given how thoroughly unpopular she's made herself it's pretty clear that her reality maybe more fantasy than anything else.
 
Even if the Dowager were to succeed in being made Deputy Regent, Cambridge is Regent in Chief and Sussex is Viceory. OTL Cambridge didn't die until much later, so even if she succeeds, she's got minimal power and no chance of being Regent in Chief. That said, it could lead to a chain if events if she were that leads to Cambridge passing whilst Regent in Chief, and, given the earlier suspicious murder she was connected to, Louise being eyed up as suspicious, and Parliament shoving her aside by an Act of Parliament and implementing Augusta for a short period.

I could also see this setting up a more structured long term Regent Plan, that the Regent in Chief is the next person over 21 in the line of succession (unfortunately this would be Cumberland, yikes).

Or have I been watching too much Ye Olde Dynasty again.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
I could also see this setting up a more structured long term Regent Plan, that the Regent in Chief is the next person over 21 in the line of succession (unfortunately this would be Cumberland, yikes).

Or have I been watching too much Ye Olde Dynasty again.
x'D Not at all, I think this is a very logical step the British government would want to take after two long periods of regency, neither of which were without their upsets. This theme will be revisited in the future when we get to constitutional reforms that didn't take place in the OTL but without a doubt I think most politicians of the time in TTL would see the need for a different and more reliable system for the future.

As for the Duke of Cambridge, he won't shuffle off the mortal coil earlier than he did IRL but that doesn't mean to say Louise doesn't still have a few tricks up her sleeve for her last hurrah.
 
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