Europe’s Hope and Britain’s Glory An Alternate History of the Reign of Queen Charlotte of Great Britain [FONT="] [/FONT] [FONT="] Chapter I. A Good Tempered Man with Good Sense[/FONT] “I am told, God knows how truly, that when declared to the States-General, it did not please. The Dutch are naturally very jealous, and they imagined it was a trial to annex Holland and her commerce to this country forever. I will tell you, too, that I believe the subject of my quitting this country will be made a cause of much debate as soon as Parliament meets. My own family, and the head of it, too is very desirous I should leave it, which I cannot say I am, as I feel naturally excessively attached to this country I was born and educated in. […] A decided answer from the P. of P would be a blessing really to me, with this uncertainty preying on my health and spirits. He really is the best thing when compared to the P. of Orange. A good tempered man with good sense, he is my choice in this matter. No arguments, no threats, shall ever bend me to marry that detestable Dutchman.” — Letter from Princess Charlotte of Wales to her friend and companion, Miss Knight It was 1814 when Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child of the Prince Regent George and his estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick, became the center of marital drama that seemingly emulated that of her own parent’s troubled marriage that had been arranged nearly twenty years before. The Prince Regent and his advisors had begun to seek out a match for the princess’ hand with the Napoleonic Wars coming to an end and all had come to the agreement that only one man was a suitable match for the young woman who would someday be the future Queen of Great Britain—the Prince of Orange, Willem whose father Willem VI was recently dubbed Sovereign Prince of the United Netherlands by the Eight Articles of London, a secret protocol between the Great Britain, Prussia, Austria, and Russia which had awarded the former Austrian Netherlands as well the former territories of the Dutch Republic to the House of Orange-Nassau, to create a buffer state on France’s border. It was natural in this situation that England would seek to bind the Netherlands close to them through the ties of marriage. The benefits, at least in the mind of the Prince Regent, far outweighed what his daughter, a silly girl thought. So began the courtship. The Prince of Orange had made a poor showing at a dinner party for the Prince Regent’s birthday when he became intoxicated. Charlotte was reluctant to her marriage to a foreigner, declaring that “I cannot quit this country, as Queen of England still less.” Despite the great secrecy over the match, it immediately leaked to the press. Papers began to compare Charlotte martial options, declaring if she would marry “the Orange or the Cheese,” the cheese referring to Prince William of Gloucester, popularly known as Silly Billy who was Charlotte’s second cousin and match widely preferred to that of the Prince of Orange; these rumors only incensed the Prince Regent, who believed his daughter was really planning to marry the Duke of Gloucester. Indeed, the pair were abused verbally by her father, causing Charlotte to declare, “He spoke as if he had the most improper ideas of my inclinations. I see that he is compleatly [sic] poisoned against me, and that he will never come round [to the idea of my marriage to someone else].” It was even stated by the Princess that if she did marry Orange, he would have to visit his frogs alone. The stress of this grave situation Princess Charlotte even sought advice from Earl Grey, a Whig peer who advised that she play for time. The Prince Regent set up a second meeting in December where Charlotte met the Prince of Orange; it was during this meeting that Prince George asked for her daughter’s answer regarding the match. She merely stated that she liked what she had seen so far, which her father took as an acceptance of the match. The Prince of Orange was immediately informed, and thus began Charlotte’s engagement to that detestable Dutchman. The marriage negotiations were severely prolonged due to the demands of Charlotte, who insisted that she should never be required to leave Britain against her own will. The English and Dutch diplomats on both sides saw no desire to see Britain and Holland united; even though it had been nearly a century before, both sides clearly remembered the reign of William III. The Dutch had no desire to see an absentee king who would merely use them for funds for his palaces in Britain and troops in his wars. Likewise, the British had no desire to be entangled into European affairs. Should France become resurgent and once more march across Belgium, Britain had no desire to be dragged into another messy war simply because their sovereign had been wedded in bed and throne to the future king of the Netherlands. An agreement was cleverly designed that the eldest son of the couple should inherit Britain whilst their second would inherit the Netherlands. Should there be only one son, then the Netherlands would pass to the German branch of the House of Nassau. Yet the match was already doomed. During the visit of the Allied Sovereign’s to Britain, Charlotte became besotted with Prince Friedrich of Prussia, an attachment which would ultimately shape the future of the British monarchy. Friedrich was the son of a minor Prussian Prince and the nephew of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. Friedrich was the perfect match for Charlotte in her mind—he was Royal, Protestant, and best of all, a minor Prince, able to leave his homeland and reside in Britain. The future Queen thought herself finally saved; and yet although he was impressed by Charlotte and even made a good impression on the Prince Regent, he was not yet considered a competitor for Charlotte’s hands. What would he bring into the match? He could not compete with the Prince of Orange, future sovereign of the United Netherlands; not to mention the ties of commerce that could be forged between the Low Countries. Friedrich was a sensible man, but the Prince of Wales was not stuck on sensible. Not yet at least. Charlotte’s mind was only filled for her Prussian. Despite a chance meeting with Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a Russian Cavalry Lieutenant, Charlotte remained attached to Prince Friedrich. He was given numerous invitations to call upon her, and Friedrich took his chance, receiving an interview with the princess who was chaperoned by the Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia. It was this private meeting which cemented Charlotte’s feelings. “I shall have him or no one else.” Friedrich found himself greatly impressed by Charlotte, both her wit and her intelligence. In writing to her father, he apologized at the length of their meeting but asked if he might be able to call upon her in the future. Likewise, he wrote to his uncle, the King of Prussia: “She is such a charming and amiable girl; I can only hope to see her as much as I can whilst I am here.” Charlotte and Friedrich’s time together continued. It was not directly encouraged by the Prince Regent, who felt embarrassed that Charlotte was snubbing her supposed fiancé. At the Queen’s Court on June 8th, Charlotte danced with Friedrich all night, having danced only once with the Prince of Orange; it was the Prussian whom she invited to the Ascot and naval review as well before his departure. By time the visit of the sovereign’s had ended, Charlotte was very clearly in love with Friedrich, or at least greatly charmed by him. Friedrich felt likewise, and the public took notice. The outcry against the Dutch match, incensed at the very beginning, only became more terrible when the public saw that Charlotte had found her choice—a choice that was not the Prince of Orange. This very public campaign was championed by the Princess of Wales, Caroline of Brunswick. She was estranged from her husband yet greatly opposed to the match. By July, Charlotte could not go out without great crowds urging her to not marry the Prince of Orange and to not abandon her mother. It was at this time that Charlotte informed her intended fiancé, Willem that if they wed her mother would have to be welcomed into their home. This was an impossible suggestion that Willem could not abide by and resulted in the marriage negotiations coming to an end. Despite the fine details agreed upon and proper engagement settled, Charlotte had no cares. She did not want Willem, she wanted Friedrich. Thus she broke the engagement off. Her father’s response was harsh, with Charlotte being ordered to remain at Warwick House until she accommodated herself to her match with the Dutch Prince. Communications were severed and she was ordered not to contact Prince Friedrich. So began a battle of wits between father and daughter. With it, would be settled the future of Charlotte’s marriage, Europe’s hope, and Britain’s glory.  The POD. Essentially, Charlotte remains more besotted with Prince Frederick and never considers Prince Leopold. They have a friendly meeting but that is that.