The Last Hanover: The Life and Reign of Queen Charlotte

Chapter 1
(This is my first timeline, so please, any criticism is welcome! Sorry for the rough start!)
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HRH Princess Charlotte of Wales and her husband, HSH Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, by William Thomas Fry, 1816 or 1817.

November 5, 1817, 12:03 a.m: After a heated debate with the other doctors and all but barging into the delivery room, Dr. John Sims, with the use of forceps, delivered of Princess Charlotte of Wales ‘a large and handsome boy, said to resemble the royal family’. After a minute described by the midwife as 'painfully long and silent', the child finally began to cry. After a few days of a worrisome fever, Princess Charlotte was reported hale and hearty and recovering well. She and her husband, Leopold, decided the child would be named George after his grandfather and great-grandfather the King [1].

In Italy, Charlotte’s mother Caroline rejoices at the birth of a grandson -even though it took her a letter from her daughter’s husband to find out [2]-, and is sure that her descendants will sit comfortably on the British throne in the foreseeable future. Upon this realization, she shows more common sense than she’s previously shown and breaks away from her servant and rumored lover, Bartolomeo Pergami [3], writing to him that ‘any scandal brought upon her would sit poorly upon her poor Lotte [Charlotte] and ruin her chances’.

Despite the birth of a son to his highly popular daughter and son-in-law, the Prince Regent [4] isn’t held in too high of a regard in his country. His spending on the Brighton Pavilion, the typhus epidemic in Scotland [5] and his affair with the married Marchioness of Hertford [6] have made him unpopular, and the birth of a grandson has people focusing more on that George’s reign than his, something the pompous Regent is not a fan of. The line of succession seems fairly assured now, but rumors are going out: the Prince Regent, realizing his daughter and grandson could not inherit Hanover [7], had sent out his youngest brother Adolphus [8] to find wives for his brothers, William and Edward Augustus [9], to produce sons and keep the crown within the family [10]. Reasonable, right? However, it’s being reported that the Prince Regent has also given Adolphus another mission: to find a new future Queen for England (aka a new wife for George).

As the year draws to the close, people are left looking forward to the christening of their new prince, and wondering what exactly his grandfather and namesake is planning to do...

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[1] I mean really, what other name was this kid going to have? Don’t worry, his middle names are at least a little interesting.

[2] OTL, Charlotte heard of her daughter’s death in childbirth from a passing courtier as George IV hadn’t bothered to send anyone to tell her about their child’s death, so it’s not too much of a stretch that he wouldn’t tell her about their grandchild being born. He’s sketchy in any timeline.

[3] After she was more or less forced into exile by her husband, Caroline moved to Italy where "she employed Bartolomeo Pergami as a servant. Pergami soon became Caroline's closest companion, and it was widely assumed that they were lovers". In 1817, she moved to "Villa Caprile near Pesaro. Pergami's mother, brother and daughter, but not his wife, joined Caroline's household"

[4] Future George IV

[5] The exact dates of the epidemic on 1817 are unknown, but it didn’t seem unreasonable for people to still be angry about it if it wasn’t still going on in November of that year.

[6] Isabella Anne Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford (1759 – 12 April 1834)

[7] Hanover was the Electorate and later kingdom held by the British kings from George I to William IV OTL; due to a male-only succession law, when Victoria succeeded to the throne, it passed to Ernest Augustus, The Duke of Cumberland. TTL, when Charlotte inherits, it will in theory pass to George IV’s next living male relative, his younger brother Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany.

[8] OTL Duke of Cambridge and grandfather to Queen Mary of Teck, wife of George VI.

[9] OTL William IV and The Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, respectively.

[10] Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany, and his wife Princess Friederike of Prussia had been married in 1791, but “after three years, it had become apparent that the Duke and Duchess of York would have no issue” (Mary Beacock Fryer, Arthur Bousfield & Garry Toffoli: Lives of the Princesses of Wales (1984)), so it’s reasonable to assume that William and Edward are gonna need to step up and take one for the weirdly anti-marriage House of Hanover team.
 
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Now this is the clinching moment, because Edward married Princess Victoria because of Charlotte's death, and also because Leopold insisted (being brother/sister), at least, IIRC. Wonder if it will still happen again in the same way. Its not an overall stretch to say that Edward married Princess Victoria can/will marry, but obviously I doubt you would have Victoria (of course Authors prerogative - BUTTERFLIES BE DAMNED...)
 
[7] Hanover was the Electorate and later kingdom held by the British kings from George I to William IV OTL; due to a male-only succession law, when Victoria succeeded to the throne, it passed to Ernest Augustus, The Duke of Cumberland. TTL, when Charlotte inherits, it will in theory pass to George IV’s next living male relative, his younger brother Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany.


Sorry to nitpick but York died in 1827, ie three years before Prinny. So it would be Clarence (OTL William IV) who becomes King of Hanover.
 
Sorry to nitpick but York died in 1827, ie three years before Prinny. So it would be Clarence (OTL William IV) who becomes King of Hanover.

This is true, but it's 1817 not 1827 yet. Don't worry, William gets Hanover and Frederick gets... well, he gets death after a mostly sad and unsatisfying life.
 
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Chapter 2
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Portrait of HRH William, the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews, and Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen by Sir David Wilkie

On February 10, 1818, the young Prince George was baptised by the Most Revered and Right Honorable Archbishop of Canterbury in the drawing room of Claremont House [1] and was given the names ‘George Leopold Frederick Alexander’ for his grandfather and great-grandfather, father, and two godfathers. His godparents were his grandfather the Prince Regent; HM Queen Charlotte [2]; Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia (represented by HRH The Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh); Alexander I of Russia [3] (represented by HRH The Duke of York); Augusta, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld [4]; and Queen Catherine Pavlovna of Wurttemberg [5] (represented by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh). Three days later in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, Leopold is officially made His Royal Highness Leopold, The Duke of Kendal [6], in -according to the Letters Patent- ‘honour of the birth of his son with the Princess Charlotte, beloved only daughter of the Prince Regent’. Likewise, his son is now HRH Prince George of Kendal by royal decree, even though it is noted that he is not made a prince of the United Kingdom at the time.

Everyone is pleased to see this continuation of what Queen Charlotte describes in a letter to her daughter Charlotte (Queen Dowager of Wurttemberg) [7] of ‘proper bloodlines’, as all of Europe has been shaken by the death of Charles XIII of Sweden five days before and the succession of his adoptive son Charles XIV, better known as Jean Bernadotte, a French general and former intimate of Napoleon [8].

Two days after the christening, Richard Rush, the new ambassador from the United States [9], is officially presented to the court, and comes bearing a gift for the Kendals: a set of ‘American’ foxhound puppies, descended from the breeding dogs of George Washington. Charlotte, in a moment of humor, names the dogs ‘Monroe’ and ‘Kortright’ (the surname of the United States president and the maiden name of his wife). The young couple immediately take to Mr. Rush, who declares in a letter to his president that he sees “our relations with our former masters improving greatly under the instillation of such a mistress”. In London, the Royal Coburg Hall [10] is raised in honor of the birth of Prince George in May, and it’s opening performance of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ is attended by Charlotte and Leopold to great acclaim; Leopold later takes full patronage of the theatre and calls it one of his ‘dearest and most close held projects’.

Announcing that he has done his duty to his brothers and found them wives, Adolphus, the Duke of Cambridge marries his second cousin Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel on May 8th in Kassel, followed by another ceremony on June 1st at Buckingham Palace.

Two months later, on July 11, the entire royal family, including the Kendals (as Charlotte, Leopold, and baby George are now known) is in attendance at the double wedding of William, the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews, to Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen and Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent and Strathearn, to Princess Viktoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in the drawing room of Kew Palace [11]. Only four years older than her new niece Charlotte, Adelheid makes a great impression on the family with her ‘amiable and easy going charm’; she even makes a scandal by warmly welcoming her husband’s nine illegitimate children into her home, a move that wins her full approval from Charlotte, who loves her Fitzclarence cousins well [12]. There is no need for friend-making between Charlotte and her new aunt Viktoria, however; as the sister of Charlotte’s husband Leopold, Charlotte has been writing to Viktoria for two years now and feels she knows her well. There are rumors that she and Leopold were the ones to set the widowed Viktoria up with Edward (they’re totally true) [13]. Charlotte is devastated when her new aunts leave with their husbands to set up homes in Hanover, where the living is cheaper, but resigns herself to the promise of visits and weekly letters.

Only a week after the wedding, there is another royal announcement: Her Royal Highness Charlotte, The Duchess of Kendal, is pregnant with her second child.
(It is noted at this time that the Prince still has his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, traveling through Germany with his wife to 'make new alliances', though noticed that he was ordered only to stop and visit with families with unmarried daughters).

In August, elections for Parliament are held; the Tories continue to hold power, despite losing a few seats, and Lord Liverpool keeps his government intact. The Prince Regent, a devoted Whig and known friend of Charles Fox [14], is devastated; Charlotte, a fellow devoted Whig, is upset to say the least, and Leopold, of a more conservative view [15], is cautiously optimistic. Within weeks of the election, it is noted that the Lord Liverpool has paid a visit to Claremont House and has been invited back for tea by Princess Charlotte. It is also noted that the Prince Regent is not happy about this little tête-à-tête, particularly as it is rumored that Ambassador Rush was also present as this meeting (he wasn’t). A few weeks after the election, the Prince Regent cautiously approaches Liverpool about saving money - by cutting the allowance of the Kendals and his wife Caroline. (Caroline hasn’t been involved in the elections or anything at this point, he just figures he might as well go all in). Jenkinson, noted for his ‘smooth dealings’ with the Prince Regent, keeps his answer short and sweet: we will not cut the allowance of the most popular people in the kingdom while they are expecting their second baby - who, by the way, is your grandchild. The Prince Regent slinks away to be comforted in the arms of the Marchioness of Hertford, and the Kendals continue on with their allowance.

Leopold becomes particularly popular by taking up the patronage of the Royal Humane Society, as well as beginning work to find work and homes for soldiers of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic wars, and funding care and residences for the soldiers too wounded to work. Likewise, Charlotte takes up charities devoted to war widows and orphans, and creates the Princess Charlotte School, devoted to educating young girls in embroidery and womens’ arts in order to help them find work to support themselves and their families. She later hires the top student of the first graduating class, a Miss Mary Gillray, to serve as governess to her children.

Shortly after, it is announced that Augusta, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be hiring a student from Princess Charlotte's school as a governess for her household as well; she is pregnant and everyone is ecstatic.

On October 20, Richard Rush helps create the Treaty of 1818, which establishes the boundary between the U.S. and British North America from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains, creating the Northwest Angle. The treaty marks the United Kingdom's last permanent major loss of territory in the United States and the United States' only permanent significant cession of North American territory to a foreign power; all in all, it’s a win for both parties [16]. Charlotte herself writes to congratulate Rush on his treaty, stating “I should so like with all my heart to know the Americans as friends and allies, as I admire their spirit and industriousness, and pray this treaty will give me an opportunity to do so in the future”. Jenkinson returns for tea at Claremont at least once a month, and privately reports to a friend that he finds Charlotte to be “the best of women” and her husband to be “entirely English in his outlook, and as good a man to be had as one could wish for”. His words about the Prince Regent -who continues to push cutting everyone’s allowances while sinking money into the pit that is Brighton Pavillion- are not fit for repetition.

Queen Charlotte, after a long and lately sad life, dies on November 17 [17] sitting in an armchair of her sitting room at Kew Palace, holding the hands of her son the Prince Regent and her grandson-in-law Prince Leopold (Prince Charlotte, so close to her due date, had been banned from travel). She is buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor two weeks later, to the mourning of the country; her husband, deaf, blind, and insane, is not informed of her death. Her jewels were specifically left to Princess Charlotte, though they were claimed by the Prince Regent for ‘safekeeping’ until his daughter was well enough to come and claim them.

In a sadly ironic twist, the Court Circular announces the pregnancies of HRH The Duchess of Clarence and St. Andrews and the HRH The Duchess of Kent at the same time as it announces the death of their long-serving queen.

On December 3 at 5:01 in the afternoon, Charlotte officially does her duty to the country -with a lot less drama and danger this time around- and delivers a second son, whom she and Leopold decide to name William for his great-uncle, the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews. The entire country rejoices: they now have a pretty, happy, charming heiress with a handsome, happy, charming husband and two handsome healthy little princes to secure the succession nicely (the Prince Regent is entirely forgotten in this equation by literally almost everyone, as the whole country is doing their best to forget him at this point). On the same day, Illinois is admitted to the union as the 21st state of the Union; Richard Rush is pleased to report to Charlotte and Leopold that the new capital city of the new state -in a sign of friendship- has been named ‘Williamsfield’ [18] by the populace, in honor of the prince sharing their ‘birthday’.

The year draws to the close with rumours that the Duke and Duchess of Kendal are building up a party of followers -led by Jenkinson and Rush- swirling through the court. They deny it, of course, but one cannot ignore the fact that many of the government are starting to support Princess Charlotte over her father, some secretly, some not so secretly. Everyone is waiting for Charlotte to come and claim her jewels from her father, who swears that yes, he still has them and they are totally safe, and why are you asking about it. Charlotte and Leopold’s popularity continues to grow, there's a new alliance with the United States, and there are expected to be another three royal babies by spring. It’s an interesting time for Britain.


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[1] Claremont was the country home in Surrey bought for Charlotte and Leopold by Parliament upon their marriage in 1816.

[2] Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of George III (who, being insane by this point, obviously isn’t going to be a godparent) and thus great-grandmother to baby George.

[3] A controversial choice for the time, but the Russians helped the British beat Napoleon not too long before, and Leopold made his contribution to the war by serving in the army of his dear buddy, you guessed it, Alexander I. He was also a quasi-relative as his younger brother Grand Duke Konstantin was married to Leopold’s sister Julianne (even though they’d been separated for seventeen years at this point).

[4] Mother of Leopold and the OTL grandmother / matchmaker of Victoria and Albert.

[5] Queen of Wurttemberg, conveniently sister to George’s godfather Alexander I, and the matchmaker of Charlotte and Leopold. Her husband was also a first cousin of Charlotte through their mothers, so she’s another quasi-relative.

[6] The OTL plan was to make Leopold the Duke of Kendal, but Charlotte died before this could happen. After the christening of his son and the future King of Great Britain seemed like a good time to get it done.

[7] Weirdly enough also the stepmother-in-law to Catherine Pavlovna, and godmother to Princess Charlotte (there clearly weren’t a lot of names to pick from in the Hanover family). After her husband’s death, Charlotte continued living in Wurttemberg (who could blame her) until her death in 1828.

[8] This is 100% OTL; Jean was elected to be the successor to the king in 1810 by the Riksdag of the Estates in Örebro. Fun fact, he was married to the first love of Napoleon, Desiree Clary. Pay attention to them, they’re coming back.

[9] One of President James Madison’s best friends, Rush had started out as the Comptroller of the Treasury, before becoming the youngest Attorney General to take office and acting as the Secretary of State while John Quincy Adams was in Europe. During his time as acting Secretary of State, Rush concluded the Rush-Bagot Convention, demilitarizing the Canadian boundary on the Great Lakes. He served as Minister to Britain for eight years OTL and was extremely popular for his “gentlemanly ways”.

[10] The Royal Coburg Hall was the original name of what has become the Old Vic Theatre OTL.

[11] They were set to be married at Windsor, but while traveling from London to Windsor, Queen Charlotte “decided to spend a few days at the Dutch House, but since she was ill with dropsy she was unable to continue her journey and the wedding occurred in the drawing room of the Dutch House”.

[12] OTL Adelheid did completely accept her husband’s nine illegitimate children, born of his longtime liaison with actress Dorothea Jordan (they had ten children but one son died in 1817). Charlotte’s relationship with them is unknown but she was said to have developed an affection for William’s oldest son, George Fitzclarence, before her marriage, so she clearly knew them fairly well and since she was a good person, I’m assuming she loved her cousins.

[13] OTL Leopold set up Viktoria and Edward, so it’s not too much of a stretch that he’d bring his beloved Charlotte into the scheme.

[14] Charles James Fox (January 24, 1749 - September 13, 1806), a Whig politician and his notedly notorious and scandalous private life. An intimate of the Prince Regent and the famous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Fox was famed for his ‘rakishness’, drinking, and gambling, and eventually married a former mistress of the Prince Regent.

[15] Leopold was know for being a ‘liberal conservative’, it’s reasonable to believe he would have been more of a fan of Jenkinson than Fox.

[16] This is the OTL Treaty of 1818, which did set the boundaries of British Canada and the northern United States at the 49th parallel north.

[17] At the time of her death, Charlotte was the longest serving British consort in history, with a reign of 57 years and 70 days. She is currently the second longest serving consort in history, after HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

[18] Obviously this is OTL Springfield, Illinois. It was only seven years old at this point, so I figured it wouldn’t be too much drama to change it; not to mention everyone is trying to play nice now and it’s a smart political move, given Charlotte’s stated affection for the States.
 
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As I understood it Charlotte was an enthusiastic Whig which irritated her father, given the fact he was acting under the authority of the crown, he could not be seen to be indulging his own preferences. Charlotte in turn saw this as a betrayal of their mutual appreciation of the Whigs - and given that she died before her father became King we can't be sure exactly how his ability to demonstrate his own preferences (and indeed, if her survival may in turn have influenced her father) when he became King might have influenced their relationship.
 
Are you sure she would have named any of her sons after George? She hated him.

Great timeline though. Leopold II won't exist and that alone is a win for humanity.
 
Are you sure she would have named any of her sons after George? She hated him.

Great timeline though. Leopold II won't exist and that alone is a win for humanity.

I think it was tradition more than anything. George IV wasn't on good terms with his parents, but he still named his daughter after his mother. And Frederick, Prince of Wales detested his father, George II, but still named his eldest son after him.
 
I'm curious to see how a surviving Princess Charlotte fairs as Queen of Britain compared to her niece Victoria. Also with Leopold as the Royal Consort I'm interested in seeing who you have becoming King of Belgium, provided it exists in this timeline. Either way this is a very nice start and I look forward to what you have in store for us going forward!
 
As I understood it Charlotte was an enthusiastic Whig which irritated her father, given the fact he was acting under the authority of the crown, he could not be seen to be indulging his own preferences. Charlotte in turn saw this as a betrayal of their mutual appreciation of the Whigs - and given that she died before her father became King we can't be sure exactly how his ability to demonstrate his own preferences (and indeed, if her survival may in turn have influenced her father) when he became King might have influenced their relationship.

Fixed it! Thank you for the catch!
 
I think it was tradition more than anything. George IV wasn't on good terms with his parents, but he still named his daughter after his mother. And Frederick, Prince of Wales detested his father, George II, but still named his eldest son after him.

Exactly my point. Besides, Leopold is canny enough to know his best bet is to use the most used family name from his wife's family (whether they like the guy or not) to send home the point that they are *British* heirs.
 
Brilliantly written and excellent understanding of the political and royal society.

The only thing I would say is that the foreign godparents like Alexander I of Russia would have an English representative similar to King George III, whose godparents were the King of Sweden(for whom Lord Baltimore stood proxy), his uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha (for whom Lord Carnarvon stood proxy) and his great-aunt the Queen of Prussia (for whom Lady Charlotte Edwin stood proxy).

Some people close to the couple to stand in proxy:
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Prince William Frederick and his wife Princess Mary of the United Kingdom (m. 1816)
 
In the case of Belgium, are we likely to see something similar to OTL happening here? I suspect that Leopold might suggest his elder brother Prince Ferdinand as the British candidate for the Belgian throne if Eugene de Beauhernais and the duc de Nemours both prove as problematic choices for the Belgians. And if they're still unwilling to even consider an Orange candidate. Ferdinand will by that point be married and, though personally Protestant, will come with a ready-made Catholic family to solidify the Belgian succession for the next generation.
 
Chapter 3
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Princess Charlotte of Wales by George Dawes
“1819 was really the beginning of the end, as far as the relationship between George IV and his daughter. The death of his mother, the birth of her children, their shared dislike of the Duke of Kent, the pressures they felt as the heirs to the throne; all these events that had left them ripe for reconciliation were soured by the end of the year, with such a chance never to return.” - Melanie Bailie, Charlotte I

1819 does not begin well for Charlotte. On January 9th, her dear friend, Catherine Pavlovna, the Queen of Wurttemberg, dies of erysipelas complicated by pneumonia, sending Charlotte and Leopold into mourning for the loss of “our most dear Katya, the one without whom none of our happiness could have occurred” as Charlotte wrote in her condolence letter to Catherine’s husband, Wilhelm. Charlotte also writes to her aunt, The Queen Dowager of Wurttemberg [1], asking her to send her news of her goddaughter, Catherine's youngest child, born only eight months before her mother's death [2], and sends a golden bracelet for her goddaughter that Catherine had given to Charlotte upon her marriage.

Two months later, on March 16th, 1819, Charlotte and Leopold’s second son, William, is baptised in the drawing room of Claremont House, again with the Most Revered and Right Honorable Archbishop of Canterbury officiating. He is given the names ‘William Francis George’, for his great-uncle and namesake, his paternal grandfather, and his maternal grandfather and great-grandfather. His godparents are HRH The Duke of Clarence (in Hanover, waiting for the birth of his first child with his wife, he is represented by The Earl Grey, a longtime friend of the couple); HH The Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld [3] (represented by the Lord Holland [4]); HRH The Dowager Duchess of Brunswick [5] (represented by the Marchioness of Cholmondeley [6]); HRH Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland [7]; Wilhelm of Wurttemberg [8] (represented by Baron Stockmar [9]); and HSH Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess Alexander of Wurttemberg [10] (represented by Lady Glenbervie [11]).

Ten days after the baptism, Augusta, the Duchess of Cambridge, delivers a son, named -what else?- George at Cambridge House in Germany. There is only one day of celebration in the royal family before the sad news comes from the Duke of Clarence: on March 27, his wife delivered of a daughter, named Charlotte, two months before her time after catching pleurisy. Their daughter only lived long enough to be hastily baptised before dying only hours after her birth. The family is devastated by loss, causing Augusta to write to her niece Charlotte that ‘My happiness in my Georgie is halved by the knowledge that he and your own boys have lost a dear, darling cousin in the Clarence girl... oh, poor Adelaide!’. The royal family does not go into mourning per the Regent’s orders (he is said to have famously stated “Twas only a girl, and God knows we have more than we need of those!” [12], but his biographers dispute the accuracy of this statement), but in defiance, cancels their social engagements and sends letters of condolence to Adelaide and William.

Charlotte, officially out of mourning for her friend and lost cousin, prepares to join in the season in May, and sends word to her father that she would like her grandmother's jewels to wear for a ball being given by a dear friend, The Marquess of Westminster [13]. George does not reply. Charlotte sends word again, trying to be reasonable - he is the Regent, after all, and that does entail some work and business. Her letter probably slipped through the cracks. Again, George does not reply. After a third somewhat strongly worded letter, George finally replies: the jewels are being cleaned and reset, his gift to his dear daughter, and are obviously unavailable, so sorry. Charlotte concedes -writing to her aunt / sister-in-law Viktoria that she “felt guilty for being so cross when he was doing me a kindness... we do not yet know how to be a father and daughter”- and resigns herself to wearing her old jewels.

To cheer her up and “adorn the brightest jewel of Britain", on May 2nd, their third wedding anniversary, Leopold gives Charlotte a stunning emerald and diamond parure consisting of a diamond and emerald diadem, emerald necklace, earrings and brooch [14]. Charlotte is delighted and wears the set proudly throughout the season, starting with the ball being given that very night in honour of their anniversary by the Prince Regent (George's relationship with Charlotte may not be the best but he’ll be damned if he misses an excuse to party). Later in life, out of all her jewels, these remain her favorite and in her will, she bequeaths the set to the Crown; it is still in use by the current Queen today.

Three weeks after their anniversary, Charlotte and Leopold are informed of the birth of their cousin-niece (gotta love those weird family connections), born on May 24th to the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Strathearn. In a dramatic turn of events, the little princess was born on English soil, and not Hanoverian, where her parents had been residing. Always a little too sure in his pride and claim to the throne, and never quite understanding that there were six people ahead of him in line to the throne or appropriate family interactions in general, Edward rushed his pregnant wife home from Hanover a month before her due date, in order for their child -whom he was certain would one day “sit upon the British throne”- to be born in England [15]. Edward’s comments to “look at his daughter well, for she would be Queen of England” (he’d been all but shouting them to anyone who would listen) [16] are not happily tolerated by any of the family members, particularly the Prince Regent and his daughter, the actual future Queen of England. As Charlotte tells Leopold, she holds “no anger or blame for our poor niece, who could not choose her father”, but she is none too pleased with her uncle’s “remarkable ability to forget the existence of the seven people, including himself, between the crown and this little girl”.

Only three days after the birth of the little Kent princess (still unnamed), another royal George enters the fray, born to the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland [17] in Berlin on May 27th. Though they are not generally any better liked than the Duke of Kent, the family is more warm to this birth, since Cumberland, it seems, can count better than his brother and has kept his mouth shut regarding the succession [18].

The Duke of Kent aside, the royal family seems to be playing well together as the Season reaches it’s close in June. On June 30th, Charlotte and Leopold attend the last ball of the season, the one promised to be the grandest of all, being given by Lord Holland, their dear friend. Baby William had begun to develop a fever in the days prior so the couple had officially cancelled, but the day of he was improving and the governess, Miss Mary Gillray -Gilly, as she had become known in the family- swore that she’d sit up with him, so they decided to go and simply surprise everyone. Wearing her new parure from Leopold, a radiant Charlotte swept into the ballroom at eight, to the delighted cheers of the company. Most of the company, at least. Directly across the room, a mature but comely woman went white with shock, her hands flying to her throat and chest in an attempt to cover her jewels. The woman was Elizabeth, Marchioness Conyngham, and the jewels were Queen Charlotte’s, given to Lady Conyngham by her lover, the Prince Regent [19]. The liaison was new - that night was her ‘announcement’ as it were, showcasing the prince’s favour by his mother’s diamonds when she was sure that his daughter -the rightful owner of said diamonds- was sure to be away. Charlotte noticed, of course, and went briefly red, then white. But those who were expecting a dramatic scene were both disappointed and impressed in their future queen’s restraint. Charlotte pointedly ignored the Marchioness, who fled at the first socially acceptable opportunity. Leopold was seen to be in furious conversation with Lord Holland at one point in a corner, but other than that, the evening passed without incident. All of society was waiting, however, to see if Charlotte would react.

She did not disappoint.

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[1] Wilhelm’s stepmother and thus Catherine’s stepmother-in-law. Since she stayed in Wurttemberg after her husband’s death, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch for this Charlotte to be close with and get along fairly well with her stepson, to the point where she can step in with his kids.

[2] HRH Princess Sophie of Wurttemberg, born June 17, 1818. She’s gonna be a big deal in this timeline, so remember her.

[3] Ernst, The Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and later the first Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (January 2, 1784 – January 29, 1844), the oldest brother of Leopold and famous OTL as the father of Albert, The Prince Consort.

[4] Henry Vassall-Fox, Lord Holland. The brother of Charles Fox, the dear friend of Charlotte, and a major figure in Whig politics in the early 19th century, and OTL another dear friend of Charlotte and Leopold.

[5] Born HRH Princess Louise of Orange-Nassau, she was a great-granddaughter of George II through her grandmother Anne, the Princess Royal. She was the oldest sister of Wilhelm I of the Netherlands and the widow of Charlotte’s uncle Karl, the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and lived in London for part of her widowhood.

[6] A Lady of the Bedchamber to Charlotte’s mother, Caroline

[7] The sixth child and second daughter of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, she never publicly married but was believed to have been secretly married to Sir Brent Spencer, an equerry of the Prince Regent.

[8] The widower of Catherine Pavlovna and the King of Wurttemberg, he was also the stepson of Charlotte’s aunt, the Princess Royal.

[9] The private secretary, physician, comptroller of the household, and political advisor of Leopold; known OTL as an advisor and unofficial marital counselor to Victoria and Albert.

[10] The second eldest sister of Leopold, she was married to Duke Alexander of Wurttemberg, the maternal uncle of Wilhelm I of Wurttemberg, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.

[11] Catherine Douglas; the ‘Mistress of the Robes’ to Charlotte’s mother Caroline, even though she remained in London while Caroline was living in exile.

[12] OTL George IV never made any such comment, but it seems well within his character for there to be a historical did-he-or-didn’t-he over him making one like this.

[13] Richard Grosvenor, the 2nd Marquess of Westminster and father to the first Duke of Westminster; a Whig politician and the richest man of the time. At his death, his estate was valued at under £800,000 (equivalent to £67,820,000 as of 2016).

[14] OTL this set was given to Queen Victoria by Albert in 1845

[15] This happened OTL. Edward forced his then seven months pregnant wife to endure rough travel from Hanover to Dover, where they arrived on April 23, and then onto Kensington Palace before Victoria’s birth.

[16] This is also OTL. Not a bright guy, Edward.

[17] Oh, they are so much drama, it’s wonderful. Ernest Augustus, The Duke of Cumberland, was without a doubt one of the most hated people of the time. His wife, Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, probably tied with him for that spot, at least in the family. She had been married twice before and widowed twice - her second widowhood struck everyone as very convenient, since she’d been looking for divorce her husband for her lover Cumberland when he very graciously up and died one night out of the blue. Even though she was a niece of Queen Charlotte, Ernest’s mother, the Queen hated her and was convinced she poisoned her husband (it doesn’t help Freddie’s case that she also jilted Ernest’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, back in the day). Freddie came to the marriage with six children from her previous two, and she and Ernest had had a stillborn daughter in 1817 and a miscarriage in 1818 before the birth of their only surviving child, George.

[18] TTL, as of now, George Cumberland has a snowball’s chance in hell at the British throne and his dad knows it. He does, however, have a fighting chance at the males-only Hanover throne, considering he and his dad come right after the Duke of York (no children), the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews (currently no legitimate children), and the Duke of Kent (currently only one daughter).

[19] OTL their relationship officially began in 1820, but she was believed to be the Prince Regent’s lover by 1819, so I’m just bumping up the announcement of their ‘love’ by a few months. This woman was wild, by the way. The daughter of a banking mogul, she was considered vulgar, shrewd, greedy, and unsuited to aristocratic society; she was also a lover of the future Emperor Nicholas I of Russia before her liaison with George.
 
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