The Last Hanover: The Life and Reign of Queen Charlotte

How long until we get "Conroy is trying to kill the Charlotte and the Kendal boys to get Victoria on the throne" rumors to mirror the "Cumberland is trying to kill Victoria" rumors IOTL.
 
How long until we get "Conroy is trying to kill the Charlotte and the Kendal boys to get Victoria on the throne" rumors to mirror the "Cumberland is trying to kill Victoria" rumors IOTL.
Oh, we certainly get those rumors, but Conroy has other tricks up his sleeve, never fear!
 
Tidbit 1: Scene from Lotte & Leo
Not a proper post, and I'm sorry for that - but to hold you all over while you're waiting, we're gonna preview some of the drama about to go down (as made in a TTL movie); I've seen other timelines with little mid-story posts like this, loved them, and wanted to try one!


Scene from the 2016 film Lotte & Leo starring Jessica Chastain (Charlotte, The Duchess of Kendal), Colin Farrell (Leopold, The Duke of Kendal), Helena Bonham Carter (Viktoria, Dowager Duchess of Kent), Mark Sheppard (Sir John Conroy), among others.


[Scene opens on Viktoria, Dowager Duchess of Kent, in the morning room of Claremont. She is sitting alone, dressed in black, and embroidering. The door opens and Sir John Conroy enters - she does not look up and continues her sewing. Her expression is strained.]

[After a pause]


Conroy: You ignore me now, then?

Viktoria: You should not speak to me thus. They could hear.

Conroy: And what shall they hear, if I am only speaking to myself, as certain ladies no longer deign to respond to me? [He goes to the fireplace near where Viktoria is sitting and turns, his back to her, as he looks at the trinkets on the mantle]

Viktoria: [frustrated - they’ve obviously had this conversation before] She is my sister in law, the niece of my dead husband, and the future Queen of -

Conroy: The future Queen of Nothing! [He slams his fist on the mantle -Viktoria jumps- and turns to face Viktoria]. You know she will never be queen.

Viktoria: [becoming distressed, starts to put embroidery down] You should not say such things, John! It is not safe! You will damn me, and my daughter and my -

Conroy: [coming to her, going on his knees before her and grabbing her hands] Have I not always protected you, Marie? Have I not always kept you safe? Did I not defend you from Edward time and again?

Viktoria: [teary, distressed] Yes, of course, but John -

Conroy: This, all of this, is for you and Victoria, Marie. It will keep you safe, safer than that girl and your brother ever could. You will be the mother of the ruler of Great Britain [quick glance at her abdomen], and no one will ever touch you again.

Viktoria: But John, poor Lotte and Leo have been so kind -

John: It is easy for liars to be kind to those who help further their lies. I have saved us, Marie, by removing them. They will be fine - Lotte and her children will be a princess and princes of Saxe-Coburg; they will not hurt for having lost Britain. The King will not harm them, only remove them from the line of succession - as he should. I have it within my power to place us where no one can ever touch us. The King will be generous, and the next ruler - dependant on your children as his heirs - even more so. Everything is before us. [bowing his head and kissing her fingers] Do not doubt me now.

Viktoria: [sighing, eyes closed, she is resigned to her fate] Never.

[There is a sound in the hallway - John, moving swiftly stands just in time for Charlotte, The Duchess of Kendal to open the door. Her eyebrow raises as she takes in the scene - Conroy breathing hard from his passionate speech, Viktoria flushed and teary and refusing to make eye contact. John and Charlotte stare at each other for a moment, silently taking a measure of each other].

Charlotte: Conroy.

Conroy: My lady [bows to Viktoria and goes to leave through the door when he catches Charlotte’s eye again - there is another pause before he lowers his head in a half semblance of a bow before passing her in the doorway and leaving the room].

[Charlotte is silent as she walks to the mantle, where several trinkets and knick-knacks have been knocked down from Sir John’s earlier fist slam. Obviously nervous, Viktoria fidgets, clearly trying to think of something to say.]

Viktoria: Lotte, I -

Charlotte: [quietly, still facing away] Have a care, Victoire.

Viktoria: I - I beg your pardon?

Charlotte: [turning back to face Viktoria, holding a miniature of Viktoria and her daughter in her hands, staring down at it] I do not like your Conroy, Victoire. He reminds me of my father: full of lies dressed as promises. He’ll only disappoint you [pause as Charlotte lifts her eyes to meet Viktoria’s] if he doesn’t damn you. [Viktoria blanches, as it becomes obvious that Charlotte heard at least a portion of the previous conversation.] Spiele nicht mit Feuer - do not play with fire, my dear. It's a game you never win.

Viktoria: [becoming flustered and angry] Sir John is a dear, dear friend - I trust him implicitly. He is nothing but loyal to us. Is my trust no longer good enough for you, sister?

[The two women stare at each other for a moment, before Charlotte turns back to place the miniature of Viktoria and her daughter back on the mantle]

Charlotte: I love you, Victoire, as my sister and my aunt by marriage. That bond is a strong one. [She looks over her shoulder at Viktoria, her face unreadable] But if you try to touch my blood, sister, I’ll burn you both to the ground. [Charlotte leaves the room, slamming the door slightly behind her. In the silent room, Viktoria lowers her face into her hands, shaking].

[End scene]​

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*Viktoria, Duchess of Kent, was born HSH Princess Marie Luise Viktoria - which is why Conroy is calling her 'Marie' in the scene

Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit! (Not giving anything away and saying it is what officially happened, but it is how the person who wrote this movie TTL saw it going down!)
 
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Not a proper post, and I'm sorry for that - but to hold you all over while you're waiting, we're gonna preview some of the drama about to go down (as made in a TTL movie); I've seen other timelines with little mid-story posts like this, loved them, and wanted to try one!


Scene from the 2016 film Lotte & Leo starring Jessica Chastain (Charlotte, The Duchess of Kendal), Colin Farrell (Leopold, The Duke of Kendal), Helena Bonham Carter (Viktoria, Dowager Duchess of Kent), Mark Sheppard (Sir John Conroy), among others.


[Scene opens on Viktoria, Dowager Duchess of Kent, in the morning room of Claremont. She is sitting alone, dressed in black, and embroidering. The door opens and Sir John Conroy enters - she does not look up and continues her sewing. Her expression is strained.]

[After a pause]


Conroy: You ignore me now, then?

Viktoria: You should not speak to me thus. They could hear.

Conroy: And what shall they hear, if I am only speaking to myself, as certain ladies no longer deign to respond to me? [He goes to the fireplace near where Viktoria is sitting and turns, his back to her, as he looks at the trinkets on the mantle]

Viktoria: [frustrated - they’ve obviously had this conversation before] She is my sister in law, the niece of my dead husband, and the future Queen of -

Conroy: The future Queen of Nothing! [He slams his fist on the mantle -Viktoria jumps- and turns to face Viktoria]. You know she will never be queen.

Viktoria: [becoming distressed, starts to put embroidery down] You should not say such things, John! It is not safe! You will damn me, and my daughter and my -

Conroy: [coming to her, going on his knees before her and grabbing her hands] Have I not always protected you, Marie? Have I not always kept you safe? Did I not defend you from Edward time and again?

Viktoria: [teary, distressed] Yes, of course, but John -

Conroy: This, all of this, is for you and Victoria, Marie. It will keep you safe, safer than that girl and your brother ever could. You will be the mother of the ruler of Great Britain [quick glance at her abdomen], and no one will ever touch you again.

Viktoria: But John, poor Lotte and Leo have been so kind -

John: It is easy for liars to be kind to those who help further their lies. I have saved us, Marie, by removing them. They will be fine - Lotte and her children will be a princess and princes of Saxe-Coburg; they will not hurt for having lost Britain. The King will not harm them, only remove them from the line of succession - as he should. I have it within my power to place us where no one can ever touch us. The King will be generous, and the next ruler - dependant on your children as his heirs - even more so. Everything is before us. [bowing his head and kissing her fingers] Do not doubt me now.

Viktoria: [sighing, eyes closed, she is resigned to her fate] Never.

[There is a sound in the hallway - John, moving swiftly stands just in time for Charlotte, The Duchess of Kendal to open the door. Her eyebrow raises as she takes in the scene - Conroy breathing hard from his passionate speech, Viktoria flushed and teary and refusing to make eye contact. John and Charlotte stare at each other for a moment, silently taking a measure of each other].

Charlotte: Conroy.

Conroy: My lady [bows to Viktoria and goes to leave through the door when he catches Charlotte’s eye again - there is another pause before he lowers his head in a half semblance of a bow before passing her in the doorway and leaving the room].

[Charlotte is silent as she walks to the mantle, where several trinkets and knick-knacks have been knocked down from Sir John’s earlier fist slam. Obviously nervous, Viktoria fidgets, clearly trying to think of something to say.]

Viktoria: Lotte, I -

Charlotte: [quietly, still facing away] Have a care, Victoire.

Viktoria: I - I beg your pardon?

Charlotte: [turning back to face Viktoria, holding a miniature of Viktoria and her daughter in her hands, staring down at it] I do not like your Conroy, Victoire. He reminds me of my father: full of lies dressed as promises. He’ll only disappoint you [pause as Charlotte lifts her eyes to meet Viktoria’s] if he doesn’t damn you. [Viktoria blanches, as it becomes obvious that Charlotte heard at least a portion of the previous conversation.] Spiele nicht mit Feuer - do not play with fire, my dear. It's a game you never win.

Viktoria: [becoming flustered and angry] Sir John is a dear, dear friend - I trust him implicitly. He is nothing but loyal to us. Is my trust no longer good enough for you, sister?

[The two women stare at each other for a moment, before Charlotte turns back to place the miniature of Viktoria and her daughter back on the mantle]

Charlotte: I love you, Victoire, as my sister and my aunt by marriage. That bond is a strong one. [She looks over her shoulder at Viktoria, her face unreadable] But if you try to touch my blood, sister, I’ll burn you both to the ground. [Charlotte leaves the room, slamming the door slightly behind her. In the silent room, Viktoria lowers her face into her hands, shaking].

[End scene]​

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*Viktoria, Duchess of Kent, was born HSH Princess Marie Luise Viktoria - which is why Conroy is calling her 'Marie' in the scene

Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit! (Not giving anything away and saying it is what officially happened, but it is how the person who wrote this movie TTL saw it going down!)
A great little update! So my theory, based on Conroy talking about Viktoria's children and the glance at the abdomen, is that Viktoria is pregnant, with a child that may or may not be the late Duke's and Conroy is scheming to put Victoria, or her yet to be born sibling, on the throne.

Although if posthumous baby Kent is a boy, likely named either George in the family tradition of uninventive names or Edward after his late "father" he stands a decent chance of becoming King of Hanover provided Adelaide has her OTL issues with producing healthy children. Either way, this likely ends poorly for Conroy and possibly Viktoria, and if the latter becomes involved in this scheme I expect Leopold and Charlotte to take custody of Victoria and her baby sibling ASAP (although with a playmate maybe this Victoria is less needy than her OTL counterpart?)
 
Chapter 6
“It is so sad to be here, but when one does not consider the most unfortunate circumstances that brought us here, life at Claremont is simply delightful. Lotte and Leo are simply too, too wonderful for words - we all live so happily and easily amongst each other, it is as if we have all made a contract to allow only peace and goodness into these darling halls. The children are divine - little Geo is fast making friends with Drina, which does so warm my heart, as I knew it was Edward’s fondest wish and remains ours. Little Will -named for your own darling husband- much resembles Lotte in looks and personality and I shall dare say will make a very fine second son. Even in March, usually so beastly here in England, is lovely here in the fields and meadows of Claremont; after breakfast and tea, we often take walks around the gardens, which have become Lotte’s project and look very fine...”

Letter from the Dowager Duchess of Kent to the Duchess of Clarence and St. Andrews,

March 9, 1820



“It is very crowded at Claremont since the Kents have arrived. One barely has room to think.”

Letter from the Duchess of Kendal to the Duchess of Clarence and St. Andrews,

March 10, 1820

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March 1820 opens rather... crowdedly for the Kendals of Claremont. The Duchess of Kent has moved in and is, as Mary Gillray (Charlotte and Leopold’s adored nanny) comments, “very hard to miss”. She has brought with her the Princess Victoria (supposedly the future queen consort, a reference that still makes Charlotte grind her teeth), Princess Feodore of Leiningen [1], Lady Flora Hastings [2], Baroness Luise Lezhen [3], Sir John Conroy, and other servants - not wanting to “take up all the help at Claremont”. Just how long she will be staying is still a question. Every time someone broaches the subject, she starts crying about how kind they are to let her, a poor friendless widow in a strange country, seek shelter with them. It’s a good act, but it’s slowly wearing on everyone’s nerves. The household quickly becomes divided down a very firm line: John Conroy is either the worst human being to ever exist and should, in Charlotte’s words, “be horsewhipped until some sense appears or he disappears - whichever occurs first”, or is the greatest and kindest and most wonderful human being in the world and the only true friend to the Dowager Duchess of Kent and her daughter.

(Shockingly, the Dowager Duchess of Kent is the only one on the latter team. )

Aside from the division between Team Horsewhipping and Team St. John, the month of March passes fairly quietly at Claremont. Forbidden by her doctors from any exercise more vigorous than a slow walk and forbidden by Leopold and her own common sense from going into London, Charlotte takes to the gardens: in a private move of defiance, she plants daffodils all over the estate, which still grow there today [4].

In April, things start to pick up -and not in the way Charlotte wanted them to-: on the second day of April, a Proclamation signed by “order of the Committee of Organisation for forming a Provisional Government” appears in Glasgow, Scotland, calling for a worker’s strike. The next day, the strike begins with an estimated 60,000 people stopping work. Over the next week, the leaders of the committee attempt to claim Carron Ironworks and take the weapons inside, amidst brief skirmishes with British troops sent to put down the rebellion. By the eleventh day of April, the rebellion is over, the malcontents imprisoned, and a list of Killed & Wounded list the casualties as “18 casualties, including an 8 year old boy, and a 65 year old woman. At this time 6 were noted as dead”. While this doesn’t directly affect the Kendals of Claremont, this does strike a blow at Charlotte’s father and give Charlotte yet another look at the effects of the economic depressions caused by the Napoleonic wars. Unable to do much, she makes a vow to only wear and use fabrics made in Britain by British subjects - she does away with her Brussels lace and French silk for the rest of her life, and will only wear gowns made from British fabrics. She starts by placing a massive fabric order in Glasgow three weeks after the strike (it does not win her many points with her father’s government but the Glaswegians appreciate it and develop a fondness for the Duchess.

On April 15th, Wilhelm, The King of Wurttemberg (and widower of Charlotte’s dear friend Katya [5]) marries for a third time to his cousin, Princess Pauline of Wurttemberg. Charlotte is not happy about this but understands the man needs a son - and that being nasty to Pauline will most likely limit her contact with her goddaughter Sophie - and sends a gift.

On the 25th, a beginning is announced as the ‘Radical War’ in Scotland is ending: the Dowager Duchess of Kent is pregnant and due in late October. She is overjoyed -weepily so- and announces that she wants a boy, to “take up the mantle of his dear, honorable father and serve her and his beloved Britain”. Leopold is happy about the idea of a nephew or niece (can’t have too many Coburgs, after all) and anything that makes his sister happy makes him happy. Charlotte, who can count [6], merely raises a brow as she wishes Viktoria congratulations on her pregnancy. Keeping the peace, Charlotte does not respond to Viktoria’s comments that they will have two children so close together and guaranteed to be friends.

(Viktoria has stopped mentioning the possibility of Drina marrying George, however, and that is starting to concern Charlotte because if her shooting down that idea for several months didn’t do it, she is not sure she likes whatever actually managed it).

On the last day of April, Charlotte travels alone to London per her father’s commands to watch the deaths of the Cato Street conspirators - “to show that you are and hope to remain our loyal and loving daughter” as George IV’s barely-on-the-edge-of-civil letter states. On May 1st, the pregnant Charlotte stands in an open window in Newgate prison situated directly behind the platform erected for the executions. She famously refuses a chair, remarking that “she is not yet such a tyrant that [she] can sit whilst men die”. Arthur Thistlewood is the first man to come up to die. When asked for his final words, he turns back to face Charlotte and shouts out “LONG LIVE THE PRINCESS OF WALES”. Charlotte looks at the man -the warden of Newgate reports that he would rather face the axe himself than have such a look directed at him- shouts back in a strong voice “LONG LIVE THE KING”.

This exchange is repeated by the next four of the condemned, with Charlotte answering the same every time. At the end of the day, she is reported as being “pale but maintaining her dignity” and she returns home to Claremont. In his diary that day, Leopold simply writes “My poor, poor Lotte. Long live the Princess of Wales.”

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[1] Viktoria’s daughter from her first marriage. OTL married the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and was the grandmother of Auguste Viktoria, the last German Empress.

[2] Lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Duchess of Kent, made famous in 1839 when her ‘scandalous pregnancy’ (reported to be caused by an affair with Sir John Conroy) turned out to be a cancerous growth in her abdomen. As Queen Victoria had helped spread the pregnancy rumors, when the real cause of Flora’s death became known, it cost her popularity points.

[3] OTL Queen Victoria’s governess and later domestic adversary of Prince Albert.

[4] In case you didn’t know, daffodils are the national flower of Wales. (Charlotte definitely knows).

[5] Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna of Russia, who introduced Charlotte and Leopold

[6] To calculate due dates, medical professionals have this thing called Naegele’s rule, where in order to calculate a due date, you count back three months and add seven days from the date of conception. For Viktoria to be due in October, she had to have conceived in late January (Officially she is due October 25, which means she in theory conceived on January 18). Charlotte, who can count, realizes this. I don’t know about many of you, but most people with pneumonia (like the Duke of Kent in late January of 1820), are not down to make babies.
 
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Great update as always. While another girl likely won't raise a fuss, I wonder if a possible Duke of Kent might cause some people *cough* the Cumberlands *cough* to raise a fuss about whether the late Duke really had the time and energy to secure the succession while he was dying of pneumonia, as absent a Clarence Prince it would be the baby Duke (probably called Edward to proclaim to the world that this is the Duke of Kent's baby, for sure) who is the heir of Hanover over George of Cumberland.

Given the cramped space at Claremont (I'm assuming Charlotte's survival makes Parliament even less likely to support the Kents, which they didn't even want to do with Victoria as her generation's then heiress) that George IV isn't even given the Kents their OTL accommodations at KP, probably because here he has to spend money on the Kendals, and Brighton won't finance itself. Maybe our good old buddy Conroy can parlay his services for grace and favor home for the Duchess and her kids, after all, IOTL the move proved quite lucrative for him (mainly because Victoria's spinster aunt Sophia, the other member of the John Conroy fan club, became enthralled with Conroy and spent ridiculous amounts of money on him from her civil list payments).
 
A fascinating timeline, and something I admit I've wondered from time to time myself! I liked how you worked in the Peterloo Massacre. I'll be interested to see whether the Six Acts come up at all (not sure how relevant they are to Charlotte's story, and I'm mostly interested because I wrote about this period and the Six Acts years ago when I did my History A-Level personal study!).

I look forward to seeing what other ripples there are from Charlotte's survival in this timeline, especially with two healthy sons, and Leopold being politically-minded, as well as George IV's attempts to get his divorce through Parliament - and the effects of Caroline's death, which may be relatively soon, if I remember correctly. And the implications of Viktoria's pregnancy will be very interesting indeed.

(One little observation - you refer to Prime Minister Jenkinson a few times in earlier posts. I'm fairly sure he would only have been referred to as Liverpool or Lord Liverpool, rather than by his family name. The other interesting thing is, depending on whether you're writing from a historical or contemporary perspective, he might not have been called 'Prime Minister.' At this stage it was something of a nickname for whoever led government - which was usually the First Lord of the Treasury. A lot of people didn't like the term prime minister, so I thought that might be a useful thing to know, especially as, depending on the views of the person in question, it can be used sneeringly.)
 
A fascinating timeline, and something I admit I've wondered from time to time myself! I liked how you worked in the Peterloo Massacre. I'll be interested to see whether the Six Acts come up at all (not sure how relevant they are to Charlotte's story, and I'm mostly interested because I wrote about this period and the Six Acts years ago when I did my History A-Level personal study!).

I look forward to seeing what other ripples there are from Charlotte's survival in this timeline, especially with two healthy sons, and Leopold being politically-minded, as well as George IV's attempts to get his divorce through Parliament - and the effects of Caroline's death, which may be relatively soon, if I remember correctly. And the implications of Viktoria's pregnancy will be very interesting indeed.

(One little observation - you refer to Prime Minister Jenkinson a few times in earlier posts. I'm fairly sure he would only have been referred to as Liverpool or Lord Liverpool, rather than by his family name. The other interesting thing is, depending on whether you're writing from a historical or contemporary perspective, he might not have been called 'Prime Minister.' At this stage it was something of a nickname for whoever led government - which was usually the First Lord of the Treasury. A lot of people didn't like the term prime minister, so I thought that might be a useful thing to know, especially as, depending on the views of the person in question, it can be used sneeringly.)
Thank you for the catch! I will go back and fix it! ♡
 
This seems more and more like an absolute trainwreck about to happen. The title does suggest she lives long enough to be queen, but will her father leave her a kingdom poised to be the undisputed #1 world power for a century, or a revolution waiting to happen?

Also, with no sons in the male line before Ernest Augustus' little George, it seems to me tha Hanover itself will take it's OTL path to a largely forgotten state to most.
 
Okay guys, opinion time: for the next installment, do we want one super mega post or two (possibly three) split up posts? There is so much going down in 1820, it's ridiculous
 
Selfishly whichever one will get us the most content first. Another idea is to split it either by the time of year (first vs. second half of the year).
 
This seems more and more like an absolute trainwreck about to happen. The title does suggest she lives long enough to be queen, but will her father leave her a kingdom poised to be the undisputed #1 world power for a century, or a revolution waiting to happen?

Also, with no sons in the male line before Ernest Augustus' little George, it seems to me tha Hanover itself will take it's OTL path to a largely forgotten state to most.
Two notes on this, first OTL's William IV will only be King of Hanover for 7 years, so he likely gives Hanover a constitution as IOTL and has his entire focus on Hanover instead of the split with the UK. In addition, William's heir won't necessarily be Cumberland. Unless someone raises a fuss about baby Kent's legitimacy, if it's a boy then he'll succeed William in Hanover. If Uncle Leopold and Aunt Charlotte force the Duchess of Kent to send the young Duke to be educated by William in Hanover we might see an heir who will continue his uncle's policies while Cumberland lives as the Queen's unpopular uncle in London.
 
Chapter 7
In this iconic caricature, George and Caroline are depicted as a pair of fat green bags, a clear reference to the green bags that contained the evidence collected against Caroline by the Milan commission. George is much fatter than Caroline, and his bag is girded by a garter belt, part of which hangs down in the manner of a limp penis.

After the events of May, the Kendals are looking for some good news - literally anything even remotely good at this point. After the executions in London, the rest of the month was spent trying to figure out ways to murder John Conroy and not get arrested. (Personally, Charlotte's pretty sure that as long as they get a judge and jury who had met Conroy, they'd be given a pardon and probably a medal). He has slowly earned the wrath of everyone in the house (aside from the Duchess of Kent) in the following ways:
  • Made ungentlemanly advances towards Miss Mary Gillray, the governess and nanny to the Kendal princes (earning her wrath, Charlotte's, and surprisingly Stockmar's)

  • Attempted to accuse Mary of stealing Charlotte's silver (which she was quite obviously and in full view of the staff polishing in the kitchen to help out during the princes' naptime)

  • According to Mary, he deliberately stepped on and broke Prince George's favorite toy (a toy soldier in the uniform of the Izmailovsky Regiment of the Russian army, which his father had served in during the Napoleonic wars and which George's godfather, the Emperor of Russia, had specifically made for him. Lieutenant Alexander -the doll- was saved with emergency surgery by Baron Stockmar and the local carpenter, though his face will always bear a crack)

  • Pushed Prince William down and away from Princess Victoria when he tried to toddle over to play with her (Conroy denied it and said he had been trying to catch the prince when he tripped)

  • Called Prince George "a most stupid and unfortunate heir" to Lady Flora Hastings within Mary's hearing

  • Yelled at a housemaid for "stealing biscuits" during tea because there was not the exact number of biscuits he wanted at the table (because he and the Duchess had already eaten three each when this count went down)

  • Spilled a bottle of Irish whiskey over Stockmar's medical journals 'accidentally' after Stockmar was heard questioning how long the Kents would be staying at Claremont

  • Refused members of the royal family audiences with the Dowager Duchess of Kent to express their grief, citing her delicate condition and sorrow (Charlotte, who observed Viktoria in the pink of health playing with her daughter and spaniels in the garden those same days, remarked that Viktoria's delicacy and sorrow struck at the most interesting moments)

  • Refused to allow Stockmar to see the Duchess of Kent's accounts when she asked to borrow money from the Kendals

  • Was, according to Stockmar, "all together too informal, rude, and sure of himself amongst royalty" (a hard thing to do in the Kendal household, where Charlotte prefers informality whenever possible and appropriate)

  • Was obviously drunk in the presence of ladies multiple times

  • Continued to spout the Duke of Kent's belief that Princess Victoria would sit the throne

  • Refused to bow when being introduced to Miss Mary Fitzclarence and was heard later to scoff at the idea of "his Duchess" interacting with a "mere bastard"

  • Kicked Leopold's beloved little dog, Flea, after she "tried to bite him", leaving her with two broken ribs ("Flea can barely bite her food" Charlotte angrily wrote to a friend afterwards. Stockmar again came to the rescue and helped care for Flea while she was healing, and Leopold carried her around for weeks after she had healed, refusing to trust her to the floors where Conroy walked)

  • Made "ungallant" remarks about Charlotte's mother to Lady Flora Hastings and the Duchess of Kent

  • Pointedly refused to answer any questions made by any of the Claremont household regarding his wife and children. When finally cornered about it by Leopold, he merely answered that his life was in service to his Duchess, and his wife knew her place. (This statement won no brownie points with Leopold or Charlotte)

  • Was considered by all to be far too “intimate” with the Dowager Duchess, taking private teas with her lasting several hours a day and allowing no communication to reach her save through himself or his cronies (some household staff and Lady Flora)
Every time such an incident has been brought up to the Dowager Duchess as grounds for his dismissal, however, she has grown distraught and fainted. For fear of her distress harming her delicate condition, Leopold has forbidden the Kendal household to speak a word of Conroy leaving to Viktoria until after the birth of her child. (Officially, Charlotte stands with her husband on this - unofficially, she has the due date circled on her calendar).

Good news comes in three to Claremont in the first week of June, when it is announced that the Duchess of Clarence and St. Andrews is expecting a baby in February [1]. Charlotte, knowing how much Adelaide has wanted a child of her own, is overjoyed and sends forth a twenty page letter full of congratulations and advice and love. The Dowager Duchess of Kent, miffed at the idea of not being the newest pregnant lady in the family -not to mention that the Clarence baby, boy or girl, will take precedence over her own children-, sends a page. Coming with the news is Charlotte’s cousin, Miss Mary Fitzclarence, the bastard daughter of Charlotte’s uncle the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews, so rudely treated by Conroy. Mary Fitzclarence [2] -known in the family as Maffie- had come to be employed more or less as a lady in waiting to the Duchess of Kendal (Charlotte having never really had a proper lady in waiting before, using housemaids and Mary Gillray when needed, never really treats Maffie as a lady in waiting and instead makes her an adored companion. Maffie will later write in her memoirs that the most stressful thing Charlotte had allowed her to do was open and organize letters and even then apologized for asking Maffie to do it). Another happy event -surprising to all except Charlotte- occurs at the end of June: Christian Stockmar formally proposes to Miss Mary Gillray, with the full blessing and consent of the Kendals. Plans are made for them to marry in July at the little St George's Church in nearby Esher - only family and close friends in attendance, and the little Kendal princes to serve as pageboys. Mary having no father, Leopold graciously offered to give her away. There were tears and laughter and champagne all around. (The Dowager Duchess of Kent was heard to have expressed a confused wonder at such excitement being made over “a servant’s marriage”, and Sir John Conroy all but rolled his eyes at Leopold’s offer).

Another good piece of news occurs when Sir John Conroy leaves for London in the middle of the month, supposedly to see about acquiring “a proper household of her own” for the Dowager Duchess and her children - one that was not based in Surrey. Despite Viktoria’s moping, the rest of the household settles in nicely to the quiet and peace. The trooping of the color having been cancelled that year [3], there's no reason for them to leave Claremont, and at this point, Charlotte would have to be dragged kicking and screaming. And very ill. This is by far her most difficult pregnancy and she’s barely tolerating it at Claremont as is. The news that her mother has returned to England to claim her rights as Queen consort and take part in the scheduled coronation in July of next year has put everyone on edge and has rather put a damper on the joy of the previous events.

(Obviously, this good news turns out to be terrible, all bad, horrible, awful, and no good news, but nobody knows just yet).​

On the 5th of July, a bill is introduced into Parliament "to deprive Her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the Title, Prerogatives, Rights, Privileges, and Exemptions of Queen Consort of this Realm; and to dissolve the Marriage between His Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth". Despite the efforts of George Canning [4] and Charles Grey [5], both devoted to Charlotte and her rights, a motion to abandon the bill and investigation was rejected in June, and the bill had been announced as passed through “most regretfully” by Lord Liverpool. Charlotte hears about this bill on the 6th, when her friend General Charles Fox [6] comes to call on Claremont to warn her of the bill. Introduced by George IV in the beginning of June, the bill charges that Caroline had been unfaithful to George, and thus forfeited her rights to be his queen and wife. It is the wife part that has caught everyone’s attention - for George has not only provided ample evidence in two green evidence bags of Caroline’s infidelity [7] with Bartolomeo Pergami, he provided a bag of evidence devoted to the claim that Caroline’s infidelity had begun on their wedding night. George is now swearing before God and country that he never slept with Caroline on their wedding night, as he was too drunk; she instead took two male servants for lovers on their wedding night while George slept off his drink. He only slept with her on the second night of their marriage one time - making the chances of Charlotte being his legitimate child and heir “only one in three, and only if one assumes the licentiousness and lewdness of the aforementioned Caroline Amelia Elizabeth did not extend past her wedding night, as all her behaviors since that day have conclusively informed us that they have and continue to do so”. The bill is effectively to be a public trial of Caroline - by voting on whether or not to pass the bill, the members of Parliament would be both jury and judges. Should Parliament find Caroline guilty of the charges and pass the bill through, Fox informs the Kendals, they will also find Charlotte illegitimate and thus remove herself and her children from the line of succession. Caroline’s popularity, while still better than George’s (not like that’s hard to do), has sagged in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre, and Charlotte’s has been affected by the Cato Street Conspiracy. It is unknown if the people will prefer to keep their beloved Princess Charlotte when they could have a new Prince of Wales, whose legitimacy would be assured having been assumedly born of an honorable and faithful mother. George also has an ace up his sleeve: he apparently has the two servants who claim to have slept with Caroline on their wedding night ready and willing as witnesses, both of whom happen to favor Charlotte in looks.

This news is hard on an ill, pregnant woman and Charlotte -after politely thanking Fox for his friendship and for telling her- promptly faints. She is taken to their bedroom, where Leopold himself cares for her - no one else is allowed to enter their apartments at this time and “see poor Cherie in her natural grief, her filial loyalty having been so violated and her foundation so very shaken” as Leopold would later write to his brother Ferdinand. The next week becomes what future historians, historical fiction authors, and screenwriters will call “a true display of love and devotion”: Leopold more or less sets up shop in the bedroom with Charlotte. He has a little ‘desk’ made that he can sit across his lap on the bed or in a chair, and he uses that to catch up on correspondence. He reads to Charlotte letters of sympathy and her favorite books -including Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-, as well as works by David Hume, Adam Smith, Voltaire, and Rousseau. (Leopold does not agree with many of the viewpoints espoused by the latter two but it’s a good way to see the views of the ‘revolutionaries’ in a safe way, and they do make some fair points about rights and education that he is willing to concede. He’s a big fan of Voltaire’s “enlightened despotism” theory”[8]). He and Charlotte take their meals privately during this time in their room and take tea in their private sitting room with the boys each day. After a week, Charlotte more or less re-enters the rest of the house and the grounds but everybody is killing themselves to make sure she takes it easy. Being informed of Charlotte’s state by Charles Fox, Caroline attempted to come out to Surrey to see her daughter, though she was blocked by George IV. Concerned that his daughter was truly ill (and his bill the cause of it), George sent his own physician to check on her along with an invitation to come spend the winter with him after the birth of her child and the restoration of her health. Which is really a command, because George is trying to play the grieving father who loves his daughter and grandchildren dearly, and is being forced by his own conscience to declare her illegitimate for the good of the realm. It’s a good act - not a great one and not enough to get by the Kendals, but good enough that a lot of the public is starting to look twice at the whole situation.

An unexpected ally comes forth to stay at Claremont at this time in the form of Charlotte’s aunt by marriage, the Duchess of York and Albany [9]. Not having ever been close with her niece by marriage (having retired to Oatlands and more or less giving up communication with the British royal family by the time Charlotte was born), Frederica has decided this is as good a time as any to make friends and take a stand against her brother-in-law. “George was always a fool,” she famously declared upon entering Claremont, “and Caroline even more of one. I see why many think you’re not their daughter - you’re far too clever, darling. You’re the picture of your grandfather before he went mad, any fool can see it. Since I’m not a fool, I know it for a fact”. Settling into Claremont with her numerous dogs, Frederica brings a new, albeit eccentric, joy to the household: George and William are immediately devoted to their great-aunt, who clearly adores them, and spends hours telling them (most untrue) fantastic stories about great English heroes. Her common sense attitude is just what Charlotte needs to really get back to herself; she will later write to Maria Carolina, the Duchesse de Berry, that “in the most surprising way, this hitherto unknown aunt has become the dearest friend and companion. We are all only to call her Auntie Fred, and the boys adore her completely, as do I. She has the most wonderful nature, one of equal parts sense and goodness, that soothes my soul and eases my mind.” The friendship that springs up between Auntie Fred and Charlotte in this time is a true meeting of like souls, and Charlotte would later credit her aunt for helping her recover and giving her the strength and wisdom to carry on. Years later, in the midst of her reign, Charlotte would write to her eldest daughter that “All the advice I give you, lovy, comes from my dear Auntie Fred, who gave it to me at a most troubling and sad time... whenever I find myself in doubt, I simply think back to her words: It is what it is, darling, and you must do what you must do, and it will be what it will be. Fretting about it doesn’t change a whit of it.”

The return of John Conroy to Claremont in the middle of July does very little to make anyone feel better, and Leopold makes it very clear to Viktoria that if Conroy so much as looks wrong at Charlotte, he is out, hysterics or no. He also instructs Stockmar to discreetly look into the Dowager Duchess’ finances after his wedding after Viktoria asks him for money to pay her debts again - he loves his sister very much but with the succession crisis going on and the threat of losing everything, Leopold’s not parting with a penny more than he absolutely has to. The only good bit of news coming with Conroy is that he has secured a ‘living situation’ for the Dowager Duchess at Kensington Palace, where the Kent family will take up rooms following their renovation. He’s also secured a decent bump in her allowance, which is concerning to all as he’s only a good negotiator when he has something up his sleeve. He also comes with the news that he has been named the comptroller of the household of the Princess Sophia, one of Charlotte’s maiden aunts also living at Kensington. This is unsettling, to say the least, but there is little one can do about it, and Charlotte is choosing to focus on the wedding of Gilly and Stockmar rather than her aunt’s poor financial choices.

On the 21st of July, Miss Mary Gillray marries Christian Stockmar in St George's Church in Esher, with a surprising number of royalty (the Duke and Duchess of Kendal, and the Duchess of York and Albany) attending, along with Mary’s family up from Bethnal Green. As promised, little George and William Kendal solemnly serve as the bride’s pageboys and are very well behaved during the ceremony. Afterwards, the couple embark on a honeymoon to none other than Oatlands, given over to them generously by Auntie Fred, who declares herself quite taken with the pair (she has, at this point, more or less moved in with the Kendals and, aside from Kents, no one is complaining). When the Stockmars return from their honeymoon in the first week of August, Christian sets right to work going through the Duchess’ books. It’s not easy to do - John Conroy is notoriously possessive of anything related to his work for or with the Duchess. Stockmar doesn’t manage to get his hands on the books until the 10th of August, when Conroy abruptly travels to London, leaving all but the bare necessities behind. When he returns on the 16th of August, Stockmar already has the books back in his room. It is not until the 21st of August, when Conroy again leaves for London, that Stockmar can finish reading them. It all looks too clean and even - there is no explanation, even one remotely plausible, for the Duchess’ lack of money. One would have to be an absolute fool or absolutely trusting to look at books like these and not realize something was up. And Stockmar is pretty sure where the Duchess of Kent falls on that scale.

On the 17th of August, the trial against ‘Queen’ Caroline begins in London - the Duke of Sussex, one of Charlotte’s more notorious uncles, asks to be dismissed on the grounds of consanguinity [10], though the Duke of York decides to remain. This comment earns a snort and a head shake from Auntie Fred, who remarks that her “poor husband never did know which horse to back” [11]. The first motion in the case is made by the Duke of Leinster [12] to dismiss the bill entirely - it loses, 206 to 41.

On the 19th of August, the prosecution case, led by the Attorney General for England and Wales, Sir Robert Gifford, begins with the claim that Carolien was and has committed adultery with Bartolomeo Pergami, thus rendering her unfit to be Queen or wife to the King. Gifford asserts that Caroline and Pergami “shared a bedroom, were seen in each other's presence arm-in-arm, and were heard kissing. The Queen, he stated, changed clothes in front of Pergami and ate her meals with him. He said that Pergami was a married man, but although his child, sister, mother and brother lived in the Queen's household, his wife did not”. [13]

On the 21st of August, Sir Gifford continues with his attack, stating that “Pergami and Caroline had been seen together on a bed in a state of undress; she had sat on Pergami's knee in public; she had taken baths accompanied only by Pergami”. [14]

On the 22nd of August, Sir Gifford comes to the piece de resistance of his argument, the one everyone has been waiting for: the question of Charlotte’s legitimacy. Caroline -who has been refusing to attend- is called forth as a witness. When asked if she had slept with two manservants on her wedding night instead of her husband, she denies it. When asked if she was unfaithful to her husband before their separation in any way that could have affected the paternity of her child, Charlotte, she denies it. When asked if she recognizes the names of Charles Bartlett and Nicholas Ayles, she denies it. When the two men are brought into the courtroom as expert witnesses, no one is sure what it going on in this trial. When the two men swear under oath before God and witnesses that they did indeed sleep with the-then Princess of Wales on her wedding night while the Prince of Wales was passed out drunk, no one is sure what is going on in this monarchy. Regarding the scandal of the trial, Leigh Hunt wrote to Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The whole thing will be one of the greatest pushes given to the declining royalty that the age has seen." [15]

On the 28th of August, Charlotte delivers her third child after a long and grueling delivery - a little girl, to be named Charlotte for her mother at Leopold’s request, for “how could we not want another Lotte in the world?”.

On the 29th of August, Stockmar bursts into Charlotte and Leopold’s bedroom with John Conroy’s books - the real ones that Conroy had cleverly hidden in a slit in the binding of the cooked books, found by Stockmar that very morning after re-reading the books for the thirteenth time. Conroy has definitely been embezzling money from the Duchess, most likely for gambling and drink, but that is not what has Stockmar bursting into the bedroom of a woman one day after she gave birth. In June and July, Conroy received large payments in sums totaling almost 2,000 pounds from a source only titled as ‘GH’. While he kept most of the money (and even funneled some of it back to the Duchess’ account in a sense of ‘loyalty’), he made two sets of large payments out from the funds. The first set of payments occurred in the middle of June, when Conroy was in London. The second set of payments occurred on the 16th of August, the day before the Queen’s trial began. Both sets of the payments were made to Charles Bartlett and Nicholas Ayles.

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[1] They were already back and living in Bushy House, London, at this time. It is here where their child will be born.

[2] Mary Fitzclarence, fourth child and second daughter of The Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews and Dorothea Jordan. OTL married Sir Charles Fox (see [6]) and served as the housekeeper of Windsor Castle for most of her life.

[3] The trooping of the color was cancelled from 1811 to 1820 because of King George III's illness, except for in 1813, when it was performed for the Queen.

[4] A British Tory statesman, served as Prime Minister from April to August 1827. Resigned from office as the President of the Board of Control in 1820 in opposition to the treatment of Queen Caroline during the debate of the Pains and Penalties Bill. Was also rumored to have been a lover of Caroline’s.

[5] The 2nd Earl Grey, famous for his relationship and illegitimate daughter with the famous Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834.

[6] Illegitimate son of Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland, through a liaison with Lady Webster, whom Lord Holland would later marry. Major in the Grenadiers and a Whig politician later in life. OTL married Miss Mary Fitzclarence (see [2]).

[7] This was all OTL. “The day after Caroline’s return to England, George submitted the evidence to the Houses of Parliament in two green bags. The contents of the bags were identical; one copy was presented to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, and the other was presented to the House of Commons by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh.”

[8] Voltaire was a champion of enlightened despotism in the late 1700s and served as an influence for Emperor Joseph II of the Holy Roman Emperor and Catherine the Great of Russia, both of whom considered themselves “enlightened absolute monarchs”.

[9] Princess Friederike Charlotte of Prussia, only daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia and his first wife, Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg. OTL Friederike died on August 2nd, 1820 but it's my timeline and I like her so she's sticking around and filling in as a crazy aunt to the Kendal kids

[10] The Duke of Sussex was the brother-in-law of Caroline, as well as her maternal first cousin. He was also trying to avoid pissing off Charlotte in this timeline, because the last thing he needs is the possible Queen furious with him and in a position of power.

[11] The Duke of York and Albany was a notorious gambler and was notoriously in debt due to his addiction to cards and racehorses. He also has no sense of self preservation in this timeline a la The Duke of Sussex when it comes to the possibility of Charlotte’s wrath. Or his wife’s.

[12] Augustus Fitzgerald, the 3rd Duke of Leinster. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland for most of the 19th century, holding the post for 61 years from 1813 until 1874

[13] OTL claims from the trial

[14] OTL claims from the trial

[15] This is also OTL - Hunt didn’t mince words
 
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I told ya'll 1820 was busy! Hopefully I can finish out the year with the next post!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments and support - it means to world to me and makes me feel like I actually know what I'm doing with this TL! :kissingheart:
 
Fabulous update as always.

My first question concerns the fate of the Kent kids, given Leopold/Charlotte/Stockmar likely believe the Duchess was either in cahoots with Sir John or proved herself too stupid to adequately protect the kids' interests. My out-there theory: if Adelaide's pregnancy doesn't result in a male heir for Hanover and baby Kent manages to be a boy, might we see Victoria and her brother raised by William and Adelaide in Hanover? It could be billed as "Baby Kent is heir to Hanover and let us bring his sister along as a playmate" when really it's getting the Kent kids away from their mother's poor decision making. At least they'll still have Lehzen, so small comforts.:confused:

Also, while I assume Gilly will stay on in the household, I wonder if she'll exit her role as a nanny once she has her first pregnancy, to focus on her own family with her kids being playmates for the Kendals. They'll probably pick someone from the school once Gilly finds out she's pregnant, and have a transition period before Gilly leaves to give birth.
 
Fabulous update as always.

My first question concerns the fate of the Kent kids, given Leopold/Charlotte/Stockmar likely believe the Duchess was either in cahoots with Sir John or proved herself too stupid to adequately protect the kids' interests. My out-there theory: if Adelaide's pregnancy doesn't result in a male heir for Hanover and baby Kent manages to be a boy, might we see Victoria and her brother raised by William and Adelaide in Hanover? It could be billed as "Baby Kent is heir to Hanover and let us bring his sister along as a playmate" when really it's getting the Kent kids away from their mother's poor decision making. At least they'll still have Lehzen, so small comforts.:confused:

Also, while I assume Gilly will stay on in the household, I wonder if she'll exit her role as a nanny once she has her first pregnancy, to focus on her own family with her kids being playmates for the Kendals. They'll probably pick someone from the school once Gilly finds out she's pregnant, and have a transition period before Gilly leaves to give birth.
Thank you dear ♡

I'm not saying or giving up anything about Baby Kent & Co., but trust you me: Hanover gets an heir, an unexpected heir, and the Duchess of Kent gets an interesting custody arrangement. She also more or less gets her ass whipped six ways to Sunday by Charlotte.

The current plan is for Gilly to stay on as Stockmar's wife / a sort of lady-in-waiting / head governess of the new replacement governess. But plans change - who knows?
 
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