TL: King George IV

This kind of reminds me when Queen Victoria was growing up and her Mother and her lover decided to raise Victoria in a way that would make her dependent on them. However, as soon as she grew up, she rebeled against them and they never got the power they were after.I don’t know if Stockmar is this devious, but I hope that he does not have this much power over George for long.
 
I'm liking the series.
Can I be reminded where Princess Victoria was created Duchess of Kent? The Duchy will have gone extinct with the death of her father as he had no sons. She can still be labelled Princess Victoria of Kent to highlight her cadet heritage but she wouldn't be duchess unless specifically created as such (and that's extremely rare).
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
I'm liking the series.
Can I be reminded where Princess Victoria was created Duchess of Kent? The Duchy will have gone extinct with the death of her father as he had no sons. She can still be labelled Princess Victoria of Kent to highlight her cadet heritage but she wouldn't be duchess unless specifically created as such (and that's extremely rare).
Thankyou! The Duchess of Kent in this TL so far refers to Victoria's mother, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Technically she was the Dowager Duchess of Kent after her husband's death but at the time she remained gazetted as The Duchess of Kent and her daughter as Princess Victoria of Kent.
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 2: The Four Old Men

Opo

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King George V

Part One, Chapter Two: The Four Old Men

In later life, King George V looked back on the first year of his reign as being entirely controlled by a group he dubbed “the Four Old Men”. These were; his uncle and regent The Duke of Clarence, the Prime Minister of the day Lord Eldon, his physician Baron Stockmar and the widow of his late first cousin Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha [1]. Whilst George would always resent Baron Stockmar for his strict and unforgiving regime, he was enormously fond of the other three parties. As he grew older, he enjoyed audiences with Lord Eldon where the Prime Minister explained the constitution in a far more entertaining and engaging way than his tutor Cottingham. The Duke of Clarence meanwhile became a kind of surrogate father to the young King and George recalled how during a particularly bad period in which he suffered almost constantly from nightmares, the Duke sat by the young King’s bed reading poetry to him to calm and reassure him. But it was Prince Leopold who contributed the most to George V’s childhood memories and as a result, became a key fixture in the King’s early life.

Stockmar’s rigid system of education had many advantages but one major oversight was a total lack of social interaction. The Duke of Clarence had proposed that boys of the King’s own age be invited to Windsor for playdates. Selected by Cottingham from the boarders at Eton, the Duke suggested that (coming from some of the best families), this could provide an important opportunity for George to build long lasting friendships with individuals who might one day serve as his courtiers. But Stockmar rejected this entirely. In his view, such a plan left the young King open to “bawdy and unreliable influences” and he had concerns that if unsuitable friendships were made, it might prove impossible to break them without the young King rebelling against the figures of authority in his life for removing his newfound social group. The Duke of Clarence put his foot down. His nephew was clearly developing into a lonely child and Stockmar was asked to overcome his scruples and find the boy some friends.

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Prince Leopold, later King of Belgium.

It was Prince Leopold who provided the solution. His elder brother, Ernst I, was the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and had two sons who were roughly the same age as King George. The eldest was Hereditary Duke Ernst, born in 1817, the younger was Prince Albert, born in 1819. The young Coburg princes had found themselves in difficult circumstances when in 1826, their parents divorced and their mother, Louise of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg, left the duchy. Ernst I was not a man noted for his strict morals, neither was he a devoted father to his sons who mostly relied on the Court Chamberlain for guidance during their childhood. They also relied on Prince Leopold, a gregarious and kind figure in their lives. Whilst his visits to Coburg were rare, they made a strong impression on the two boys with Prince Albert noting later how; “Uncle Leopold would arrive with gifts and toys but there was nothing as precious to us as the time he gave to us”.

History remembers Prince Leopold as an ambitious man, keen to advance his own position and that of his family. In proposing that his nephews be brought to England for a time to serve as childhood friends to King George, it is entirely possible that he had ulterior motives. Queen Louise wrote to her sister Augusta bemoaning Leopold’s influence on her son and as early as 1828, noted her suspicion that; “Leopold seeks to advance himself and the two Coburg princes who are little better than bastards of the wood. Their father was never faithful to poor dear Louise and even Leopold parades his mistress with no regard to his reputation. I have tried to make our brother-in-law see that the Coburg influence is a terrible thing to encourage but my word counts for nothing at court any longer and even those who I know to agree with me on the subject refuse to say so because they only seek to promote their own petty interests”.

However, Queen Louise is not entirely a reliable source given her situation at the time. Since the death of her husband, she had retreated to Royal Lodge with her ladies in waiting and had become the doyenne of the poison pen letter. Very few were spared her vitriol as missives flew between Windsor and Rumpenheim. The Duke of Clarence was branded “pompous and power mad”, his wife “a silly little shrew” and Lord Eldon “a bloated booby with no authority”. The late King’s sisters were “sad, faded, fat old spinsters” whilst Prince Leopold was “a snake in the grass waiting to strike”. It is not surprising therefore that the Dowager Queen found herself with few friends and very little to occupy to her time with. She had failed to forge any real friendships in England since her relationship with Joachim Pepke came to a sudden and shocking end and even her remaining ladies in waiting found her to be cold and unfeeling. She saw her son regularly but even in these meetings, she ignored him and spent the time berating Honest Billy for what she regarded as the failures of “the Four Old Men”.

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Albert and Ernst (L-R) pictured in an engraving made in 1835.

In her son's mind however, nothing could be more welcome in his life than the arrival of the two Coburg princes. Initially, Ernst I was reluctant to let his children depart for England for an extended summer visit. As pointed out by Queen Louise, Prince Leopold had begun a love affair with none other than Baron Stockmar’s cousin Caroline Bauer. An actress notable for her striking resemblance to the Prince’s late wife, Princess Charlotte, Leopold arranged for Caroline to take up residence at Longwood House a few miles from his own residence at Claremont. Caroline would later claim that the pair engaged in a morganatic marriage but no records have ever been found to support this. Nonetheless, their relationship was considered somewhat scandalous and however hypocritical it may have been on Ernst’s part, he had reservations about allowing his sons to reside at Claremont whilst Leopold’s priority seemed to be his mistress.

Ernst eventually relented. In the summer of 1828, Hereditary Duke Ernst and Prince Albert came to England for the first time and were introduced to the children of the Royal nursery; King George V, Princess Charlotte Louise and Prince Edward. This arrangement cheered the young King enormously and he became especially close to Prince Albert who was far less boisterous and chaotic than his brother Ernst. Princess Charlotte Louise on the other hand was not impressed by the sudden disruption and went so far as to recruit a nursery maid to help her make “No Boys May Enter Here” signs which she pinned all over the State Apartments at Windsor. When this didn’t work, she wrote notes to would be intruders. One such note read; “Dear Ernst, you are a cat’s bottom and you have silly eyes”. In retaliation for this outrageous slur on his character, Ernst stole one of Charlotte Louise’s favourite dolls and attempted to ransom her for cake. Beside herself at this loss, Charlotte Louise cried for hours until Prince Albert managed to purloin the doll from his brother and return to it a very grateful young Princess. Her gratitude did not last long however and Prince Albert found himself the recipient of a note from Charlotte Louise which accused him of being "a very silly boy with ugly knees". Charlotte Louise was delighted when the ratio of boys to girls in the nursery was made almost equal with her cousin Princess Victoria invited to join the party and a life-long friendship between the two soon developed.

In April 1828, the Zoological Society of London opened a “display of the natural world for scientific research” in London’s Regent’s Park. Commonly known as London Zoo, the site had been developed for the purpose by Sir Stamford Raffles and was open to fellows of the Zoological Society, their guests and those with written permission from a member who were privy to the collection of wildlife. George Cottingham regarded an outing to the zoo as an important educational trip for the royal children and they were accompanied by their aunt, the Duchess of Clarence, on the 26th of June, the first children ever to be admitted to London Zoo. They were shown a curious assembly of animals such as the now extinct Quagga and a troop of Orangutans. With attitudes to animal welfare somewhat different than they are today, the royal children were allowed to play with some of the animals considered to be safe and at the end of the visit, Joseph Sabine, Vice Chairman of the Zoological Society, presented the young King with the gift of a new-born Marmoset named Raffles. This gift would begin a life-long passion for wildlife and nature in the King and he later considered his patronage of the ZSL as the most rewarding of his life. The Duchess of Clarence was less impressed when, on the carriage ride home, Raffles stole the wax fruit from her hat, ate it and then vomited on her dress.

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London Zoo, pictured in 1828.

The outing to London Zoo was reported widely in the national press but only two days after the visit had actually taken place. This was upon the insistence of Lord Eldon who was becoming increasingly concerned at the number of death threats aimed at the royal children the Home Department was intercepting at this time. Whilst there had always been fanatics with such ideas, there was a clear cause for this sudden surge and it was an issue that the Prime Minister could no longer ignore. Catholic emancipation had long been a dividing issue for the Tories and whilst Eldon's predecessor Lord Liverpool had been inclined to support some measures towards the removal of restrictions on Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom, Lord Eldon himself remained totally opposed to any such relaxation. Eldon’s cabinet had been dubbed “the Orange Cabinet” for precisely this reason but those who wished to see Catholic relief saw an opportunity to set the government against members of its own party who felt Eldon’s refusal to pursue a course of reform on the issue was short sighted and morally unjustifiable. Calls for wider constitutional reform had become an integral part of the debate on Catholic emancipation but in the past, such ideas had been easily shut down, aided in part by the vocal opposition of the monarch to any steps toward emancipation.

Whilst the Duke of Clarence had been opposed to Catholic emancipation and constitutional reform, as regent he had determined to stay silent on political matters as much as possible. But the whiff of reform had caught the public’s imagination, especially in Ireland. With the prospect of emancipation raised and then dashed, Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom had become far more vocal in their demands for change. This increased ten-fold when in the summer of 1828, Daniel O’Connell won the seat of County Clare from the Tories in a by-election. O’Connell was the leader of the Catholic Association, a campaign group founded to fight for Catholic emancipation. But though elected with almost 70% of the constituency vote, O’Connell could not take his seat in the House of Commons. The first Catholic to be returned in a parliamentary election since 1688, he could not swear the Oath of Supremacy which required MPs to acknowledge the King as Supreme Governor of the Church of England and therefore forswear the Roman communion. O’Connell urged his supporters to reject violence. “No political change”, he said, “is worth the shedding of a single drop of human blood”. But the situation was a precarious one. Whilst even the most devout Protestants in Eldon’s cabinet, such as Robert Peel (nicknamed "Orange Peel") and Sir Edward Knatchbull, saw the danger in not taking urgent steps to allow O’Connell to take his seat, the Prime Minister refused to consider any such move. He relied on the support of men such as Lord Camden and Lord Melville who were in total agreement that the Oath of Supremacy should not, and would not, be amended. This led to stalemate in the Orange Cabinet and many Tories became nervous that Eldon was about to lead them headfirst into a rebellion or uprising in Ireland.

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Daniel O'Connell by Sir George Hayter.

So-called Ultra Tories rallied around Eldon supporting him in the Commons and the Lords and decrying those who supported emancipation. Those in favour of emancipation however looked to others within the party who could appeal to opponents of reform and convince them that an urgent change of heart was required. They put their hope in none other than the Duke of Wellington. The Duke had once been a mild supporter of continued restrictions but over the course of his career, he changed his position entirely. Born in Ireland, he warned his colleagues of the grievances that existed among Catholic communities there and whilst serving as Chief Secretary for Ireland, he pledged to enforce remaining penal laws against Catholics as mildly as possible. Further to this, Wellington had fought alongside Catholic soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars and later remarked; “Their loyalty is as inspiring and as true as that of any protestant man”. By 1828, Wellington felt able to take a bold and very public stance in favour of emancipation. It put him at odds with the Prime Minister and many in the Cabinet but it gave hope to those Tories who genuinely feared a civil war in Ireland.

The Duke of Wellington had long been a personal friend of the Duke of Clarence and so it was that they dined together “informally” at Clarence House on the 30th of June 1828. The party was intimate and not overtly political, comprising of the Clarences, the Duke of Wellington, the Marchioness of Westmeath (lady in waiting to the Duchess of Clarence), the Bishop of London and Mrs Blomfield, Princess Augusta and the Dean of Windsor, Henry Hobart. When the ladies left the table at the end of the meal, the gentlemen remained and drank port, their conversation inevitably turning to the situation at hand. Whilst the details of their conversation are lost to time, it is clear that the Duke of Wellington must have advised the Duke of Clarence on the matter and without doubt, raised his fears of an Irish Civil War. The following afternoon, Lord Eldon was summoned to Clarence House where the Duke of Clarence urged him to “give serious consideration to that prospect”. In Clarence’s view, an Irish Civil War would prove disastrous in Britain’s economic situation and “nothing would be more injurious to Britain’s reputation and standing in her colonies around the world if Ireland were to be lost”. Lord Eldon was furious. The so-called ‘Clarence House Conference’ would mark a turning point for his premiership and for the Tory Party as a whole.

For a time, it appeared that there would be continued stalemate on the issue until Eldon carried out a reshuffle of his cabinet. The most important change was the demotion of Robert Peel. Peel had served in the Orange Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Home Department and Leader of the House of Commons. His position on Catholic emancipation had changed yet now he allied himself (at least privately) with the Duke of Wellington and found himself dropped from Eldon’s government. It was a huge political scalp and did nothing but crack a cavern into the Tory Party that threatened to erupt into a very public and very angry collapse. Peel’s successor was Sir Edward Knatchbull, promoted from Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and this sent the clearest message yet that Eldon was not to be moved on the issue of Catholic emancipation. Knatchbull was a leader of the Ultra-Tory grouping in the House of Commons and was known to be fervently anti-Catholic. The lines had been drawn for battle but the catalyst set in Westminster predictably erupted not in London but in Ireland. [2]

Barred from taking his seat in the Commons [3], O’Connell returned to County Clare. Whilst he had very publicly disavowed violence, the authorities in Ireland believed him to be a dangerous figure because of his ability to rally a crowd. On the 11th of September 1828, O’Connell addressed a public meeting of the Catholic Association in Tulla, County Clare. Whilst the meeting was intended for Catholic Association members, it quickly drew crowds of around 400 people. Speaking in the marketplace, O’Connell’s speech was not all that radical. He pledged to find a loophole in the existing law to allow him to take his place in the Commons and he urged those who could stand for election to do so, thereby forcing the British government to address the issue of the Oath of Supremacy. Among the 400 were several prominent local leaders of the Ribbonmen, a popular movement of poor Catholics in Ireland which supported the Catholic Association. Organised into Lodges, there had been outbreaks of violence between the Ribbonmen and the Orangemen in recent years but mostly, the Ribbonmen concerned themselves with taking action against landlords so as to prevent them from evicting their tenants.

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A "Ribbon Society" lodge meeting.

Market days often saw the presence of British soldiers to keep public order. On the 11th of September 1828, four of these soldiers were patrolling the market in Tulla and quickly became concerned at the rapidly growing number listening to Daniel O’Connell. One of the soldiers, George Henry Fitch, noted that a group of men produced green ribbons during O’Connell’s address and placed them in their button-holes, a clear symbol that identified them as Ribbonmen. This was enough for Fitch to justify breaking up the crowd. But the British soldiers were far outnumbered and could not disperse the crowd. Fitch fired his rifle into the air. Believing that their colleague had opened fire, the remaining three soldiers began firing on the crowd. In the confusion and chaos, 26 people were trampled to death and those who could not escape the marketplace turned on the British soldiers. Fitch was wrestled to the ground by two Ribbonmen, Evan Donlan and Darragh Hanneen, as Daniel O’Connell attempted to call for calm from his platform. It was too late. Donlan beat Fitch to death with his rifle butt as Hanneen held him down. The pair then fled the scene. In total, 102 people were killed that afternoon in what the British press would name “the Tulla Riot”.

When news of the riot reached London, Eldon gave a passionate speech in parliament mourning the loss of Fitch and pledging that every assistance would be given to the British army in Ireland to put down similar violence. The Ribbonmen were to become a proscribed organisation through amending existing legislation that had dealt with earlier uprisings led by the so-called Whiteboys and public gatherings in Ireland were to be limited to no more than 30 people. Furthermore, troop numbers in Ireland were to be doubled and there would be a zero-tolerance policy on those “preaching insurrection and rebellion in public places”. Listening to this speech, the Duke of Wellington hung his head before eventually leaving halfway through. This departure did not go unnoticed. Those who supported him in the House of Lords rose and followed him. By the time Eldon finished his address, only the Ultra Tories remained in place. He fell into his seat “puzzled and anxious” but still believed wholeheartedly that he was pursuing the right course of action.

This put the Duke of Clarence in a difficult position. As regent for his nephew, he had sworn to represent the Crown in as politically impartial a way as he could. Yet his own personal feelings had always been to oppose emancipation as his father, George III, had done. That being said, he knew the country could ill-afford a war, especially one as prolonged and as costly as a civil war in Ireland was bound to be. To fund such a project, the government would have to increase taxes and William remembered only too well the consequences of this during his late brother’s reign. He also had genuine fears that republicans and radicals saw the regency as a target and that the monarchy might easily be dispensed with if these groups could play on the notion of a child King being unable to represent the people as well as an adult President. Among his cabinet allies, Lord Eldon knew there was no appetite (and no money) for a Civil War in Ireland. But he also knew he could not back down from the position he had taken. Despite this, he reassured the Duke of Clarence that there was no risk of the government collapsing and that he was certain the measures he was taking in response to the incident at Tulla would put down any similar outbreaks of violence in the future.

At Apsley House, the Duke of Wellington’s house at Hyde Park Corner, those Tories now firmly against Lord Eldon’s actions gathered for an emergency conference. Robert Peel was among them. In his mind, there could be no doubt that the Prime Minister was about to tear the Tory party to shreds and that their majority would be “smashed on the altar of Ireland”. Those assembled roundly condemned the Prime Minister and the so-called “Orange Cabinet” but this meeting would have had little effect were it not for a late arrival. The Chancellor, William Huskisson, disliked the prospect of Catholic emancipation but he disliked the idea of an expensive Civil War in Ireland even more. At Apsley, Huskisson made it clear that he was minded to vote against any proposals to introduce relief for Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom but that he feared the destruction of the Tory party if Eldon continued on his current path. In his view, the Prime Minister no longer had the confidence of the cabinet or the party and in short, he had to be convinced to step aside for someone who would avoid rebellion or civil war in Ireland whilst also healing the rift in the Tory party which Eldon seemed oblivious to. Huskisson must have known the full impact of his presence. Some later alleged that he had arrived late to the meeting at Apsley because he could not make up his mind whether to support Wellington and Peel or continue to serve in the cabinet as Chancellor under Lord Eldon. In reality, he was late because his horse cast a shoe and he always intended to make an appearance at Apsley.

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The Duke of Wellington.

Lord Eldon found himself with few remaining allies in his Cabinet. He could not dismiss the Chancellor without confirming a serious rift in his government but neither did he wish to backtrack on the stance he had taken in relation to Ireland. He summoned the Cabinet to Downing Street on the evening of the 15th of September 1828 and put his case before them. Lord Camden was ferocious in his support. He called on the Prime Minister to stay the course and to “cleanse the Cabinet of allies of popery who have undertaken to undermine the authority of the government in a most devious way”. But Camden was in the minority. Even those who agreed with Eldon on Catholic emancipation could not sanction an approach which everybody knew would inevitably lead to a rebellion in Ireland at least, and at worst, a full-scale Civil War. The unanimous view seemed to be that whilst they opposed reforms and supported Eldon’s anti-Catholic policies, they feared a civil war in Ireland could not be won. “If we were to fight such a cause”, Lord Westmorland said, “We gamble with the Union in it’s entirety. That is an outcome I cannot contemplate and yet it is the outcome I believe we would face”.

At Buckingham Palace, three of the “Four Old Men” assembled. The Duke of Clarence expected the Prime Minister to remain his post, to reshuffle his cabinet and to press ahead. William believed this would be “a most dangerous course to pursue” and after speaking with Baron Stockmar and Prince Leopold, presumably to speak his views out loud and rehearse his approach, he summoned the Prime Minister. “I intended that I should offer my counsel to the Prime Minister as a friend and to make him aware of how the situation in Ireland troubles so many, even within his own party”, the Duke wrote in a letter to his brother the Duke of Cambridge, “And yet when he came to me from Downing Street, he was most downcast and appeared a broken man. He explained that he did not believe he could sustain his course even though he knew it to be the right one. I gave the man a glass of Madeira and he said that he had not yet settled on what he should do next. After he departed, Stockmar came and told me that Wellington had assembled supporters at Apsley. So the situation may yet resolve itself without my involvement which I feel would be much preferable”.

In his early childhood, King George V relied on the “Four Old Men” to steer him on the right path. Within the first twelve months of his reign however, it appeared that this quartet of strong influences was to be broken. If Eldon could not restore his authority, he would have no choice but to resign. It also appeared that another of the four may soon depart. That September in Poros, Ambassadors of Russia, France and Great Britain met to determine a solution to the aftermath of the War of Greek Independence. The Conference of Poros developed an idea which determined the borders of an independent Greece with the British favouring the proposal that Greece should consist only of the Peloponnese with the rest of the territory remaining Ottoman. The Peloponnese would become a constitutional monarchy as the Kingdom of Greece with a sovereign provided by the Great Powers. One early candidate for the post informally suggested at Poros was Prince Leopold. [5] In the event that Leopold became King of Greece, Baron Stockmar was likely to go with him. The Duke of Clarence worried that the careful network of support and "beneficial influences" he had put together for his nephew was on the verge of crumbling away.

Naturally any impending chaos was hidden from the young King who had far more important worries. The summer was over and for George, this meant the return of Ernst and Albert back to Coburg. He accompanied the princes to Harwich from where they were to sail home and Honest Billy recalled how George wept as he shook their hands and bid them farewell; “It seemed particularly poignant at a time of political crisis that the King, a small boy who knew nothing of the maelstrom swirling in his Kingdom, cared only that he was to lose his only friends”. Returning to Windsor, George stared solemnly out of the carriage window. Those who turned out to catch a glimpse of his coach saw only a sad little boy with tear-stained cheeks. He would never forget this and it perhaps explains why, in later life, he detested change and liked to surround himself with familiar faces who had no intention of leaving him. But as the boy King mourned the parting of his only friends outside of his immediate family, he had no idea that at that very moment, his Kingdom was on the precipice of war.


[1] Leopold’s title changed in 1826 when his brother became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. I believe in the last part I still referred to him as Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld so forgive this oversight!

[2] Until this point, I’ve followed the OTL in Ireland (minus the Sacramental Test Act which was introduced in 1828). The change of government in this TL makes these developments in Ireland somewhat unavoidable.

[3] He was able to in the OTL the following year because of the legal changes that came in 1828 and 1829. This doesn’t happen in this TL and so we see a PoD in Irish history from this stage onwards.

[4] Although anti-Catholic emancipation, he did serve with Wellington and Peel in the OTL. It makes sense therefore that he would have taken a position under Eldon in this TL but later reneged for the greater good of the party and the country’s financial position which was still precarious at this time after the Napoleonic Wars.

[5] Leopold wasn’t formally offered the throne of Greece until 1830 but according to Theo Aronson, the idea was at least informally suggested at Poros. There’s also a suggestion that this is why Leopold cut short his relationship with Caroline Bauer in mid-1829, so as to be prepared in case the offer did come as suggested at Poros in September 1827.
 
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Thankyou! The Duchess of Kent in this TL so far refers to Victoria's mother, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Technically she was the Dowager Duchess of Kent after her husband's death but at the time she remained gazetted as The Duchess of Kent and her daughter as Princess Victoria of Kent.
Yes that's how it should be but you have a reference to the Princess as Duchess of Kent in a previous post where she was invited to join her cousins!
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Yes that's how it should be but you have a reference to the Princess as Duchess of Kent in a previous post where she was invited to join her cousins!
Apologies, this is an oversight on my part! Could you let me know in which post this appears as I'll need to correct it but can't seem to find the reference?
 
Apologies, this is an oversight on my part! Could you let me know in which post this appears as I'll need to correct it but can't seem to find the reference?
Huh, I can't find it now either. That's annoying. I recall it being among references to the Dowager Duchess in the last few chapters of George IV if that's any help 😁
Possibly you picked it up while I was hunting to find where she got the title and corrected before I even posted!
 
You refer to Louise making comments about the Kings sisters at one point in the recent post, but these would be her own daughters at this point, perhaps a simple change to "the late Kings sisters"?
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
You refer to Louise making comments about the Kings sisters at one point in the recent post, but these would be her own daughters at this point, perhaps a simple change to "the late Kings sisters"?
Quite right! Thanks for flagging this up.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Could a marriage between Albert and Victoria still happen?
At this stage in time, absolutely. Having said that, Victoria doesn't have anywhere near the same prospects as she did in the OTL and there may be parties at play in this TL with their own agendas for future marriages of the young royals who feature in the latest installment.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
just a question: is there anyone in the running to be George’s wife?
and if so, who?
Before beginning this new TL, I plotted out the Royal Family tree from George IV (in this TL) to the present day so I could be certain how removing Queen Victoria and her children from the OTL would affect the European monarchies too. I'll leave the who marries who as a surprise but guessing games are always fun. ;)
 
I know this probably won’t happen, but I think it would be nice if George found love with his bride. Due to his strict upbringing, I think he needs love more than ever and I would love it if he found someone who could give it to him.
 
GV: Part 1, Chapter 3: The Cumberland Plot

Opo

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King George V

Part One, Chapter Three: The Cumberland Plot

At the same time as the Irish Crisis gave rise to discontent in the Tory party, another issue was causing similar resentment within the Royal Family; money. King George IV had successfully increased the Civil List substantially and had also been able to leave a healthy private fortune to his son, the new King George V. But as a minor, the King could not inherit his personal wealth and it was placed into a trust to be administrated by the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Cambridge. As Regent, the Duke of Clarence had authority over how the Civil List should be spent and this meant that he could direct increases or cuts to the allowances paid to members of the Royal Family as he saw fit. Traditionally, the widow of the former Sovereign was entitled to the highest sum which the Duke of Clarence set at £45,000 a year. There was an additional sum of £2,500 allocated for Queen Louise’s household and a further £500 put into an account with the Dowager Queen’s dressmaker to allow her to maintain an impressive personal wardrobe. Naturally Queen Louise did not believe this to be nearly high enough and within two months of her widowhood, she was already petitioning the Duke of Clarence for an increase.

The surviving siblings of King George IV considered her requests unreasonable considering that they themselves had much tighter budgets on which to live. The Duke of Clarence was entitled to £25,000 a year as regent in a sum set by the government but the other Royal Dukes (Cambridge, Sussex, Cumberland and Gloucester and Edinburgh) received £18,000 a year. As for the royal princesses, Augusta, Sophia and Mary received £10,000 per annum because they were resident in the United Kingdom. Princess Elizabeth lived in Homburg with her husband Landgrave Frederick VI and whilst still entitled to an annuity, it was set at just £3,000 a year. [1] These allowances did not come with additional funds for expenses and almost all of George III’s surviving children struggled to live within their means. Princess Sophia caused particular difficulties in this regard, keeping in her household not only three ladies of the bedchamber but two dressers, a wardrobe maid, three housemaids, two pages, a housekeeper, house steward and a personal apothecary.

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Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale

But by far the most extravagant of the siblings of King George IV was Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Now in his late 50s, the Duke maintained apartments at St James’ Palace and a small house on the Kew estate but his main expenditure came in keeping a townhouse in Berlin and a large country estate in Hanover. The Duke of Cumberland insisted that he had no choice but to maintain all four residences. His wife, Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, had been so unpopular with her mother-in-law, Queen Charlotte, that the couple had been forced to live in Germany but in order to continue to receive an increased allowance from the Civil List, the Cumberlands had to spend at least six months of the year in England. In 1826, the Duke had asked for an increase claiming that he could no longer afford the school fees for his son Prince George. An increase was given on condition that Prince George reside full time in England and with Queen Charlotte dead and buried, the Cumberlands took the opportunity to return to England and lease their residences in Germany.

Cumberland intended to live his life in the manner he believed a Prince and Royal Duke should live. His household was the largest in the Royal Family with the only exceptions being that of the King and the Dowager Queen. When he complained that his home at Kew was too small, the Duke of Clarence offered him the use of Kew Palace (then known as the Dutch House) but Cumberland declined on the basis that the property needed extensive renovations he absolutely could not afford. The Duke of Clarence then offered to renovate a suite of apartments at Kensington Palace but again, Cumberland refused. He already had a preferred residence in mind, that of Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. This impressive 17th century house had been made the official residence of the Ranger of the Great Park by King Charles II, a position last held by Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn (the brother of King George III) but the property itself had been vacant since 1803 when Henry’s widow died. It has been suggested that Ernest Augustus only petitioned for the house because of the position that went with it. The appointment of Ranger of the Great Park was traditionally held by someone close to the Sovereign and denoted a position of great trust and personal affection. In reality, it’s likely that the Duke of Cumberland simply preferred Cumberland Lodge for its proximity to Windsor and that it was substantially larger than any of his previous residences. [2]

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Cumberland Lodge today.

Shortly before the Irish Crisis, the Duke of Clarence appointed his younger brother as Great Ranger and allowed him the use of Cumberland Lodge. The Duke of Cumberland celebrated with a grand ball attended by almost every member of the Orange Cabinet. But also present were a number of “Ultra Tories” from the Commons and Lords, the political group known for its staunch opposition to Catholic emancipation. The Duke of Cumberland had spent his time in the House of Lords forging strong links to the extreme right wing of the Tory party and in 1807 had become the Grand Master of the Orange Lodges. He was not averse to bringing the Crown directly into the political issues of the day and frequently voiced the opinions of his father and late brother (George III and George IV respectively) in the Lords which more moderate Tories felt was unconstitutional. A temporary respite from the Duke’s famously long speeches came in 1810 when his valet was found dead. Whilst a jury found that the valet had committed suicide, Ernest’s political foes spread rumours that the Duke had been conducting an affair with his valet’s wife and had eventually murdered the poor man. There was no evidence to support these claims but the Duke limited his appearances in parliament for a year as a result.

Scandal came again in 1813 when the Duke became a trustee of the Weymouth selection board. It was considered deeply improper for a peer to try and influence an election in the House of Commons and there was even a suggestion that a bill should be introduced to strip the Duke of his peerage. The Prince Regent had managed to avert this by sending Ernest to Europe as an observer to accompany Hanoverian troops who were engaged in a war with France. Though he saw no action, Ernest was present at the Battle of Leipzig and this led to his promotion to Field Marshal, a gesture he interpreted as a sign that his political scandal had been forgotten and he once again threw himself into politics when resident in England. Since that time, Cumberland had become a precious ally to Irish Anglicans and opponents of Catholic emancipation. He even gave speeches in the Lords reminding George IV in not-so-subtle terms that he would be violating his Coronation Oath to uphold Anglicanism if he gave Royal Assent to any bill introducing political relief for Catholics in the United Kingdom. In practice, this meant that governments felt unable to pursue emancipation knowing that many peers would vote how they believed the Sovereign wished them to vote on the say-so of the Duke of Cumberland.

Cumberland had another personal agenda that went far beyond Catholic emancipation. In 1827, he had been furious to learn that his younger brother, the Duke of Cambridge, was to be appointed Deputy Regent instead of him. King George IV had indicated a preference for a deputy to serve with the Duke of Clarence for precisely the reason that he considered the Duke of Cumberland unpopular and far too politically engaged. For Cumberland, this was a betrayal he resented bitterly and as a result, he stepped up his political involvement and appearances in the House of Lords, presumably in a display of defiance. The Duke of Wellington was said to remark; “There was never a father well with his son, or husband with his wife, or lover with his mistress, or friend with his friend, that he did not try and make mischief between them”. [3] This was certainly true of Cumberland’s place within the British Royal Family. His sister Princess Augusta said of him; “He is the cause of so much mischief that I cannot bear to be in his presence for longer than twenty minutes”. His wife too was not much liked by her in-laws with one exception; Queen Louise. Since her widowhood and the Cumberlands' move to Windsor Great Park, the Duchess of Cumberland had become a frequent visitor to the Dowager Queen at Royal Lodge and the two women struck up something of a friendship. For the Dowager Queen this was the only friendship she was able to maintain having ostracized almost every other member of the British Royal Family including her sister, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Much like the Duke of Cumberland, Queen Louise resented the fact that she had not been included in the regency for her son, King George V. She had come to despise the Duke of Clarence and frequently accused him of failing to carry out the official duties expected of him in a manner which would have pleased the late King George IV. Her pleas to be included in the regency had fallen upon deaf ears in all circles but she quickly found an ally in the Duke of Cumberland. He commiserated with her and agreed that there absolutely should have been a place for her in the regency. He believed the Duke of Cambridge most unsuited to the position of Deputy, especially since he spent much of his time in Hanover as Viceroy. It would have been far better, in Ernest’s view, for a regency council to have been established with all of the Royal Dukes and the King’s mother serving together as had been the case in the last years of the previous regency. But Cumberland was not entirely honest with Louise. He frequently told friends that he felt he should have been appointed as deputy regent as the next eldest surviving child of King George III but that Queen Louise was “most unsuited to any kind of official role”.

Historians differ in their opinion of when exactly the so-called ‘Cumberland Plot’ began. Some suggest it was first mentioned during a meeting of Ultra Tories at the London townhouse of the Earl of Winchelsea, himself a passionate supporter of the cause and a close friend of the Duke of Cumberland. According to Lord Hardinge’s diary, Cumberland (who was not present at the meeting) had dined with Lord Winchelsea the previous evening and; “had suggested that the Prime Minister would find no ally in the King’s Regent concerning the Irish situation. Indeed, according to [Ernest], Clarence is minded to advise Eldon to resign and to appoint Wellington in his place with a view to a relief bill being introduced as a most urgent priority to avoid a Civil War in Ireland. Cumberland insists that his brother is no friend to the cause and that if there is any hope of the movement maintaining authority he must be removed as regent and Cumberland installed in his place. At the very least, Cumberland feels he must replace Cambridge. Winchelsea said he was minded to raise the matter with the Prime Minister but that he was not averse to taking steps to force such a change in the House”.

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George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchelsea.

Other historians studying the period believe that the first mention of the plot began not with the Duke himself but with Sir Richard Vyvyan, the 28-year-old landowner baronet and Ultra Tory who sat in the Commons as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Cornwall. Vyvyan had not met the Duke of Cumberland but was considered a protégé of the Earl of Winchelsea. It is suggested that Vyvyan first proposed the idea of replacing the Duke of Clarence as regent for King George V with the Duke of Cumberland following the Duke of Clarence’s “broken man” meeting with Lord Eldon. In Vyvyan’s view (put to paper by Winchelsea); “If the Prime Minister feels he does not have the support of Clarence, he will most definitely resign. In such circumstances, the clear successor will be Wellington and then there is no doubt whatsoever that emancipation will be introduced in a bill we may find impossible to defeat. Vyvyan said the obvious way to avoid this was to rely on the support of the Duke of Cumberland who could easily persuade Eldon to stay the course but naturally this would depend on how much influence Cumberland has, something Vyvyan suggested is a variable factor”.

Whichever version of events is true, it is without question that the Duke of Cumberland received a deputation led by the Earl of Winchelsea on the 17th of September 1828 and according to Winchelsea’s diaries, it was here that the Duke of Cumberland agreed to approach the Prime Minister and “offer his support in every way possible. We discussed the Clarence situation and Cumberland agreed the danger of an imminent Wellington government (and relief act) comes entirely from that quarter”. But Cumberland didn’t meet with Eldon, indeed, the Prime Minister refused his requests for an audience. Whether because he had heard of the so-called Cumberland Plot to replace the Duke of Clarence as the King’s Regent or because of the enormous pressures he was facing at the time remains unclear but this left Cumberland and his backers with only one option; the matter would have to be raised directly in parliament. At first, those involved in the plot delayed but then came word from Ireland that Lord Leveson-Gower was to resign as Chief Secretary of Ireland after just four months in office. Leveson-Gower was a staunch ally of the Duke of Wellington and Wellington had advised him privately that if he resigned, Eldon would have to dramatically rethink his position on the Irish Crisis. It was even possible that Eldon may resign.

With the Chancellor of the Exchequer also threatening to leave Cabinet if the Prime Minister did not abandon his Irish policy, the Cumberland plotters had to act quickly. In a session in the House of Lords the following day, the Earl of Winchelsea prepared the ground. In his view, “the situation in Ireland must be remedied quickly and the symptoms of rebellion, which we know of old, should be put down with force. If this cannot be effected quickly My Lords, we send a clear message to every Catholic rebel both in Ireland and in England that the government is weakened in its resolve to stand by its defining principles”. He went on; “And what then? Sensing that we have lost our nerve, the Irish rebels rise up regardless and we face losing a battle we may have won had we only acted with haste today”. The Duke of Newcastle followed suit; “Those who seek to blame us for bringing the country to the precipice of war show their true allegiance is to popery and rebellion. Failing to take action today will almost certainly leave us ripe for an uprising tomorrow”.

But it was the Duke of Richmond who was to introduce the main ambition of the plot itself to the floor of the House of Lords. As he stood to his feet to speak, the Duke of Cumberland entered the chamber and took his seat. In the Commons, Sir Richard Vyvyan waited for a message that the proposal had been introduced. He would raise the subject with the Speaker as an urgent question thus forcing the issue to be debated in both chambers with the ultimate aim of introducing a bill replacing the Duke of Clarence as the King’s Regent with the Duke of Cumberland. In this way, the plotters believed Eldon would be buoyed by the support of the Crown and would not resign. Wellington would not be Prime Minister and Catholic emancipation would be avoided whatever the consequences in Ireland may be. The Duke of Richmond was careful in his choice of words. He reminded his fellow peers that King George III, the Prince Regent and King George IV had all voiced their opposition to Catholic emancipation in the past and that it was imperative that the King’s Regent make the same reassurance on behalf of his nephew to the Prime Minister that protecting the Anglican communion was his first priority.

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Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond.

Cumberland waited for the signal. Richmond had been told to follow his statement with an outright call to replace Clarence with Cumberland. But Richmond sat down without making any mention of it. Whilst the Ultra Tories appeared confused, Cumberland took his feet expecting to have been put in a position where he could “reluctantly” indicate his willingness to serve in such a position. Instead, he was thrown off his guard and unwisely, he began to ramble about the Duke of Clarence’s shortcomings as regent. Unfortunately, this descended into a lengthy account of the Duke’s strict enforcement of the Civil List and Cumberland spent much of his contribution bemoaning the state of his personal finances. No signal was given to Sir Richard Vyvyan in the Commons and by the time the Duke of Cumberland had sat down, it was evident to everyone that the Cumberland Plot had fallen before it left the starting gate. There would be no introduce of a motion in either chamber to replace the Duke of Clarence and even among the Ultra Tories, the Duke of Cumberland was derided as a “self-entitled arrogant fool” who had “all but appointed Wellington and singlehandedly made emancipation a certainty, the very thing he was to prevent”.

Cumberland was humiliated. He retreated to Cumberland Lodge in a daze, desperately trying to piece together what exactly had gone wrong. For the rest of his life, he would lay the blame at the door of the Duke of Richmond but to the Ultra Tories, Richmond’s failure to directly propose Cumberland as regent was a minor misdemeanor. In Lord Winchelsea’s words; “Any man with a shred of intelligence and political acumen would have known to recover the issue. Instead, Cumberland presented his household accounts and bewailed that as one of the richest men in England, he was not richer still”. The newspapers sensed blood. The following day, every single publication regardless of its political allegiance slammed the Duke of Cumberland and branded him “a pompous and pathetic prince”. Even the Tory supporting Times said that the Duke had “put personal ambitions before the peace of this realm”. The Observer dubbed Ernest “the most unpopular man in England”. But the worst outcome was the allegation in the Whig press that Lord Eldon had known about the plot, supported it and must now resign for encouraging Cumberland’s “greedy manic ambitions”.

This was unfair to Lord Eldon. It’s unlikely that he had any knowledge of it outside of hushed rumours of what was to transpire. Nonetheless, the Cumberland Plot forced his hand. That evening, the Prime Minister travelled to Clarence House. According to the Duke of Clarence’s diaries; “He gave every assurance that not only was he unaware of the underhandedness of those who pursued this foolish nonsense but that he in no way agreed with the sentiment”. Eldon then explained that the resignation of the Chief Secretary of Ireland and the impending resignation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave him no option but to resign himself. He felt he no longer had the confidence of his cabinet and that he risked splitting the Tory party beyond repair if he stayed in office. In his view, there were two possible successors whom the Duke of Clarence should call to Clarence House; William Huskisson or the Duke of Wellington. Eldon accepted this inevitably meant Catholic emancipation would be introduced but said; “I must accept that my attempts to prevent this have brought us to the brink of a disaster and I cannot condemn myself to history as the man who lost Ireland to Catholic rebellion”. After six years in office and despite a large majority in the Commons, Lord Eldon was no longer Prime Minister. The Orange Cabinet had collapsed.

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Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

To the fury of the Ultra Tories, the Duke of Wellington was invited to Clarence House the following afternoon and appointed Prime Minister. At Cumberland Lodge, Ernest ordered his manservant to begin packing. The Cumberlands were to return to Berlin. The Duke did not wait to be admonished by his brother; indeed, they never discussed the subject, neither did they meet following the failed coup against the Duke of Clarence. Instead, the Cumberlands left Windsor Great Park and returned to Germany within a month of the failed plot. They would not return to England again in the Duke of Clarence’s lifetime and less than a year into his appointment, the Duke of Cumberland was relieved of his post as Great Ranger of the Park and replaced by the Duke of Sussex. [4] Nobody had much sympathy with Cumberland. He had overplayed his hand and lost spectacularly. In the words of the Duke of Wellington; “He allowed sycophants and dreamers to employ him in their fantasies and paid the price for it”.

At Royal Lodge, Queen Louise was devastated at the departure of the Cumberlands. She truly believed that the Duke would replace Prince William and that she would be made Deputy Regent for her son. But on a more personal level, she was now completely without friends at court. It did not take long for the Duke of Clarence (and the wider Royal Family) to come to believe that she had encouraged Cumberland in his actions and she was branded as much a traitor to the family as he was. She withdrew from Windsor to Abbotsford in the autumn of 1828 where she would remain almost a year with no contact with her children. Whilst there, she complained in letters to her relations in Germany that the Duke of Clarence had forbidden her from seeing her son and that he was exacting revenge for the Duchess of Kent just as she predicted. In reality, the Duke gave the young King the choice; did he wish to visit his mother in Scotland or did he wish to remain at Windsor? George V chose to remain with his uncle at Windsor and so was lost any opportunity Queen Louise had to form a bond with her son in his childhood. In later years, Louise would insist that the Duke of Clarence was a “schemer and intriguer”, “a poisonous old man” and a “cold and heartless monster”. To her son, he was “the most kind, the most generous and the most devoted servant to his country I believe I have ever known”.

The Duke of Clarence was privately glad to see Wellington take the reins of power but Wellington had inherited an immediate crisis which would not be easily resolved. Whilst he felt he could calm matters in Ireland and prevent further violence, he knew that doing so would split his own party and potentially shorten his time in office. Nonetheless, as he began to assemble his Cabinet, Wellington believed Civil War in Ireland had been averted at the eleventh hour and that if he achieved nothing else during his time in office, “I shall at least have preserved our United Kingdom”. At Apsley House, he gathered his allies in the Tory party and explained what his approach to the Irish Crisis would be. Whilst those who had opposed the Ultra Tories were appeased by this, they still had doubts that Wellington could heal the rift in the party as a whole. At Windsor, Stockmar explained this situation as best he could to the young King. How much he understood is debatable but one thing was certain; the first of the Four Old Men had departed and a new era of government had begun.

[1] These figures are taken modeled on the household accounts of Princess Sophia Matilda who was receiving £8,000 in 1826 but £14,000 by 1830.

[2] I've butterflied this. In the OTL, Cumberland was equally pushy with regard to his living arrangements in England because he believed (despite the line of succession putting his niece Victoria before him) that he would either be King of Great Britain or Hanover or both. In this TL, he's just as pushy but the circumstances are different and this sets up the plot narrative nicely for later in the installment.

[3] This is a genuine quote from Wellington.

[4] This appointment lines up with the OTL. Whilst it was vacant I took the opportunity to use it to suit the narrative.
 
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Some very turbulent political developments in this chapter! I’m interested to see how Wellington and his cabinet choose to address the crisis in Ireland.
 
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Opo

Monthly Donor
Some very turbulent political developments in this chapter! I’m interested to see how Wellington and his cabinet choose to resolve the issues that have been raised here.
Thanks for reading Leonidas!

I know the political side of things isn't to everyone's taste but because George V is still a child in this TL, it meant either giving very dull updates about nursery room dramas or when he first kicked a football, or racing ahead for ten years until he reached the age of majority. Which I didn't want to do because the politicians and other members of the Royal Family have become just as important to the narrative I started as George V. Plus, I always intended this project to tell the story of an alternate UK through alternate monarchs (if that makes sense) so I'm happy this "less George V focused" chapter still caught your interest!
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
A reader DMed me to ask if I could provide the list of Lord Eldon's outgoing "Orange Cabinet". I'll be sure to include the new Wellington ministry in the next installment but if anyone else is curious, this would have been the Eldon Ministry from 1822 - 1828.

  • First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Lords: John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer: Henry Goulburn (later 1st Viscount Goulburn) (1822 - 1824)
    • William Huskisson (1824 - 1828)
  • Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
  • Secretary of State for the Home Department and Leader of the House of Commons: Robert Peel (1822 - 1828)
    • Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet (1828)
  • Secretary of State for War and the Colonies: Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet (1822 - 1828)
    • Charles Bathurst (1828)
  • Lord Chancellor: John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst
  • Lord President of the Council: Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Batshurst
  • Lord Privy Seal: John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland
  • First Lord of the Admirality: Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville
  • President of the Board of Control: George Hobart-Hampden, 5th Earl of Buckinghamshire
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Charles Bathurst
  • Master-General of the Ordnance: Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave
  • Minister without Portfolio: John Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden
 
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GV: Part 1, Chapter 4: The Greatest Loss

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George V

Part One, Chapter Four: The Greatest Loss

Trigger Warning: This installment contains subject matter towards the end which some readers may find distressing, in particular, there are references to suicide and the loss of a child. Please bear this in mind if you choose to read this installment as I know for some these are painful themes.

The Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the 23rd of September 1828. The date held significance for Wellington as his appointment fell on the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Assaye in which Major General Arthur Wellesley (now Duke of Wellington) had led British troops to defeat the combined Maratha army of the Maharajas of Gwalior and Nagpur. The battle was Wellington’s first major victory and one he personally believed was his finest accomplishment, even more so than that of his famous victory at Waterloo. This provided the theme of a popular cartoon published in London’s Morning Chronicle which depicted Lord Eldon as a defeated Maharaja surrounded by angry and resentful members of the Orange Cabinet sharpening scimitars. Wellington was shown on horseback about to lead a charge against them with the troops behind him made up of Tory grandees such as Robert Peel and William Huskisson. But in reality, as much as Wellington may have liked to have purged his new ministry of his political foes, he knew the divisions in the Tory party were far too precarious to risk such a bold move. His cabinet would have to include some of his former rivals if his change of direction was to prove successful, especially when it came to the most urgent business of the day; the Irish Crisis.

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The Duke of Wellington as Prime Minister.

Robert Peel had served as Secretary of State for the Home Department and Leader of the House of Commons throughout the whole of the Eldon ministry but had been replaced with the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Sir Edward Knatchbull, in a last-ditch attempt by Eldon to unite his cabinet around his Irish policy. Wellington wanted to restore Peel to the post and offered Knatchbull the opportunity to resume his old post at the Department for War and the Colonies, knowing full well that Knatchbull would not accept. As a prominent Ultra-Tory, Knatchbull would never approve of attempts to introduce Catholic emancipation in the Commons, neither would he allow himself to be humiliated with a demotion from a post he had held for little more than a month. Knatchbull returned to the backbenches but his influence among the rank-and-file Tory MPs remained significant. William Huskisson had threatened to resign, one of the last nails in the coffin of the Eldon premiership but chose to stay in his post of Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Duke of Wellington.

Lord Lyndhurst had opposed Catholic emancipation under Lord Eldon but signalled his willingness to concede if Wellington could persuade his new ministry to take a collective stance one way or the other. He remained Lord Chancellor but was seen as “neither fish nor fowl”, willing to support any side of the argument which seemed to be the majority view of the day. The Foreign Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, was far more direct in his stance. If Catholic emancipation was even considered by the Prime Minister, he would resign and ally himself to the Ultra Tories in the Lords to defeat it. His replacement was the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Henry Goulburn. Goulburn was opposed to Catholic emancipation but he agreed with his long-time friend and political ally Wellington that without reforms, Ireland would descend into a civil war the British simply couldn’t win. [1] Reluctantly, he agreed to serve in the Cabinet on condition that he might abstain on any bill concerning emancipation. Believing he could change Goulburn’s mind at the eleventh hour, Wellington appointed him as Foreign Secretary.

Of the remaining changes, the Duke of Clarence was asked to serve as Lord High Admiral and thus, as First Lord of the Admiralty. Wellington had his reasons for such a prominent appointment. Firstly, the position would be mostly ceremonial but would give the Duke something to do other than rubber stamping acts of parliament as the King’s Regent. Secondly, and most importantly, it would force the Duke to vote on any emancipation legislation in the House of Lords. Wellington knew the Duke would be minded to vote with the government on Catholic relief and if he did so, those in the House of Lords seeking guidance from the Crown on the line they should take would quickly follow Clarence and deliver the result Wellington wanted. Whilst he had sworn not to involve himself in politics and the appointment was potentially problematic constitutionally, there was nothing preventing the appointment at least being offered. Perhaps against his better judgement, the Duke of Clarence’s one flaw was his vanity and combined with his passion for the navy, he could not refuse the post and happily accepted. [2]

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A medal commemorating the appointment of the Duke of Clarence as Lord High Admiral.

The Wellington Ministry was notable for the departure of Lord Camden. Despised by the people of Ireland, he had served as Minister without Portfolio under both Lord Liverpool and Lord Eldon. Eldon had been minded to appoint Camden as Chief Secretary of Ireland when the news came that Lord Leveson-Gower was to step down. In a move that surprised nobody, Camden was removed from Cabinet and offered no foreign posting, least of all to Ireland. As Leveson-Gower had not yet left Dublin, the Duke of Wellington asked him to stay on his post as Chief Secretary which Leveson-Gower accepted on the condition that he might leave office within 12 months. But the ministry was also memorable for two appointments which would come to define the spirit of the Wellington Cabinet. The Earl of Harrowby had served as Lord President of the Council under Lord Liverpool but had refused to serve under Lord Eldon. His belief in emancipation not only for Roman Catholics but for Protestant dissenters and his commitment to electoral reform made it impossible for him to serve in the Orange Cabinet and he had returned to life at his family seat of Sandon Hall in Staffordshire. His appointment was a clear message from Wellington that reform was very much on the agenda but Harrowby’s return to government was not just political theatre; Wellington respected and admired Harrowby’s commitment to his convictions and felt him a valuable asset to his ministry. [3]

But the second appointment sent a different message and was far more controversial. William Vesey-Fitzgerald had previously served in Cabinet as Paymaster of the Forces. He was widely respected by the more moderate Tories and had been considered as a possible successor to Lord Liverpool before Lord Eldon was appointed instead by King George IV. Fitzgerald was a supporter of Catholic emancipation but ironically, he lost his seat in County Clare to none other than Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell could not swear the Oath of Supremacy and thus could not take his seat in the Commons. So the Irish crisis which pushed the Duke of Wellington to his new position as Prime Minister began. O’Connell’s failure to take his seat in the Commons had seen a new writ issued for a second by-election. Wellington appointed Fitzgerald as President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy but he would have to contest the seat of Clare again in the upcoming by-election and win in order to take the post. Wellington felt this appointment crucial. It sent a clear message to the people of Ireland that whilst he felt O’Connell should have been able to take his seat in the Commons, his preference would naturally be a Tory representative in County Clare who supported Catholic emancipation.

With the Cabinet appointed, the Duke of Wellington addressed the House of Lords and made clear that he would not continue with his predecessor’s Irish policy. He called upon those in rural communities across Ireland to withdraw from acts of violence immediately and spoke of his personal experiences in Dublin where he felt the Penal Laws had often been unfairly implemented with undue harshness. He promised to review these laws if the violence was brought to an end and he pledged to meet with Daniel O’Connell privately after the County Clare by-election whatever the outcome. But most importantly, Wellington indicated that the government would support a bill which was due to be introduced by the Opposition; the Sacramental Test Act. This bill would repeal the requirement that government officials take communion in the Church of England and the bill’s author, Lord John Russell, had already had meetings with Robert Peel to discuss cross-party co-operation on its introduction. Not only did existing law (the Corporation Act 1661 and the Test Act 1673) bar Roman Catholics from holding civil and military offices appointed by the Crown, it also meant that in theory, Protestant dissenters were barred too. This was often overlooked with an annual Indemnity Act passed to ensure that dissenters could hold public office.

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Lord John Russell.

Wellington argued this was immoral and unjust and that by supporting the bill, the government would send a clear signal to the people of Ireland that it was listening to their grievances and was willing to address reform. It was a slow approach to emancipation and whilst Ultra Tories saw it as the thin end of the wedge, some were inclined to support the bill on the grounds that it would abolish the need for Indemnity legislation to be passed. Nonetheless, the majority of Ultra Tories were still bitter from their sudden and unwelcome departure from government and Lord Camden took the lead on introducing wrecking amendments. Against convention, Lord Eldon moved that the words “I am a Protestant” must be included into any new declaration whilst the Bishop of Llandaff fought to include “upon the true faith of a Christian”. The Bishop was successful. Eldon was not. The Sacramental Test Act was introduced with cross-party support but it was Peel who secured it’s passage. He met with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, Chester and Llandaff and persuaded them to allow the bill to pass through the Lords. Placated by a few compromises here and there, no Bishop voted against the legislation and after passing the Commons by 237 votes to 193, the Lords passed the Sacramental Test Act which then went on to receive the Royal Assent by the Duke of Clarence as the King’s Regent. [4]

Whilst Wellington had signalled a very different course to his predecessor, the violence in Ireland was sustained. Peel noted that the situation was manageable but there was a general view that the upcoming County Clare by-election could prove a turning point. If O’Connell won again and could not take his seat in the Commons, the government would have to introduce a Catholic relief bill or face rebellion in Ireland. And even if Fitzgerald was re-elected and able to take up his Cabinet posts, the Irish were unlikely to simply settle down and wait for the next opportunity to return an Irish Catholic MP to Westminster. Nonetheless, the by-election brought Wellington and his ministers a little time. Scheduled for November, Wellington hoped that Fitzgerald would seize victory but he conceded privately that he doubted he would. Whilst surprisingly popular with County Clare Catholics, the Catholic Association had launched a campaign which encouraged County Clare voters to seize the opportunity to force the British government to introduce Catholic emancipation. It was unlikely the electorate would reject such an offer.

At Windsor Castle, the Duke of Clarence breathed a sigh of relief that Wellington seemed far less head strong than his predecessor. Whilst the Royal Family had been (and remained) close friends of Lord Eldon, Clarence had no doubt that he was quite mistaken on his approach to the Irish Crisis. The Duke agreed with Peel and Huskisson that whatever the rights and wrongs of the emancipation issue, an Irish Civil War would bankrupt the country and would, most likely, be lost damaging the internal strength of the Union. It might also send a message further afield to the colonies that Britain could no longer defend her interests there. “When my nephew comes of age”, the Duke remarked, “I intended to hand him his inheritance intact. That is my only ambition in what remains of my life”. It must also be said that the Duke of Clarence welcomed the appointment of the Duke of Wellington for more personal reasons. Not only was he a great friend and admirer of the Prime Minister, but he was also greatly moved to be appointed Lord High Admiral. It was during a fitting for his new uniform however that sad news reached Windsor. The Duke’s eldest sister, Princess Charlotte, had died.

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Charlotte, Princess Royal and Queen of Württemberg.

Princess Charlotte was the eldest daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte and was born in 1766. Created Princess Royal by her father in 1789, she married Hereditary Prince Frederick of Württemberg in 1797. During the Napoleonic Wars, her husband (now Duke) had joined Napoleon’s short-lived Confederation of the Rhine and whilst this elevated Charlotte to the rank of Queen consort, it made her an enemy of both her father and her country of birth. King Frederick’s last-minute switch to support the Allies improved his standing and at the Congress of Vienna, Württemberg was recognised as a Kingdom. Queen Charlotte’s later years had not been altogether joyful. Following her husband’s death in 1816, she longed for England and missed her siblings more than ever before. Over the years, she received visits from the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge but she was perhaps closest to her sister, the Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg (née Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom). Charlotte had briefly visited England in 1827 following the death of her brother King George IV and had been minded to leave the Ludwigsburg Palace near Stuttgart for good and relocate to Windsor. She died before she could make any such arrangements.

The Duke of Clarence, on behalf of the King, announced that court mourning would be observed for a period of three months. This was far longer than was usually afforded to a member of the British Royal Family but was observed in recognition of Charlotte’s rank as a Dowager Queen. A memorial service was held for her at St George’s Chapel where the Duke of Clarence stood as Chief Mourner. The late Dowager Queen’s goddaughter, Princess Victoria of Kent, sat next to the Duchess of Clarence and caused something of a stir when she loudly asked, “But where is the coffin? Has Aunt Charlotte forgotten to come?”. As the only similar experience Victoria had known had been the funeral of her late uncle the King, she was clearly confused by the proceedings. The Duchess of Clarence quietly explained and quieted the girl who seemed placated. Even in the depths of their grief, Princesses Augusta and Sophia could not help but stifle a giggle behind their black veils.

Perhaps inspired by this loss, the Duke invited the extended British Royal Family to Windsor to celebrate Christmas 1828 together. Those invited included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children Prince George and Princess Augusta, and the Landgrave and Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg (Princess Elizabeth and her husband Frederick VI). Frederick was not a well man, suffering as he was from complications relating to an old wound in his leg that had never fully healed. Nonetheless, Elizabeth wished to go and uncomfortable with the idea of her travelling alone, Frederick asked his brother Gustav and Gustav’s wife Louise (née Princess Louise of Anhalt-Dessau) to accompany Elizabeth to England. Gustav and Louise were an intensely private couple who had married in the same year as Elizabeth and Frederick. Seeing this as an opportunity to make close friends of the couple, Elizabeth was dismayed when they invariably rejected her invitations to socialise. This was not particular to Elizabeth; they simply preferred a quiet life at Homburg. But on this occasion, they did not wish to appear rude and whilst Gustav did not wish to go to England personally, he sanctioned his wife travelling with his sister-in-law to Windsor along with their children, Princess Caroline and Princess Elisabeth.

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A watercolour sketch of the Duke and Duchess of Clarence.

Also on the guest list that year were the stepchildren the late Princess Royal (Queen Charlotte) but a miscommunication meant that the only one who accepted the invitation was Prince Paul. Paul’s wife, Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen, was a grandniece of the late Queen Charlotte and therefore a second cousin to the Duke of Clarence and his siblings. But she was also somewhat pushy and overbearing and took it upon herself to extend the Duke’s kind invitation to her daughter Charlotte and son-in-law (Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia), as well as to her brother Joseph (a Duke of Saxe-Altenburg), his wife Amelia (of Württemberg) as well as Joseph and Amelia’s children; Princess Marie, Princess Pauline, Princess Therese and Princess Elisabeth. To the young King George V’s delight, Prince Leopold arranged for the Coburg princes to attend as well. Those conspicuous by their absence were the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland (who naturally received no invitation) and Queen Louise (who did). She had elected to remain in Scotland at Abbotsford where she would spend Christmas alone. She did not send for her children to join her, neither did she send gifts to Windsor for them.

Despite this, Princess Charlotte Louise would later describe the Christmas of 1828 as “the happiest we ever knew”. The young King George V clearly felt the same way and for good reason. An increasingly lonely child, he was thrilled to see Hereditary Duke Ernst and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha return to Windsor after their happy summer together and as if that were not enough company, he had a sudden influx of playmates of his own age to tear around the Castle with. The Clarences spared no expense in giving their guests the very best of everything and a grand ball was held which Princess Charlotte Louise remembered for the “seemingly endless parade of beautiful gowns and the most impressive suites of jewellery”. Instead of a formal sit-down affair, a string quartet played popular dances whilst food was served from long tables heaving with rich and luxurious food. The guests ate from the Junior Service commissioned by Dowager Queen Louise to mark the first banquet held at Buckingham Palace in 1825 and were served the finest wines and liqueurs available. In addition, every guest woke up on Christmas morning to find a small but very expensive gift arranged the Clarences (but given in the name of the King) on their dressing tables. Commissioned from Garrards, the Crown Jewellers, the men were given silver snuff boxes with enameled blue lids bearing a painted miniature of King George V on ivory surrounded by diamonds. The year 1828 appeared beneath the miniature and was decorated in yet more diamonds. The women were given similar boxes to serve as jewelry caskets, cast in silver but with enameled pink lids bearing the same likeness of King George V and the year in which the gift was given.

The gifts for the children present were far less expensive but possibly more welcome. Every girl received a doll with two changes of clothes whilst every boy was given a set of lead soldiers with paints and a booklet to explain which colour was to be placed where on the soldiers’ uniforms. The Clarences also ensured that the royal children were thoroughly spoiled. For Princess Victoria, there was a pink velvet cloak trimmed with silver fox fur and an easel, canvases and watercolours to encourage her artistic talents. Princess Charlotte Louise received a similar cloak but in pale blue and the same art supplies in the hope that the two girls would spend their time together doing something constructive. For King George V, there was a coat from Ede and Ravenscroft trimmed with black bearskin collar and cuffs and a child’s version of the uniform of the Lord High Admiral. This was given half in jest, the Duke of Clarence clearly amused to see a smaller version of himself, but it revealed an ambition that his nephew might follow in his footsteps as a naval man rather than in the footsteps of the late King who was so well known for his attachment to the army. Prince Edward, being the youngest, was given a selection of wooden “educational” toys such an abacus and building blocks but he seemed more interested in being bounced on the knee of the Duke of Wellington than his actual presents.

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"Jack" in a portrait by an unknown artist but labelled as "Jack, His Majesty's Companion and Friend, 1828 - 1840"

But the Clarences coup de grâce was a gift which struck dread into the hearts of the royal nannies and nursery maids helping the children gather up the wrapping paper from their Christmas gifts. The Duke of Clarence asked the assembled company to be quiet and to spread out leaving the centre of St George’s Hall empty. He clapped his hands and the doors were opened by the footmen resplendent in their crimson jackets and powdered wigs. After a brief delay, there came the noise of very fast scuttling on wooden floors. To the cries of delight from all assembled children, two King Charles Spaniel puppies came bounding into the Hall. The white and sable puppy was a gift to Princess Victoria whom she named Dash. [5] The white and russet puppy was a gift to King George V, Princess Charlotte Louise and Prince Edward. After days of careful deliberation, the dog was finally named Jack. Whilst the gift of the puppy was intended to be shared, Jack quickly became devoted to the young King and so it was that a life-long love of spaniels was born. Throughout his life, the King was never without these companions and at one time, he had as many seven who followed him from room to room as he wandered through the corridors of Windsor Castle. Though the children were delighted, an existing royal pet was less impressed with these very loud arrivals. Raffles, the Marmoset given to the King when he visited London Zoo, had to be relocated and went to live for a time with Honest Billy in his cottage on the Windsor Estate. Eventually he was given back to London Zoo when he attacked and killed Billy’s pet parrot, Lorna.

The Duke of Wellington had cause to celebrate too that Christmas. Though the inevitable had happened and Daniel O’Connell had indeed won the second by-election in County Clare, O’Connell had shown willing by holding a large rally in Tulla (where the riots which marked the start of the Irish Crisis broke out) and calling for calm. Wellington had dispatched a messenger to O’Connell explaining that he would meet with him as soon as was possible and find a way to allow O’Connell to take his seat in the House of Commons. Again, this was a holding tactic but for the first time in months, the violence in Ireland had been calmed (if not completely quelled) and Wellington had high hopes that the New Year would mark the start of a challenging but ultimately rewarding programme for his government. If he could get Catholic relief to pass through parliament, he stood a very real chance of maintaining peace in Ireland and drawing it well away from the precipice of Civil War. Not only would this help to silence his critics in his party and the more right-wing Tory press but it would remind the country as a whole that he was a reliable pair of hands who could be trusted with the business of government. 1829 was ushered in at Windsor with toasts and parlour games, the Grand Duke Michael leaving the assembled guests in fits of laughter as he mimed the part of a toad. The Duchess of Clarence became so overcome with the giggles that tears poured down her face and forever after, she would refer to Michael as “my sweet little Frog”. As Princess Charlotte Louise later wrote, “Nobody could have been merrier than we that evening”.

By the end of the first week of the new year, the guests had departed Windsor to return to Germany and the Clarences were preparing the children to return with them to London. In the absence of Queen Louise, it had been practical for the royal children to stay with their Uncle and Aunt at Clarence House or Buckingham Palace and so it was that a thrown together family unit emerged of the Clarences, King George V and his siblings, and Princess Victoria of Kent. They were enormously happy together, so much so that it did not take long for the Duke of Clarence to make a somewhat obvious observation. When the Duke of Portland visited Buckingham Palace on the 7th of January 1829, he noted in his diary that the young King was very fond his cousin Victoria and that the pair (now approaching ten years old and nine years old respectively) seemed “quite devoted to each other”. The Duke remarked on this to the Clarences, the Duke beaming and tapping his nose mysteriously with his finger; “Let us leave it entirely in the Lord’s hands”. Portland noted that the Duke added somewhat wistfully, “Wouldn’t that be something?”

TW: See above before reading further.

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The Gardens at Buckingham Palace, 2021.

But looking to happy unions of the future was painfully shattered by a tragic event in the present. On the 9th of January 1828, the royal children were playing together in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. 9-year-old Toria, 8-year-old Georgie, 7-year-old Lottie and 4-year-old Eddy were amusing themselves by rolling a cartwheel up and down the gravel paths to each other, whooping with joy the longer they could keep it upright. The older children became so excited that they raced ahead of young Prince Edward and out of sight of Honest Billy and Clara Wolfe, their governess, who were taking tea on a small table as the children played. Miss Wolfe became irritated that the children had disobeyed her for moving beyond her view and sprang into action marching towards the direction of the children’s shouts. Honest Billy chuckled to himself. Miss Wolfe was known for being something of a Jekyll and Hyde, devoted to the children in her care one moment and furious with them the next.

In the commotion, nobody had noticed the 4-year-old Prince Eddy had been left behind and had wandered over to the pond installed by his late father, King George IV. The children had often played together on the banks of the pond and enjoyed being taken out on a small rowing boat, usually skippered by Honest Billy, the late King or the Duke of Clarence. When Miss Wolfe couldn’t find Eddy, she alerted Billy and the pair immediately began calling out for the boy in the vastness of the gardens. The noise of the children’s screams whilst playing with the cartwheel had masked the sound of a splash. By the time Billy discovered the full horror of what had happened, the little Prince had drowned. His body was recovered from the pond but it was too late. Miss Wolfe rushed the children into the Palace and wrapping the boy in his coat, Billy took the body of Prince Edward to his room in the Palace and laid him upon his bed. He then went to break the news to the Duchess of Clarence who was taking tea with Lady Beresford. Lady Beresford shared her memories of that awful day in her memoirs published many years later:

“Her Royal Highness was as pale as I have ever seen a person and immediately let out a terrible scream. I too felt my knees buckle at the dreadful news and I confess that I have had many sleepless nights thinking of that poor dear child in the coldness of the water. The Duchess composed herself and sent word to her husband whilst I assisted her in breaking the awful news to His Majesty and Princess Charlotte Louise. Neither spoke. Neither cried. They were simply stunned into silence. Neither the Duchess or I could bear to enter the poor child’s room and so we knelt by the door in silent prayer, tears falling from our cheeks, until the Bishop of London arrived to assist with the laying out of the body”.

This dreadful and unexpected event left a lasting impression on King George V. He would always refer to the death of his younger brother as “The Greatest Loss” and for the rest of his life on the 9th of January when the anniversary of Eddy’s death came around, the King would take himself into St George’s Chapel where he wept for hours, just as if the tragedy had occurred an hour before. The situation was made even worse for both the King and his young sister by the complete absence of their mother. The Duchess of Clarence sent word to Queen Louise in Scotland immediately. Whilst her reaction to the news has not been documented, we know that she remained in Scotland and did not attend her son’s funeral at the Chapel Royal of St James’ Palace or his burial in the Royal Vault at Windsor. She sent no communication to her surviving children and for the rest of her life, the Dowager Queen refused to allow any mention of Prince Edward in her company. The only sign that something had changed in Louise was the sudden absence of colour from her wardrobe. From Prince Edward’s death until her own, she only ever dressed in black.

There was one final sting in the tragic tale. The children were devoted to their somewhat unpredictable governess, Miss Wolfe, and had come to rely on her presence in their lives. Though prone to temper tantrums and a strict disciplinarian, Clara Wolfe was also sweet, loving, generous and indulgent to the children in her care. After Prince Edward’s death, the children never saw her again. According to Honest Billy, Miss Wolfe had resigned her post and had gone to live with her mother in Crewe. In truth, it was Billy’s mother who lived in Crewe and Miss Wolfe had not resigned. Two days after the funeral of Prince Edward and wracked with guilt over the death of the little Prince, Clara Wolfe jumped into the Serpentine in Hyde Park and was drowned. When King George V learned this in adulthood, he added a plaque to the stone memorial by the pond that claimed the life of his younger brother erected in Eddy’s memory in 1829. Beneath the inscription for Prince Edward he added the words; “And also to the cherished memory of the King’s governess and companion, Clara Wolfe, Died aged 24 years”. 1829 had begun in the worst way possible for the Royal Family. Princess Charlotte Louise later wrote of the incident; “All that was left to us was to pray. We prayed for our dear brother’s soul and we prayed that our happiness would soon return”.


[1] It should be noted that Wellington himself was against Catholic emancipation until not long before he became Prime Minister. He stated his opposition until such a time as he could no longer find a reason to vote against the relief acts. In this TL, the situation is more urgent and being a military man, I believe he’d understand the importance of avoiding a prolonged and costly Civil War and so drop his opposition to emancipation as he did in the OTL around the same time.

[2] The Duke of Clarence took up this post in 1827 in the OTL.

[3] In the OTL, Harrowby refused to serve in any government that would not introduce electoral reform or Catholic emancipation. When these issues finally came before the Commons he was invited back into government but refused because he felt he could not serve King George IV (Prince Regent). Obviously in this TL, that isn’t an issue as we had a different George IV who in 1828, is a year since dead.

[4] This follows the basic timeline of this legislation in the OTL with a few minor butterflies over the date it was introduced because of the nature of this TL’s government being somewhat different. Some might question why Wellington (with a majority) would back an opposition bill but remember, he has inherited a deeply divided Tory party and would need opposition support to get such a bill through. He would therefore be unlikely (as he was in the OTL) to stand on principle that the government should be the authors of the legislation.

[5] Okay, Dash arrives a year earlier on the scene and call me sentimental but I just couldn’t separate Victoria from her favourite pooch!

And for those who want to follow such things:

The First Wellington Ministry
  • First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Lords: The Duke of Wellington
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer: William Huskisson (until 1830, see Chapter Six).
  • Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: Henry Goulburn
  • Secretary of State for the Home Department and Leader of the House of Commons: Robert Peel
  • Secretary of State for War and the Colonies: Alexander Baring
  • Lord Chancellor: John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst
  • Lord President of the Council: William Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland
  • Lord Privy Seal: Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby
  • First Lord of the Admiralty: The Duke of Clarence
  • President of the Board of Control: Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
  • Master-General of the Ordnance: William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford
 
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