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Queen Charlotte – Biography

Below is the detailed biography of Queen Charlotte of England. She was a Black Queen and the second one of them. She was the direct descendant of an African branch of the Royal House of the Portuguese. There were six different lines that could be traced back to the Portuguese Royal House – Margarita de Castro y Sousa.

Early Life of Queen Charlotte

A portrait of Queen Charlotte

Princess Sophie Charlotte was born on the 19th of May, 1744. She was the daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg and his wife Princess Elisabeth Albertine. She was born in Mirow, a town in a district of Germany. she was homeschooled and taught subjects like botany, religion, natural history, and the different languages, she ought to know as a princess.

Most of her education was focused on household management and religion when she was taught by a priest. She was well learned about princely duties and monarch life.

Prince Sophie Charlotte as Queen Charlotte of England and Ireland

A portrait of the 17 year old Princess Sophie Charlotte

After the death of George II, George III was only 22 years old and unmarried. He was the heir to the throne of England and supposed to be coronated. However, his lack of companionship worried his mother and the ministers of the English rule. Having positive acquaintances with the father of Sophie Charlotte, the monarchy of England decided to have her married to the new King when she was 17 years of age.

She was 17 years old, young and a well experienced the German dutchy rule. She was intrigued by the way the British monarchy functioned. King George III called upon his council in 1761 after which he and his royal council went to Germany to conduct the Queenship of Princess Charlotte

The wedding of Princess Charlotte and King George III was quite an affair. It was 3 days continuous celebration for the people as well as the courtiers. They even took a voyage back to London which was filled with buffet parties and performances. However, they encountered a storm and the journey became difficult.

As soon as they came back to London, they were received with a heartwarming welcome at the garden gates of the palace. Their ceremony was conducted at the Chapel Royal at St James Palace. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided over their vows.

The Queenship

A painting of Queen Charlotte of Great Britain and Ireland

It is known that Charlotte would not speak English at the time of her wedding. She learned the language while she was living in London. She is known to have had a strong German accent all her life.

She gave birth to her first child in the very first year of her marriage. The first child was George IV, the heir to the throne after King George III. They had 15 children together but only two out of all of them survived until adulthood.

A painting of Queen Charlotte with her daughter

The couple resided at St James Palace which was a little more private as compared to the Buckingham Palace. The Queen spent most of her time at St James and it later came to be known as ‘The Queens House’. During the initial years of her Queenship, she had a hard time dealing with her mother in law, who expected her to adapt to British cultures and court etiquettes quickly. This created discomfort in their relationship.

Queen Charlotte was interested in interior decorations and architectures which is why she was responsible for the decoration of their newly constructed house, the Windsor Castle.

In the years of the 1760s, the King started to become unwell. In this case, a regency bill was passed declaring that if the King remains unwell forever, then Queen Charlotte will act as the new regent. However, the King recovered. This bill was strongly opposed by her mother in law and a few ministers.

Such situations arose a number of times, however, the King had to recover. Later, when George IV became Prince of Wales, there were quarrels among the Queen and her son as to who would take the throne. This happened quite a few times when the King was suspected of mental illness.

Queen Charlotte – Interests and Hobbies

Both, the King and the Queen were admirers of German music, folk, and art. They called upon German artists and musicians to play in the courtyard. The queen was also quite interested in botany and designed the Kew Gardens by herself.

Travelers and discoverers kept bringing in new species that she would plant in their large garden. The South African flower – the Bird of Paradise came to be known as ‘Strelitzia reginae’ after her.

The Queen founded orphanages and provided funds at hospitals for women that used to be expecting. Back then, it was called the ‘General Lying-in Hospital’. Today, it is known as the Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital.

Later Life and Death of Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte spent most of her later life in being involved in the actions and day to day administration of the monarchy of Great Britain. This is because the King had lost his sanity and could not function or come before the English public.

However, her popularity decreased and her sons grew. She died in his arms on the 17th of November 1818. She was the second longest serving Consort in the British Royal Lineage. It is certain that her husband King George III who died the following year was not even aware of his wife’s death as he was deaf, blind and lame during this time.

Her belongings were sold at auctions and her jewels were claimed by her elder son – King George IV.