I'm thrilled to welcome Catherine Curzon to my blog with news of her new book, Life in the Georgian Court. The book is available in the United States now, as well as in the UK and elsewhere. It's a sumptuous book, and I highly recommend it! I asked Catherine to give us a little taste of what we might find in the pages of her new book.
Death of a Devoted Consort
Whilst researching Life in the Georgian Court, it swiftly became apparent that there can can be few royal consorts as devoted as Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III. From the heady early days of their union in 1761 Charlotte was a loving and faithful spouse and her husband turned his back on the long-established royal tradition of taking mistresses, happy in the company of his quiet, graceful queen. Throughout the years of their marriage, with all the well-documented health problems both physical and mental that George suffered, Charlotte remained his loving and most protective companion.
As the old queen entered her seventy fourth year, she had never been more fragile. Her husband’s tenuous mental health had seen him confined to Windsor Castle and though she tried her best to continue with her official duties, it was becoming painfully clear that Charlotte was in failing health. Her last public engagement came in April of 1818 when she visited the Mansion House to attend a prize giving in honour of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor.
Following that last philanthropic engagement Charlotte gathered her daughters to her and took up a secluded residence at Dutch House. Away from the bustle of official duties the queen still hoped that she might recover her health enough to travel on to Windsor to join her husband, but it was not to be. In fact, far from growing stronger, her wellbeing declined at a rapid rate. Hidden away from the public gaze Charlotte suffered terribly. Her legs swelled, joints growing sore and gangrenous until she could barely get around at all.
The ailing queen’s immobility contributed to her worsening health and as the year drew on she contracted pneumonia, the final illness of her eventful life. On 17th November 1818 Charlotte settled in a comfortable armchair, her children at her side. With her frail hand held safely in that of her son, the Prince Regent, the queen passed quietly away. Only in death did she make that longed for trip to Windsor, where she was laid to rest. King George III, suffering from dementia, never learnt of his beloved wife's death and followed her to the grave just eighteen months later.
About the Author
Her work has featured by publications including BBC History Extra, All About History, History of Royals, Explore History and Jane Austen’s Regency World. She has also provided additional material for the sell-out theatrical show, , which she introduced at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, last night.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, she lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.
About Life in the Georgian Court
As the glittering Hanoverian court gives birth to the British Georgian era, a golden age of royalty dawns in Europe. Houses rise and fall, births, marriages and scandals change the course of history and in France, Revolution stalks the land.
Peep behind the shutters of the opulent court of the doomed Bourbons, the absolutist powerhouse of Romanov Russia and the epoch-defining family whose kings gave their name to the era, the House of Hanover.
Behind the pomp and ceremony were men and women born into worlds of immense privilege, yet beneath the powdered wigs and robes of state were real people living lives of romance, tragedy, intrigue and eccentricity. Take a journey into the private lives of very public figures and learn of arranged marriages that turned to love or hate and scandals that rocked polite society.
Here the former wife of a king spends three decades in lonely captivity, Prinny makes scandalous eyes at the toast of the London stage and Marie Antoinette begins her last, terrible journey through Paris as her son sits alone in a forgotten prison cell.
Life in the Georgian Court is a privileged peek into the glamorous, tragic and iconic courts of the Georgian world, where even a king could take nothing for granted.
Anonymous. The Life and Memoirs of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Saxe Coburg Saalfeld & C. London: T. Kinnersley, 1818.
Campbell Orr, Clarissa. Queenship in Europe 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Craig, William Marshall. Memoir of Her Majesty Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, Queen of Great Britain. Liverpool: Henry Fisher, 1818.
Fraser, Flora. Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III. Edinburgh: A&C Black, 2012.
Hadlow, Janice. The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians. London: William Collins, 2014.
Hibbert, Christopher. George III: A Personal History. London: Viking, 1998.
Oulton, CW. Authentic and Impartial Memoirs of Her Late Majesty: Charlotte Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Kinnersley, 1819.