Royal Wedding, circa 1816

April 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm (a day in the life, british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , , , , , )


Hmmm… many Jane Austen sites have had a similar idea: to focus on the “wedding of the century” in Jane Austen’s lifetime, that of the Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in May 1816.

To read those accounts, see Austenonly; Jane Austen’s World; The Regency Fashion Page; Princess Charlotte’s page on Wikipedia.

All give detailed accounts of the princess’ wedding dress. So I guess I won’t go there! Although it was hearing that the dress was “on display” which interested me in the first place.

But, with a little digging, Smith&Gosling can offer some “timely” insight from sources more in the know: The Princess Charlotte was mentioned in the letters and diaries; at least once with some amusement in a letter written by Emma Smith.

* * *

A brief “book break” —

Here is a slightly unusual book on the Princess: Mrs Herbert Jones’ The Princess Charlotte of Wales: An Illustrated Monograph (1885).
The Memoirs of the late Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales and Saxe Cobourg (1818).
The Life & Memoirs of Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte (1821).
Royal Correspondence, or Letters between her late Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte and her Royal Mother, Queen Caroline (1822).

* * *

And on to Emma Smith!

Mary Gosling’s girlhood diaries are of travels; so far (maybe…), there is nothing “daily” prior to 1829. Emma Smith, however, began keeping a daily journal in 1815. Youthful Mary is perhaps a loss when it is realized that her youngest sister, Charlotte, had as godmother QUEEN CHARLOTTE!

Emma, at this stage in her life, makes a nice reporter. Why? because she had met (and corresponded with) one of the daughters of the Duke of Clarence (the future William IV). The Duke and the Miss Fitzclarences even attended a gathering, to which Emma went in May 1815, at her aunt Mrs Thomas Smith’s home. Surely Mary and Elizabeth were the “two Goslings” who accompanied Mamma, Augusta, Emma and Fanny.

But let’s focus on weddings. From Emma’s 1816 diary:

Friday 3 May The princess Charlotte was married to the Prince of Saxe Coburgh. The ceremony was performed at Carleton house & afterwards they went to Oatlands.

Wednesday 29 May Mama & Augusta dined at Mrs Gosling’s then they went to the Ancient Music where they saw the Princess Charlotte & the Prince of Saxe Coburgh I drank tea with the Goslings

Monday 22 July The Princess Mary married the Duke of Gloster a very sumptuous wedding at the Queen’s house. they then went to Bagshot

Tuesday 23 July Lady Burgess was married to the Earl of Paulett at her house Picadilly  There were about 18 people at the wedding the Duke of Clarence gave her away

Lady Burgess was Emma’s great aunt, the widow of Sir John Smith Burgess (he took his wife’s name), brother of Sir Drummond Smith and Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park.

more soon (including Emma’s rather amusing letter…)

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