The True Story of Queen Charlotte and King George III's Wedding
In the very first episode of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Charlotte arrives in England, and marries King George III. Though Charlotte first debates climbing over a wall to escape her impending nuptials, she eventually stays and marries George.
While the real Queen Charlotte likely didn't try to climb over a wall (though we will never know!), she did, indeed, marry King George on the same day she arrived in England.
On August 17, 1761, Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and her brother, Adolphus Frederick IV, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, left Strelitz for Great Britain. They had a stormy voyage, and arrived in Essex on September 7, 1761. They spent the evening in Wiltham, and arrived the following day at St. James's Palace in London.
Percy Fitzgerald recounts her arrival to St. James's in The Good Queen Charlotte, writing, "When the cavalcade drew up before the small private garden-gate of the Palace, she was welcomed by the Duke of York. The next moment she was before a large group — the king, his great officers, and ladies. It was an agitating scene for all. It was said indeed that the young creature, seeing a cushion before the old Duke of Grafton, was on the point of kneeling to him. She then attempted to kneel to the king, but he checked her and kissed her hand. No wonder that she was observed to tremble as she met all the grand personages. Yet when the free-and-easy Duchess of Hamilton smiled at her —'You may laugh,' the young princess said smartly; 'you have been married twice, but it is no joke for me.'"
After her arrival, Charlotte went to meet Princess Augusta, the Princess Dowager, and that night, at 9 p.m., George and Charlotte were married at the Chapel Royal by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker.
Fitzergald writes of the royal wedding: "The pleasant good-humour of the bride never deserted her for a moment. When she was told to kiss the peeresses she seemed pleased, but when she saw the long trains of bridesmaids, she seemed taken aback. 'Mon Dieu,' she cried, "'Such a number of kisses!'"
There were ten bridesmaids, all of whom were ladies: Sarah Lennox, Caroline Russell, Caroline Montague, Harriet Bentinck, Anne Hamilton, E. Kerr, Elizabeth Keppel, Louisa Greville, Elizabeth Harcourt, and Susan Fox Strangways.
To her wedding, Charlotte "wore 'an endless mantle' of rich violet and purple velvet, lined with ermine, over a white satin and silver dress. It was noticed that this ponderous mantle, which 'was attempted to be fastened on her shoulders by a bunch of pearls, dragged itself and almost the rest of her clothes half way down her waist.' But the jewels—a tiara of diamonds, a necklet, and a stomacher said to be worth £90,ooo, must have made a dazzling show indeed." (Fitzgerald was quoting from the letters of Horace Walpole, who was present at the wedding.)
Two weeks after their wedding, their coronation ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey. King George and Queen Charlotte would be married for 57 years, and would have 15 children.
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