/ p.164 /
AT the change of administration in February, 1801, the king appointed Earl St. Vincent First Lord of the Admiralty, intimating to him that it was in consequence of his great victory in 1797. Mr. Addington succeeded Mr. Pitt as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and preliminaries of peace*
* The preliminaries were signed in London on the 1st of October, 1801, and in Paris on the 5th of the same month. The Treaty of Peace was concluded at Amiens on the 27th of March, 1802, and war again declared on the 18th of May, 1803.
were signed with Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic. Mr. Nepean continued Secretary to the Admiralty, and Sir Thomas Troubridge and Admiral Markham became two of the new Lords, with apartments at the Admiralty. To be near my friends I took apartments close to Whitehall, and passed much of my time with them, going frequently to the Opera / p.165 / with Sir Philip and Miss Stephens, and to the Concerts of Ancient Music with Lady Macartney. Lord*
* Son of the Marquis of Aylesbury.
and Lady Bruce, whom I had known in Italy, came to town in the spring, as did also Lord and Lady Rolle, all of whom were very kind to me. The Prince and Princess Castelcicala — the former was the Neapolitan minister — likewise showed me every attention.
Mr. Pitt and his friends, who had quitted office because the country was clamorous for peace, had promised to support Mr. Addington's administration; but the harmony that existed between the two parties was not of long duration. The reform of abuses in the Navy-office and dockyards excited a loud outcry against Lord St. Vincent and his adherents, and even Mr. Nepean took part against him. Sir Philip Stephens, however, like a prudent man long used to office, kept on good terms with all parties. He was the oldest member of Parliament, having represented Sandwich fourteen times.
About this time I became acquainted with Lady Macartney's sister, Lady Lonsdale, a very agreeable person, and a great favourite with everybody. It was remarked, that if you had to invite to a dinner-party some who were intimate with one another and others who were not, and a lady were wanted to complete the arrangement, Lady Lonsdale was / p.166 / the person to be asked, as she was certain to be agreeable to all parties. I was likewise introduced by Lord Abercorn to the well-informed, mild, and amiable Dr. Howley, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. Early in 1802 I was presented to their Majesties at a drawing-room by Lady Aylesbury, and was received very graciously.
The people of England had been very desirous to have peace, but they soon perceived how little they had gained by it. It is the custom of the nation every now and then to be seized with a violent mania, but its good sense speedily recals it to a proper understanding of its real duties and interests. The war was, therefore, renewed, and carried on with vigour, though nothing was spoken of for some time but the threatened invasion. A gentleman, who was fishing in a sequestered spot not far from London, was accosted by an old woman of the neighbourhood, who entered into conversation with him on various matters. After a little he asked her if she were not alarmed about Bonaparte's landing on the island. "Oh dear, no!" she answered. "I am up to all that. He was expected here when I was a young woman, and he nearly came. At that time they called him the Pretender, and now they call him Bonaparte."
In the course of the following winter I frequently called upon Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, the / p.167 / translator of "Epictetus." She was a person of excellent principles and solid good sense. She used to say, "There are two men of great talent who now govern the world: the one, Bonaparte, with his sword; and the other, Mr. Pitt, with his money." With respect to women, she once remarked: "It is thought that men have all the advantage over us in this world, but I think we have one invaluable advantage over them — we are not obliged to be politicians." She used to dine out every day with different friends while in London, though far advanced in years, and I often met her at Lady Charlotte Finch's.
Of that charming person it would be difficult to say enough. She was the daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, and passed the early part of her youth at Florence, with her mother, whose correspondence with the Duchess of Somerset has been published.*
* Correspondence of Henrietta Louisa Fermor, Countess of Pomfret, and Frances, Countess of Hartford, afterwards Duchess of Somerset. — Three vols. 8vo. London: 1805.
They had destined her in marriage to the son of the duchess, but he died before the ceremony could take place, and she afterwards married Mr. Finch, a brother of the Earl of Winchilsea. As soon as the Prince of Wales was born she took her station by his cradle, on being appointed governess to the royal infant and his future brothers and sisters. She had continued in the exercise of that duty till / p.168 / they were all grown up, and never was any one in a similar employment more sincerely or more justly esteemed and beloved. Her judgment was clear, and her manners perfect. I have always thought it equally honourable to her royal pupils and to herself, that, however differing in pursuits and disposition, they were all warmly attached to Lady Charlotte Finch, and never varied in their affection for her. It might truly be said of her that she was "formed to make virtue amiable." I spent many pleasant hours with her, her daughters, and grand-daughters, and indeed the whole month of October, 1804, at her son Lord Winchilsea's seat, in Rutlandshire.
One morning in March, 1805, Lady Aylesbury communicated to me the queen's wishes with regard to myself. Her Majesty had been pleased to express a desire that I should be attached to her person without any particular employment, but that I should be lodged at Windsor, in a house belonging to her Majesty, and with a maid in her service to do the work of the house. Her Majesty added, that she would allow me three hundred pounds a year, and that I should be present at her evening parties, when invited, and always on Sundays and red-letter days, and be ready to attend upon her in the morning when required to do so; but that I should have leave to visit my friends, particularly when their Majesties were at Wey- / p.169 / mouth, where my services would not be wanted. This proposal I accepted gratefully, and the more so that it was quite unsolicited on my part.
A short time before it had been reported, and even in the public prints, that Lady Aylesbury was to be governess to the Princess Charlotte, who was then nine years of age, and that I was to be sub-governess, but nothing of the kind was ever mentioned to me. Since then, indeed, I have had reason to believe that Mr. Pitt wished it should be so, but Lady Aylesbury declined, on account of the employments she held about the queen, as she was one of the senior ladies of her bedchamber. Lady Aylesbury and the Dowager Lady Ilchester shared this service between them, while the king and queen were stationary at Windsor, but both accompanied their Majesties to Weymouth. The former, as I have already said, was a most agreeable and amiable person. She was the eldest sister of Lord Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, and was perfectly well-bred and natural in her manners, and to myself the kindest of friends. She took me one morning to the queen, after the arrangement had been made, and in June I received my first summons to Windsor. I stayed there for a fortnight before their Majesties and the princesses removed to Weymouth, where they had been in the habit of passing two or three months every summer. But this was their last visit to that / p.170 / watering-place, for the king was now losing his eyesight very fast.
In December I became a resident at Windsor. The unmarried princesses, who were still at home, were very kind and gracious to me. The Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge were often at the Castle in the evening, but the dukes of York and Clarence seldom, if ever, slept there. The queen had her ladies and those of the princesses to dine with her, and the king came in at the dessert, for he dined at an early hour. The aides-de-camp, and other gentlemen on service, dined at the Upper Lodge. It is difficult to form an idea of a more domestic family in any rank of life, or a house in which the visitors — for those on duty were considered as such — were treated with greater attention.
The queen used often to call for me between ten and eleven on her way to Frogmore, where she liked to spend her mornings. She was fond of reading aloud, either in French or English, and I had my work. Her library there was well furnished with books in those languages and in German, and she was so good as to give me a key, with permission to take home any that I liked. Sometimes we walked in the gardens of that pleasant place, Princess Elizabeth being usually of our party, and not unfrequently Princess Mary. The Princesses Augusta and Sophia rode with the king. The Princess Elizabeth had a pretty cottage and / p.171 / garden at Old Windsor, where she would sometimes in summer give little fêtes. It was at Frogmore that the queen generally celebrated the birthdays of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, as they were both in August, while Princess Elizabeth did the same for the Duke of Clarence's birthday, which was also in that month. And in November the queen gave a fête for those of the Princesses Augusta and Sophia.
[At this point the autobiography breaks off suddenly, and a blank also occurs in the rough diaries. The former recommences in October, 1809, and the latter some months earlier, but the entries are wholly devoid of interest until the end of May, 1810.]
The year 1810 was a very melancholy one at Windsor. The attempt to assassinate the Duke of Cumberland caused great disquietude. Then followed the afflicting illness which ended in the death of the amiable Princess Amelia. And, lastly, the malady that overwhelmed our excellent sovereign cast a gloom over the Castle, which was never removed during the remainder of my stay in its neighbourhood.
It was only a few days*
* On the 31st of May the Duke of Cumberland returned to town from a dinner at Greenwich, in order to be present at a concert for the benefit of the Royal Society of Musicians. He retired to rest about one o'clock, and awoke a little after two, in consequence, as he thought, of a bat flying about the room. He had actually, however, received a severe sword-cut on the head, which was quickly followed up by a second. As his royal highness / p.172 / sprang out of bed the assassin cut him across the arm, and, in all, inflicted some half-dozen wounds before the duke could make his escape from the room. His cries quickly brought an English valet (Neale) to the spot, when a sabre belonging to the duke was found on the floor of the bedroom. Sellis, his Corsican or Italian valet, was then discovered stretched on his bed, partly undressed, and with his throat cut from ear to ear. The circumstantial evidence in proof of his guilt was conclusive, though many calumnious stories were afterwards circulated tending to criminate the duke himself, who had stood godfather to Sellis's last child. At the coroner's inquest the jury brought in a verdict of "felo de se," and the body of the wretched man was accordingly buried in "the high road" in Scotland-yard.
/ p.171 / previous to the king's / p.172 / birthday that the Duke of Cumberland was awakened by an assassin. He defended himself, but received several wounds. One of his people, a Piedmontese, named Sellis, was found with his throat cut in his bedroom, which was not far from the duke's. Another page, an Irishman, who used to sleep in a closet adjoining the room of his royal highness, was not forthcoming at the moment, though it was the duke's orders that every one should be at home by eleven o'clock. His excuse was, that he had gone to sup with his wife on some dainty that had been sent to her. A pair of slippers, with the name of Sellis inside, was found in a closet within the duke's room, and the result of the inquest was a verdict that Sellis had been the assassin, and had afterwards committed suicide. Still there were some circumstances that threw a doubt upon his guilt. The slippers were old, and the name written in them appeared to be in French, whereas Sellis was a Piedmontese, and there were reasons for supposing that it was a greater person who had counselled the crime. Sellis was left-handed, but / p.173 / one of the physicians who examined the body said that a left-handed man could not have cut his throat in the manner indicated by the wound; another surgeon, however, said that he could. The duke gave a pension to his Irish page, and dismissed him. This man had a brother who had a good appointment in Windsor Castle, and a family, but he resigned, and went away. The duke was removed to Carlton House by the orders of the Prince of Wales, who watched over him with great tenderness until he was perfectly recovered, although from difference of political views they had not been on the best terms previous to this sad affair. It was the fashion to go and see the duke's apartments, which for several days were left in the same state as when he was removed. The visitors discovered traces of blood upon the walls, &c. &c., but, for my part, I did not join the crowd whose curiousity led them to this horrid scene.
I come now to a most melancholy time. Dear Princess Amelia,*
* The Princess Amelia was born on the 7th of August, 1782, and died on the 2nd of November, 1810. From her earliest infancy she was extremely delicate, and perhaps for that reason was the especial favourite of the king. His malady was greatly aggravated by the shock which he sustained one day when he visited her during her last illness. The princess slipped upon his finger a ring, containing a lock of her hair under a crystal, and beneath the hair were inscribed her name and the words "Remember me."
who had derived no benefit from a lengthened visit to Weymouth, was removed to Windsor, and inhabited a lodge near the Castle. Day by day she sank more and more under her great sufferings. Though pale and emaciated, she / p.174 / still retained her beauty. She wished to live, but was thoroughly resigned when she found there was no hope of her remaining long upon earth. Her sentiments of piety were pure, enlightened, and fervent. I saw her a few days before her death, when, taking off her glove, she showed me her hand — it was perfectly transparent.
She was particularly fond of music, but latterly could not bear the sound of a pianoforte even in another room. The Princess Augusta thereupon gave her a bird which sang very sweetly, and with a very soft note, and she took pleasure in listening to it. When the king saw his beloved daughter for the last time, she said to him, "Remember me, but do not grieve for me." Alas! the king was soon no longer himself. Her illness and the loss of Hanover preyed sadly upon his mind.
I shall never forget the last evening of my seeing him. It was the anniversary of his accession. The whole family, except the Queen of Wurtemberg*
* Previously Princess Royal of England.
and dear Princess Amelia, were present when he entered the room, the queen holding his arm. As he went round the circle as usual, it was easy to perceive the dreadful excitement in his countenance. As he could not distinguish persons, it was the custom to speak to him as he approached, that he might recognise by the voice whom he was about to address. I forget what it was I said to him, but / p.175 / shall ever remember what he said to me: "You are not uneasy, I am sure, about Amelia. You are not to be deceived, but you know that she is in no danger." At the same time he squeezed my hand with such force that I could scarcely help crying out.*
* This would have been a gross breach of etiquette. In Madame d'Arblay's Memoirs there are some good-naturedly satirical directions given as to the conduct to be observed in the presence of royalty. "You must not upon any account stir either hand or foot. If, by chance, a black pin runs into your head, you must not take it out. If the pain is very great, you must be sure to bear it without wincing; if it brings the tears into your eyes, you must not wipe them off; if they give you a tingling by running down your cheeks, you must look as if nothing was the matter," &c. &c. — Vol. ii. p. 407.
The queen, however, dragged him away. When tea was served, I perceived how much alarmed I had been, for my hand shook so that I could hardly take the cup.
When the king was seated he called to him each of his sons separately, and said things to them equally sublime and instructive, but very unlike what he would have said before so many people had he been conscious of the circumstance. I never did and never will repeat what I then heard, and I sincerely believe that all present felt as I did on that occasion. His Majesty had a long conversation with Count Munster on the affairs of Hanover, so that it could only be understood by those who were acquainted with the German language. I was then convinced of the very deep impression made on him by the fate of that country. On the following evening I was not at the Castle, and it was the last on which he appeared in society.
/ p.176 /
Princess Amelia expired on the birthday of the Duke of Kent, who had had some dispute with the Duke of York, then commander-in-chief. I was told, however, by Lady Aylesbury, who was in waiting, and had dined quietly with the melancholy party of the royal family, that the Duke of York said to her, in a whisper: "Though this is a sad day, I must drink the health of poor Edward."
Two days afterwards Princess Augusta sent for me, and as I was sitting with her, one of her dressers entered the room with a birdcage in her hand, and her fingers in her eyes. "Princess Amelia," she said, "gave orders before her death that this bird should be returned to your royal highness; but not on the day she died, nor the day after, that it might not afflict you too much in the first hours of your grief. But she wished you to know how much she was obliged to you for giving it to her, and what a comfort its sweet voice had been."
Two ladies sat up with the corpse every night until the time of the funeral. I was directed to perform this duty one night with Lady George Murray.*
* Lady George Murray was widow of Lord George Murray, Bishop of St. David's. George the Third, proposing to appoint her preceptress to Princess Charlotte in 1805, commanded Mr. Rose to state distinctly what he knew about that lady. Mr. Rose then said, "that as a girl she was remarkably amiable, and very innocent; that she had been married when little more than a child to a young man under age; that she had conducted herself most unexceptionably, to say the least, both as a wife and mother; that he had never heard a syllable to her disadvantage, but much in her commendation." — Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose, vol. ii.
We were in a room adjoining that in / p.177 / which was the coffin, with the doors open. On the table was a book, which had been a favourite with Princess Amelia. It was Tillikeper's "Thoughts on Religious Subjects," and many of them had a pencil mark. The passages thus distinguished testified to the feelings and judgment of the Princess, and I asked leave to transcribe them into the copy of that work which she herself had given to me.
The King recovered sufficiently to be told of her death, and he arranged everything relating to the ceremony of the funeral. It appeared, indeed, that before his late serious attack he had made some preparations for this event, although, in the wanderings of his imagination, he could not think her in danger. However this might be, the matter was settled very properly. One of the Queen's ladies was to go as chief mourner,*
* The pall was supported by the Viscountess Cranley, Lady E. Thynne, the Countess of Ely, and Lady G. Murray. The chief mourner was the Countess of Chesterfield, whose train was borne by Lady Halford, the wife of the eminent physician, supported by the Countesses of Macclesfield and Ilchester. The ladies attendant on the Queen and Princesses who were present on this occasion were Lady Albinia Cumberland, Miss Goldsworthy, Mrs. Williams, Hon. Mrs Fielding, Hon. Mrs. Egerton, Hon. Miss Townshend, Madame and Mademoiselle Beckersdorff, Miss Knight, Mrs. Adams, Miss Montmollin, Miss Planta, Miss Gaskin, Miss Byerley, Mrs. Davenport, and Mrs. Robinson. The funeral took place in the evening of the 14th of November.
followed, of course, by others belonging to the Princesses; but, although I had no engagement of that kind, the King chose that I should have a place in the procession, knowing how sincerely I was attached to / p.178 / the Princess. I also heard that when lying on her death-bed, that the two persons whom the Princess most warmly recommended to her father, were Mrs. Williams — who had been her nurse, and was then attending her — and myself. I was also named amongst the few persons to whom she desired that remembrances should be given.
For the anthem the King had selected a passage from the sixteenth Psalm, which used to be often sung by the Princess and her father. The conclusion,*
* The words of the concluding verse of the sixteenth Psalm: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
"In thy presence is gladness, and fulness of joy," raised my spirits from the depression into which they had fallen; and, when I returned home, gave me a better night's rest than I had enjoyed for some time.
/ p.179 /
THE amendment in the state of the King's mind was only temporary. From this time he was lost to his family and to his subjects; but his name was still held sacred—he was still beloved and respected. Among the aberrations of his mind there was one which must greatly have contributed to his comfort. He fancied that Princess Amelia was not dead, but living at Hanover, where she would never grow older, and always be well. He endeavoured to impart the same consolation to one of his physicians, who was lamenting the loss of his wife, by telling him that she was not dead, but living at Hanover with Amelia.
*The comet of 1811 was first discovered at Viviers by M. de Flanguergues on the 25th March. It was seen at Marseilles by the Messrs. Pons on the 11th April, and at Paris on the 20th May. It then became invisible until some time in August, when it was first seen in England. Its nearest approach to the earth was on the 24th of October, on which the Gentleman's Magazine remarks: "We regret to say that the awfully sublime stranger will not much longer appear to the same advantage to our view." The length of its tail was conjectured to be between twenty and thirty millions of miles.
made a magnificent appearance, and seemed to clear the atmosphere from storms and rain.
The year 1812, remarkable in history on many accounts, was the last which I passed at Windsor. The Regency was now established, fêtes were given at Carlton House, and the Queen and Princesses went occasionally to town. Several birthdays also were kept at Frogmore, and at Princess Elizabeth's cottage at Old Windsor.
Princess Charlotte was now in her seventeenth year, and was for some time a visitor at the Castle. Her governess,†
† The Princess's governesses were the Countess Elgin and Baroness de Clifford. In 1809, Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, was appointed her Royal Highness's preceptor, with Drs. Nott and Short as his assistants.
Lady de Clifford, having gone to / p.181 / town on account of illness, the Queen commanded me to be present at her Royal Highness's lessons; or, I should rather say, asked me to be present when her sub-preceptor, Dr. Short, read to her. She was at that time allowed to dine once a fortnight with the Princess of Wales, her mother, at Kensington Palace. I was appointed to accompany her, and received my instructions accordingly. I was not to leave Princess Charlotte one moment alone with her mother, nor prolong our stay beyond a certain hour. When we arrived, the Princess of Wales proposed our seeing the state apartments in Kensington Palace, which occupied our time till dinner was served; after which, Lady Charlotte Campbell,*
* Afterwards Lady Charlotte Bury, authoress of "A Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth," and of many now forgotten novels, such as "The Disinherited," "The Devoted," "Flirtation," "Fortune-Hunting," &c.
who was in waiting on the Princess of Wales, played and sang to Princess Charlotte. The Princess of Wales made me sit by her side on the sofa, and was very gracious.
I must say that I neither saw nor heard anything extraordinary during this visit. Her Royal Highness desired me to give her duty to the Queen, with her thanks for having allowed her daughter to come that day. Of course I executed this commission when I attended Princess Charlotte to the Castle, where we arrived before the party was over. On our way from Kensington to Windsor the carriage stopped, and Lord Yarmouth, who was at / p.182 / that time the most intimate friend of the Prince Regent, came up to the door to speak to the Princess. He, no doubt, afterwards informed the Prince that all was right.
Towards the end of this year I had leave from the Queen to go to town in consequence of a message from Lady Charlotte Rawdon, who wished me to assist her in watching over the sick-bed of her excellent sister, Lady Aylesbury, who had long been in a sad state of health, and was now extremely ill. Lady Aylesbury had been to me more than a sister, and her death was a heavy blow to me. I was standing with Lord Hastings beside her bed when she expired,*
* Lady Aylesbury died in Seymour-street, on the 8th of January, 1813.
with a calmness that had never forsaken her during all her sufferings.
During the time I was tending Lady Aylesbury's sick-bed, I had frequent letters from the Royal Family, and wrote daily accounts to her Majesty. She came to town one day, and sent for me. I think it was the day before Lady Aylesbury died. Her Majesty, after inquiring whether any hope remained, told me that a change was about to take place in Princess Charlotte's establishment, that Lady de Clifford had resigned, and that the Duchess-Dowager of Leeds was to be governess; besides whom, there must be a lady or two. She asked me whether I thought Lady Charlotte Rawdon would be a proper person; but desired I would / p.183 / not say a word to her on the subject. I stated some difficulties which I thought would render this choice inconvenient, and, at the same time, hinted what Lady Aylesbury, I knew, wished, and what I thought might do very well, namely, that Miss Rawdon*
* Lady Aylesbury's niece.
should be about the Princess Charlotte. The Queen seemed rather embarrassed: and dismissed me, as she was going out. I had some hours before received a letter from Princess Mary, hinting to me the same question about Lady C. Rawdon, which I had communicated to Lady Aylesbury, whose sentiments on the subject I therefore knew.
In my other letters from the Castle I had learned the scene which had taken place. Princess Charlotte, having nearly attained her seventeenth birthday (which took place on the 7th January, 1813), had written a letter to Lord Liverpool, expressing a desire that, as she understood Lady de Clifford had resigned, she might have no other governess, but an establishment of her own, and ladies in waiting. As I did not hear this from Princess Charlotte herself, or see the letter, I cannot exactly say how it was worded, but I believe she wrote it by the advice of Miss Mercer Elphinstone,†
† Daughter of Lord Keith; afterwards Baroness Keith (1823)—married in 1817 the Count de Flahault, the present (1860-61) French Ambassador at our Court.
her old and intimate friend, with whom she was not at that time allowed any communication, on account of oppo- / p.184 / sition principles, which, since the change of the Prince's politics, he had forbidden. The resignation of Lady de Clifford, and the consequent arrangements, had been studiously kept from her Royal Highness, and she was terrified as to what was to be her lot when she discovered these circumstances. How she found means to write to Miss Elphinstone, or hear from her, I know not, but imagine it was through the Princess of Wales. I have always thought that the advice was suggested to Miss Elphinstone chiefly by Lord Erskine. However this may be, the Prince was violently angry when he heard of the letter, and took Lord Eldon (the Chancellor) down with him to Windsor, where, in the Queen's room, before her Majesty, Princess Mary, and Lady de Clifford, in a very rough manner the learned Lord explained the law of England as not allowing her Royal Highness what she demanded; and on the Prince's asking what he would have done as a father, he is said to have answered, "If she had been my daughter, I would have locked her up." Princess Charlotte heard all this with great dignity, and answered not a word; but she afterwards went into the room of one of her aunts, burst into tears, and exclaimed, "What would the King say if he could know that his grand-daughter had been compared to the grand-daughter of a collier?"*
* Lord Eldon's grandfather, William Scott, of Sandgate, was "said to have been clerk to a 'fitter,' and who, in the latter part of his life himself / p.185 / became the owner of several 'keels' — a 'fitter' being the person who buys and sells coals between the owner of the mine and the shipper, and who conveys them in 'keels,' or barges, from the higher parts of the Tyne to Newcastle or Shields, where they are loaded for exportation." — Lord Campbell's Life of Lord Eldon.
Lady Charlotte Campbell thus relates this scene at second-hand: "Sunday, 17th (January), Lady de Clifford came and told the Princess all the story of the Regent's scolding Princess Charlotte over again, and repeated what he had said in respect to her never having an establishment till she married. He had also, she said, called her a fool, and used other violent language. The Chancellor told the Princess Charlotte that if she had been his daughter, and had written him such a letter, he would have locked her up till she came to her senses. 'Rather violent language,' said Lady de Clifford, 'for a coal-heaver's son to the future Queen of England.'" — Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth, vol. i.
Things were in a most uncomfortable state after this scene, when Sir Henry Halford told me what arrangements were intended. To soften matters with the Princess, yet not entirely to yield to her demands, he said the Duchess of Leeds was only to have the name of governess, and that her Royal Highness was to have two ladies, to be called "ladies companions;" the first title they had thought of, "ladies assistants," looking too much like governance. That at first they had thought of Miss Vernon, but it would not do; next of the two Miss Townshends, sisters of Lord Bayning, and nearly related to Lord Cornwallis. At least, he said the appointment was or would be offered to one of them. I then mentioned Miss Rawdon, desired he would call on her, as she was then ill, and expressed my sentiments as to her understanding and accomplishments. This Sir Henry did, and, I believe, spoke to the Queen on the subject; but soon after, on the 12th, as I was at dinner at Lord Moira's, I had a note from him hinting a wish that I would myself be one / p.186 / of Princess Charlotte's ladies. I answered this note in very positive terms, by saying that nothing short of an absolute command of her Majesty, to whom I was bound by gratitude and attachment, could allow me to accept it.
Sir Henry called next day, and told me the Prince, in his visit to the Duchess of Leeds, which had lately taken place, concurred with her in anxiously wishing me to be with Princess Charlotte, and added, that my accepting the situation would facilitate the appointment of Miss Rawdon as my colleague. I could only repeat, as an answer, what I had written in my note to him. He went to Windsor next day, and in the evening of the 14th I received a most pressing letter from him, desiring that I would come to Windsor as soon as possible, stating that the Prince was to be there next day with the Duchess of Leeds (who with great difficulty had been persuaded to accept the office), that nothing was wanting to quiet the mind of Princess Charlotte but my presence, that I must take the rank of honourable to dine with them, that I might write a letter to the Queen expressing concern at leaving her, but that she might have the comfort of considering that, when the year of governance was over, I should remain in the family, &c. &c. &c. There was a postscript, in which it was said that the hope of Miss Rawdon coming in should not be given up.
/ p.187 /
With this letter came two from Princess Elizabeth, one of which was written by the Queen's desire to give me a hint that the Prince wished I should come forward to assist him, with many flattering expressions on her own (Princess Elizabeth's) part; but adding that the Queen would not bias me either way. The other letter was a private one, in which she urged me to write a letter to the Queen, showing an inclination to accept, and offering to consider myself still as in her service, or terms to that effect, which letter Princess Elizabeth wished me to enclose to her. There was also a letter from Princess Sophia, and one from Princess Mary, the first to persuade me to accept the employment from the unhappy persecuted state of Princess Charlotte, and the regard she had for me; the second, adding to these motives the fullest promises of support from the Prince and the national benefit, which Sir Henry had also pleaded. All I could resolve was to write a few lines to the Queen, telling her Majesty I should be at Windsor next day (January 13), at three, to take her pleasure on the subject of Princess Elizabeth's letter.
At the appointed hour, at which the Regent and Duchess of Leeds were also to arrive, I reached Windsor, and found waiting for me at my own door a servant of Madame Beckersdorff with a letter from the Queen, which was to have been sent to town, but which her Majesty, finding I was / p.188 / coming to Windsor, desired Madame Beckersdorff would get conveyed to me before I came to the Castle. The first part of this letter was relative to the Queen's pecuniary affairs, which were embarrassed, and on which she desired I would consult Mr. Claridge, her man of business, more particularly as the death of Lady Aylesbury, and the advanced age of Lord Aylesbury, rendered it essential they should in some measure be settled, but insinuating that, instead of paying off her debts entirely, when the arrangement was made, and that interest was settled for money borrowed, a sum might be applied to further improvements at Frogmore and the farm; the last page of the letter was relative to what she was pleased to call a more important subject, the desire of the Prince, as hinted by Sir H. Halford, that I should be about the Princess Charlotte. In this she said she would not bias me, but she doubted whether my health was equal to it; and, after intimating some displeasure at Sir Henry for the proposal, and great affection for me she evidently showed that she wished me to remain with her till death. One of the expressions was, that Lady Aylesbury was the first, and I was the second.
This letter, the receipt of which I was not to own, hurt me excessively. I saw that the Queen wished me to take the refusal on myself, that she might not offend the Prince. I recollected Lady / p.189 / Aylesbury having owned to me that she was obliged to refuse in a similar manner (putting it on Lord Aylesbury's unhappiness if she was much away from him), when the King wanted her and myself to be about Princess Charlotte in 1805. In consequence of which she remained, and I became a member of the Queen's family. I thought of a letter I had received from her Majesty just after Lady Aylesbury's death, in which she enclosed one for Lord Bruce, desiring he would be reconciled to his sisters, and at the same time saying, as I had lost so good a friend, she would do everything to make my life comfortable.
In all this there seemed to me much difficulty to encounter. I could not find it in my heart to devote myself till death to the Queen's service, sacrificing the pleasing idea of rendering happy the life of a persecuted young creature whose talents and disposition appeared to me worthy of a better lot than as yet had fallen to her share. Perhaps also my pride had been somewhat hurt, by the Queen not always, as I thought, feeling properly my situation, and I will not say that I had not some wish for a more active and more important employment than that which I held at Windsor, dull, uninteresting, and monotonous. Every year more and more confined, and, even from the kindness of the Royal Family, condemned to listen to all their complaints and private quarrels. I certainly hoped to get honour- / p.190 / ably out of it, but I did feel attachment for the Queen, and even this letter which annoyed me excited my gratitude.
I therefore went with a heavy heart, after an hysterical fit, to the Castle, and entering Madame Beckersdorff's room, requested she would inform the Queen that I was there. This she would not do, but said the Queen would ring for me when she wanted me, as she knew I was coming. I waited till past five, when the bell rang. Madame Beckersdorff went, and returned with a message from the Queen, to say that it would be better both for her and myself that we did not meet till next morning at eleven.
In the evening Sir Henry called, on his way to town, and said the Prince was just gone, and had desired him to tell me that all was settled, and that next day I should receive the formal proposal. I told him I feared it would not do, for that I knew the Queen wished me to refuse, but that I would write next day.
On the 16th, at eleven, I went to the Queen, who was in bed with a severe cold. She was evidently embarrassed, asked me several questions relative to Lady Aylesbury's illness and death, and the affairs of the family. She inquired how Lord Bruce had taken the letter she wrote to him. I could not say he was pleased, and she said I might / p.191 / have kept it back, as she sent it open to me with that design, and had expressed herself so in her letter to me. I answered, that I could not feel myself authorised to do that, and our conversation was very gênante, till at last we got on the subject of Princess Charlotte. The Queen spoke of her with all the prejudice and enmity which she had for years imbibed against her, related to me all that had passed between her Royal Highness and the Chancellor, and considered her dignified behaviour as hardness of heart. Before she dismissed me, she said I should receive a letter from the Duchess of Leeds, to propose the employment to me.
I then requested to be informed positively what was her Majesty's pleasure on the subject, hinting, at the same time, that I thought Princess Charlotte would do all her family could reasonably wish, if she were made happy and treated with confidence, and I might be able to do good and promote harmony, but that I wished to act as her Majesty most desired. The Queen inquired if I could recommend anybody, a sufficient proof that she was resolved, if possible, I should not be that person. I said I could only recommend Miss Rawdon, and repeated poor Lady Aylesbury's wishes on the subject. The Queen said she had spoken to the Prince, but was fearful it would not do, and then said she would get the Duchess to write to Lord Cornwallis, to urge the / p.192 / Miss Townshends to accept. When I left the room, I said I would send her Majesty a copy of my answer to the Duchess of Leeds when I received the letter.
In the ante-room this letter was given me by Madame Beckersdorff. It was a very handsome one, and expressed the united wishes of the Queen, Prince Regent, and Princess Charlotte, as well as her own. I took it home with me, and after some debate with myself, I wrote an answer, declining the proposal, from the sole motive of not thinking myself at liberty to leave her Majesty's service. It was worded in the most respectful terms relative to the Prince and Queen, and expressed my attachment to Princess Charlotte. I sent a copy of this letter to the Queen, and at the same time wrote to the Duchess of Leeds, to ask when I might call on her at the Lower Lodge, where she was already settled with Princess Charlotte.
My letter to the Queen went at five, and at half-past six I took my refusal to the Duchess, who expressed the greatest concern, and said all in her power to persuade me to accept the situation, not having entertained the smallest suspicion of any difficulty remaining. I left her, and at the bottom of the stairs found the page, who desired I would walk into the library, where I found Princess Charlotte. I had seen her for a moment when I went / p.193 / in, and was received by her with all the warmth of affection; but she was anxious to learn what had passed between the Duchess and me, and was in an agony of grief and resentment when she found I had been obliged to refuse, though she assured me, when I took leave of her, that I was fully justified with her. I did not name to her the Queen's letter to me, but only said I could not leave her Majesty without an absolute command.
I returned home, and heard nothing from the Queen. Next morning (17th) I received a very urgent letter from Princess Mary, who was beyond measure hurt at my refusal, and used every possible argument to induce me to retract it. She said the Queen had never treated me as she ought, had never placed me in my proper situation, that the Prince was most desirous to do this, and intended that I should become one of his family; that I should always dine with him when Princess Charlotte did, whether the Queen was there or not, and that the whole family would support me through everything. I heard, likewise, from Princess Sophia, whose arguments were of a different nature, being chiefly addressed to my feelings with respect to Princess Charlotte, and wishing to see me, though not urging it if I felt it improper.
I had informed her Majesty the preceding morning that with her permission I should go to Town at / p.194 / one, having other papers of Lady Aylesbury's to destroy. I went to the two Princesses who had written to me, and told them that if the Regent, after my refusal (which they said would throw him into the greatest difficulties), still condescended to wish that I should be with Princess Charlotte, I had thought of a plan which might succeed, and set things to rights with the Queen. My mind was made up as to the letter I would write to her Majesty, but what I suggested to the Princesses was that the Regent should send Lord Moira to me to renew the negotiation, and then apply to the Queen to lay her commands on me. To this Princess Mary most cordially and thankfully acceded, and I felt her room without seeing the elder Princesses.
I called on Madame Beckersdorff, to inquire after the Queen's cold, and to ask if there were any commands for me, but received none. I had no answer whatever to my letter, but only heard that her Majesty had announced the night before, at the party, my refusal of the appointment about Princess Charlotte. At one I went to Town, and dined with Lady Bruce. Soon after dinner, Sir Henry Halford called, and asked to speak with me. He came from the Regent, and said his Royal Highness was grieved and disappointed beyond measure at my refusal, but that he intended next morning to send Lord Moira to me to remove my scruples, and to assure me of / p.195 / the pains he would take to settle the mind of her Majesty on the subject.
On the 18th, Lord Moira came and told me how very anxious the Regent was for my coming into his service and how embarrassed he would feel himself if I continued to refuse. He offered to go himself, or send a messenger if he was prevented from going, to persuade the Queen to lay her commands on me to accept, and should not be easy until the affair was settled. Lord Moira, however, agreed with me that it would be more fair, as well as more respectful, for me to write, at the same time, to the Queen, and give her the reasons for my listening once more to the proposals made me. The Prince, likewise, wished me to write to the Duchess of Leeds, informing her of my willingness to accept, for fear she might have orders to make fresh applications to the Miss Townshends, or to propose the employment to others. This I did; but although my letter was directed very properly, she did not receive it till six days after date, and it was said that it went by mistake to the young Duke of Leeds in Yorkshire.
In my letter to the Queen I gave her my opinion with respect to her affairs, assuring her that I had copied that part of her letter which related to them, and had afterwards destroyed the whole; that I should speak to Mr. Claridge as soon as he came to / p.196 / Town on the subject she desired; and I also offered some arrangements which I thought would serve to free her Majesty from embarrassment, and particularly the loan of one thousand pounds, without interest, a sum which I knew the Queen was at that time very desirous to procure, and which, added to the salary I gave up, and the house which she might let, would set her completely at her ease in respect to Frogmore and the farm. To this letter I received, next day, two answers: the one, relative to my offer, of course private; and the other, respecting my acceptance of the employment. Both were resentful and bitter to a high degree. I was at Lady Bruce's when they arrived, and I was hurt beyond expression. I immediately wrote a short note to Lord Moira, expressive of my feelings, and giving up both situations. I took it to his house, where I found Lady Loudon*
* Lord Moira's wife, a Countess in her own right.
and Lady Charlotte Rawdon, and afterwards himself. The ladies approved of my feelings; but Lord Moira did not. He thought my nerves ought to be braced against marks of resentment which he did not think I had deserved. I did not mention to them the pecuniary part of the correspondence, nor is it known to any human being except one friend, who will never repeat it. On the 20th and 21st I remained ill at home; I was rendered so miserable by the Queen's / p.197 / letters that I would not receive Lady Loudon, who called, or listen to the suggestions of Sir Henry, who strongly pressed me to retract, or at least suspend, my resolution. I had letters from all the Princesses, written in the kindest and most urgent terms, to move me to accept the offered place; but I resisted.
On the 22nd, Lord Moira called and informed me of the result of a letter which the Prince had written to the Queen, enclosing one from himself to the Prince. There was a positive command, as he said, contained in her Majesty's answer (which he had read) that I should accept the place offered me; and he said that, when the Prince saw him, he had embraced him with the greatest joy, and said that it was to his Lordship that he owed whatever was agreeable to him. Every promise of support and of remaining in the family was repeated, as it was in a letter which Lord Moira wrote to me on the 20th, when I was ill.
On the 23rd, in the evening, I went to Warwick House, where I was to meet Princess Charlotte on her arrival in Town. She came about nine, attended by the Duchess of Leeds, having dined with the Princess of Wales at Kensington, and received me in the most gracious and cordial manner.
The last thing I did before I left my old lodgings to enter on my new duties, was to write a respect- / p.198 / ful letter to the Queen expressive of the deepest regret at having offended her, and of the sincerest attachment. This letter was never answered.*
* In Lady C. Campbell's "Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth" there occurs the following entry, under the date of the 24th January: "She (the Princess Charlotte) told her mother that there had been a great battle at Windsor between the Queen and the Prince; the former refusing to give up Miss Knight from her own person to attend on Princess Charlotte as sub-governess; but the Prince Regent had gone to Windsor himself, and insisted on her doing so, and the 'old beguin' was forced to submit, but has been ill ever since, and Sir Henry Halford declared it was a complete breaking up of the constitution (to the great delight of the two Princesses who were talking about the affair). Miss Knight was the very person they wished to have; they think they can do as they like with her." Upon this the editor remarks in a foot-note: "In this idea their Royal Highnesses were much mistaken; for Miss Knight was a person of uncompromising integrity and steady rectitude of conduct. A devoted royalist, but not a sycophant, no one has proved more than she has the fallaciousness of Court favour. The Queen Charlotte never forgave her for having left her service to attend the young Princess Charlotte, and the Regent afterwards dismissed her in an unjust manner from the post in which he had himself placed her, and which every one who knows Miss Knight is confident she never was unworthy of."
/ p.199 /
* Warwick House stood at the end of Warwick-street, which stretches from Cockspur-street towards Carlton House-terrace, but terminates in a cul-de-sac. The site of the house itself, between which and the gardens of Carlton House there appears to have been a private communication, is now occupied by some livery stables. Warwick House was formerly the residence of Sir Philip Warwick, the well-known Royalist writer, who was born there in 1609. The street, which was built at a later date, was called after the Warwick family, and still retains the name.
in which Princess Charlotte and I, with an excellent family of old servants, were now the only residents, was an old moderate-sized dwelling, at that time miserably out of repair, and almost falling to ruins. It was situated at the extremity of a narrow lane with a small court-yard and gates, at which two sentinels were placed. On the ground floor was a hall, dining-room, library, / p.200 / comptroller's-room, and two very small rooms, with a good staircase, and two back staircases much the reverse. Above was what was called the waiting-room, of very moderate dimensions, where Princess Charlotte took her lessons in the morning; a good drawing-room, or closet off it for a maid; my sitting-room adjoining, and my bedroom, both small, the latter particularly so. Yet, for a private family, it was far from being uncomfortable, though anything rather than royal. The drawing-room and Princess Charlotte's bedroom, with bay-windows, looked on a small garden with a wall, and a road which divided it from the gardens of Carlton House, to which there was a door of communication.
Nothing could more perfectly resemble a convent than this residence; but it was a seat of happiness to Princess Charlotte compared with the Lower Lodge at Windsor, and she was anxiously desirous to remain in Town as much as possible. It was announced to us that we were to be one week in Town and one at Windsor; that when in Town we were to dine at Carlton House, to go to the Play and Opera, and to have a part at Warwick House, besides balls and great parties at Carlton House. Invitations were already sent out for a ball, which was to take place on the 9th of February, previous to which there was to be a Drawing-room.
On the 24th, which was Sunday, we went to the / p.201 / Chapel Royal, the Duchess of Leeds and I attending her Royal Highness; and we found the Duke of Cambridge there. We were told that the Prince would come in the course of the morning to Warwick House, and dressed early to receive him. He came not; the Duchess dined with us; and Sir Henry Halford came in the evening with a message from the Prince, to say that we were to dine with him next day. On the 25th we went at seven, and I was presented to the Regent in form. There was no lady to meet us but Miss Goldsworthy.*
* Sister of Colonel Goldsworthy, one of the royal equerries most frequently mentioned in Madame D'Arblay's Memoirs. She was very deaf, and in the habit of falling asleep at the dinner-table.
The Dukes of York, Cumberland, and Cambridge were there; Lord Yarmouth, the Chancellor, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, and Colonel Bloomfield. The royal Dukes were all very gracious, and promised their support, which I asked; the Duke of Cumberland only saying, I wanted no support but that of my own talents and merits. The Princes showed off; learning and information were the order of the day. Lord Yarmouth was very attentive, and sarcastically answered the Chancellor's exaggerated delight in the sufferings of Bonaparte's army, and the cruelties of the Russians. At ten we were ordered into the next room to take coffee, and then went home.
The lower apartments of Carlton House, in which we dined, were close, and too warm. They were / p.202 / fitted up with great splendour and elegance, and contained some good pictures, and much ornamental decoration of bronze and china. The Prince's table was well served in every sense of the word, and he did the honours of his house well, though not with sufficient ease, and rather with assumed than real self-possession. He talked but little to Princess Charlotte, and not with the manner or voice of affection. His greatest attentions were for Miss Goldsworthy, which, in one point of view, was amiable, but which, from subsequent circumstances and conduct, proves what were the ideas and intentions of the Prince at that early period of the new arrangements. Every consideration was to be sacrificed to the plan of keeping the Princess Charlotte as long as possible a child; and, consequently, whoever belonged to her was to be thought a nurse or a preceptress, inferior, of course, to the nurses and preceptresses of the Princesses her aunts.
On the 27th we returned to Windsor, which was at that time considered as the chef-lieu ; but Princess Charlotte had a very troublesome cold, and the Lower Lodge was so damp, that Sir Henry Halford seemed disposed to listen to her remonstrances, and willing to persuade the Prince to let her remain in Town when she next went thither (which was to be on the following Monday, 1st of February), at least until her cold should be perfectly removed. She was indeed by no means well; for, besides her cold, / p.203 / she had a little nervous fever, occasioned by all she had gone through, and particularly the scene with the Chancellor.
At Windsor we found Lady Catherine Osborne and her governess, who were allowed to live in the house with us. The good Duchess of Leeds was a Miss Anguish,*
* Daughter of Thomas Anguish, Esq., a Master in Chancery.
daughter of a Norfolk lawyer, and, with her sisters, had been noticed for singing agreeably Handel's music. The late Duke of Leeds married her, when Lord Carmarthen, having been divorced from his first wife, by whom he had the present Duke and other children, one of whom was married to Lord Chichester, a friend of the Regent, and employed by him to negotiate with his step-mother the present arrangements, though Sir Henry Halford was the principal agent. The Duchess had two children of her own, Lord Sidney Osborne, who has the Beaulieu estte; and Lady Catherine, an elegant little girl of fifteen,†
*† Catherine Anne Sarah, daughter of fifth Duke of Leeds, born 1798; married, in 1819, to J. Whyte-Melville, Esq., of Bennochy.
who danced well, could play a little on the pianoforte, and speak a little French. She was to be a companion to Princess Charlotte, and it was proposed she should have, when in Town, parties of young ladies not presented—that is to say, children's balls.
All this was evidently pursuing the plan of protracted infancy, and was to be grafted on the education of a schoolboy, which had been the King's / p.204 / plan, to a certain degree, and to which the Prince had added lessons of politics from Mr. Fox's school, and had ordered that Mr. Adam and Dr. Short should give her instruction in the laws of England, of which she was to make an abstract. But when the Prince's politics changed, and Princess Charlotte, in understanding, penetration, and stature, was become a woman, desirous to acquire more knowledge of public affairs and general society, alive to everything, and capable of forming a judgment for herself, the new plan of sending her back to the nursery was adopted, and everything was done to promote it.
Such was the situation of affairs into which I perhaps heedlessly had plunged myself, and I was romantic enough to think I could be of use; and when Lord Moira was endeavouring to persuade me to accept the place offered me, I told him my sole motive then was to assist in rescuing a noble young creature from surrounding persecution, to give her room to show what she really was, misunderstood as she appeared to be, and certainly capable of becoming a blessing to her country, or the reverse. For her character was such, I said, as not to promise mediocrity, and much must depend upon the discipline of the next year or two. Measures such as had recently been pursued with her must drive her, I urged, to despair, and spoil her disposition, if not counteracted by affection and tenderness. / p.205 / Talents and genius must be encouraged to become useful. If endeavours are made to lower or extinguish them, what must be the result ? As I spoke, I saw the tears roll down the cheeks of Lord Moira, and he said, "This is what I felt for her father; he was everything that was amiable, and still I cannot help loving him."*
* "He (Prince Regent) was indeed," said the Duke (of Wellington), "the most extraordinary compound of talent, wit, buffoonery, obstinacy, and good feeling; in short, a medley of the most opposite qualities, with a great preponderance of good, that I ever saw in any character in my life."—Raikes's Journal, vol. i.
It was necessary that I should be presented to the Queen in my new capacity, but the Duchess of Leeds was ill. Lady Harcourt, the Queen's lady in waiting, was also not well, and it was not till Sunday, the 31st, that it was decided Lady Isabella Thynne, in waiting on the Princesses, should present me. This was necessary, as we were to dine next day with the Princess of Wales, on our way to Town, and it was right I should first pay that respect to the Queen.
Nothing could be more disagreeable. Her Majesty, however, spoke to me, for she inquired after Princess Charlotte, but added, she did not believe she was very ill. I was soon dismissed, and went round to all the Princesses, who received me very kindly, and lamented the coldness with which I was treated.
Soon after I returned to the Lodge, the Queen and Princesses came to visit Princess Charlotte. / p.206/ The Duchess being in her room, not ready, I received them at the door, and followed them upstairs. The Queen did not command me to be seated, and as soon as the Duchess made her appearance I left the room. Princess Elizabeth afterwards said, that when Miss Goldsworthy was their sub-governess the Queen never let her sit down when talking to them as children. I said that that was not a case in point, for that I was not a sub-governess, nor was Princess Charlotte a child; that as I was always accustomed to sit in her Majesty's presence, it was evident she resented my leaving her, but that whatever the Queen chose to do I should never lose the respect and attachment I had for her. I found, however, from general conversation, that the object was to consider me as a sub-governess, and a paragraph of that nature was put in the papers,*
* "Miss Knight is appointed sub-governess to the Princess Charlotte of Wales in the room of Mrs. Udney, who retired with Lady de Clifford."—Morning Chronicle, January 30.
"Miss Knight, who succeeds Mrs Udney as sub-governess to the Princess Charlotte, is the daughter of the late admiral who died in the Mediterranean, and who, when in Italy with her father, may be remembered by her verses on the transactions then occurring there. Since her return she has been in attendance on the Queen."—Morning Chronicle, February 1.
which I insisted on Sir H. Halford mentioning to the Prince, and getting it contradicted in the same paper, which was done—the Prince remarking they might as well call me Lord Chancellor.†
† "Miss Knight is not appointed sub-governess to her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte. Miss Knight is one of the ladies companions to her Royal Highness, and is the daughter of the late Sir Joseph Knight."—Morning Chronicle, February 4.
This contradiction, however, did not remove the impression that Miss Knight was the governess of the Princess. Sir Harris Nicolas, in his edition of the "Correspondence of Lord Nelson," speaks of her as "preceptress" and "sub-governess," and Lord Colchester, in his journal, does the same.
/ p.207 /
On the 1st of February we went to dine with the Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, and I was presented to her. She would not let me kiss her hand, but embraced me. She was civil, but rather cool, to the Duchess of Leeds. The Duke of Brunswick*
* Nephew of George the Third, and brother of Queen Caroline, afterwards killed at Quatre-Bras.
dined with us. Lady Charlotte Campbell and Miss Hayman were in waiting, and Lady Carnarvon also dined. The Duke of Kent's band was in attendance. The Duke of Brunswick appeared grave and reserved, but very civil. The Princess talked much to me about Princess Charlotte, seemed anxious for her welfare, and expressed great satisfaction at my appointment.
On the 3rd of February, Princess Charlotte was invited to dine at the Duke of York's, to meet the Queen and Princesses, and I was asked for the evening, with the very fair excuse that the dining-room was so small that it would not hold even the Princesses' or Duchess's ladies. I dined at Lord Moira's, who, with Lady Loudon, was also asked to the evening party. The apartments were, indeed, all very small, and very unfit for a royal Duke or Commander-in-Chief. Lady Anne Cullen Smith (sister of Lord Wellesley, and formerly married to a brother of Lord Southampton, by whom she has two daughters, the Miss Fitzroys) was the Duchess's only lady in waiting. Her manners were elegant, and her daughters accomplished and agreeable. I had / p.208 / seen them one morning at Warwick House, for they had formed an intimacy with Princess Charlotte at Oatlands.*
* The Duke of Yorks' country residence.
The Prince, when he came up to shake hands with me, whispered to me that he supposed Mary had said something to me which I would remember. I asked Princess Mary, in the course of the evening, what the Prince meant, and she answered, "Oh, nothing; he is only afraid lest Charlotte should like the Duke of Gloucester; and there is no danger. He wanted me to set you on your guard."†
† The Duke of Gloucester was first cousin of the Regent. He died on the 20th of November, 1834, at Bagshot, after a painful illness of fifteen days, aged fifty-nine. He married in 1816 the Princess Mary, his cousin, sister of the Regent. "He was not a man of talent, as may be inferred from his nickname of Silly Billy, but he was a quiet, inoffensive character, rather tenacious of the respect due to his rank, and strongly attached to the ultra-Tory party. His father, the late Duke, married Lady Waldegrave; thus he was uncle to Mrs. Damer."—Raikes's Journal, vol. i.
While I was talking to the Miss Fitzroys and others, the Chancellor‡
‡ Lord Eldon.
came up to me, and began to shake me violently by the hand, which rather surprised me, as we had never been introduced to each other. He was not quite sober. He said he hoped I did not believe all the nonsense about his ill-treatment of Princess Charlotte, of which no doubt I had heard a lamentable story; and was going on, when I stopped him by saying that Princess Charlotte had not conversed with me at all on the subject, and that if any one had mentioned it to me it was the Queen. Not content with this, he came up to me in the same manner after the Royal Family had / p.209 / gone down to supper, and entered again on the subject, in a very confused tone. I put him off by saying that really it was not my business to interfere in the Princess Charlotte's concerns, that I had only the honour of attending her, and that the Duchess of Leeds was the person who had the responsibility. This I said in a good-humoured way, and got rid of him at last.
On the 4th I went with Princess Charlotte to the Duke of Cumberland's apartments at St. James's, where she was to meet the Queen and Princesses, previous to the drawing-room, to which she was not to go. I left her there, and went to the drawing-room.*
* According to "The Mirror of Fashion," Miss Knight wore on this occasion "a dress of orange-coloured satin, with draperies of silver gauze, tastefully separated with net silver rolio, forming a lacing between each, through which the colour of the satin under-dress was discovered; the whole trimmed with handsome silver cords and tassels; robe, black velvet."
As soon as I had been seen by the Queen, for I was not spoken to, I returned to her Royal Highness, who in the mean while was left with the Duchess of Leeds, and she took her turn of going into the drawing-room. Princess Charlotte was greatly hurt by being thus treated as a child, but made no complaints, and was good natured with her family.
She met them that day at dinner at the Duke of Cambridge's, and I was asked for the evening party there. His house,†
† Cambridge House, South Audley-street.
though not very large, is handsome and comfortable. There was a little music in the evening, and everything passed in tolerable / p.210 / good humour. Next day, the 5th, we dined quietly tête-à-tête to prepare for the ball in the evening. Princess Charlotte's spirits were worn out with anxiety respecting her mother. She had heard that her visits at Kensington were to be less frequent in future, and her mind was harassed by various things. She felt nervous when the hour of dressing approached, but came out looking beautiful, and with proper self-possession. Her dress was white and silver, and she wore feathers for the first time. The Duchess and I*
* "The Mirror of Fashion" informs us that Miss Knight's dress was "of white net, spangled all over with gold, and ornamented with broad borders, with wreaths of fancy flowers, over a rich white satin slip."
were in white and gold. When we arrived at Carlton House, her Royal Highness, with the Duchess of Leeds, went into the room where the Royal Family were assembled, and I joined the Princess's and Princess Sophia of Gloucester's ladies till the company was assembled, when we all entered the ball-room.
The state apartments at Carlton House were certainly magnificent, and everything well regulated. They were well lighted, and were superior to anything I had seen in England; but the classical taste and sober dignity of Italy, with the grandeur of its spacious habitations, eclipse in my mind all I have seen elsewhere, and render Carlton House nothing more than a nobleman's dwelling expensively furnished. The best part of the fête appeared to me the respect paid to the Royal Family of France. In- / p.211 / deed, the Regent, ever since he came into power, has invariably shown the most independent and honourable feeling. Princess Mary opened the ball, and danced with the Duke d'Angoulême. Princess Charlotte stood next her with the Duke of Clarence.*
* Afterwards William the Fourth.
The dresses were splendid, and the supper, in the apartments below, all that it should be. The Queen seemed to enjoy it, and retired, apparently unfatigued, at five or six in the morning.
That day Princess Charlotte dined at Carlton House, and I went in the evening. I found her looking very unhappy, and she told me there was something going on to vex her—that she had overheard a conversation about the Duchess of York, who had invited herself to dine with her on the following day—and that she was sure something had gone wrong. I comforted her as well as I could; but I soon found from Princess Mary that she was blamed for "having invited" the Duchess, and asked whether she chose to have Lady Anne and the Miss Fitzroys to meet her. Princess Mary said that it was wrong to do this without consulting the Duchess of Leeds, and also that the Duchess of York did not wish to meet Lady Anne, for that, though she was her lady, she did not like her, and that it would be better to get rid of this dinner party.
The Prince took me aside this evening, and talked / p.212 / to me for a long while against the Princess of Wales, and the little regard she had shown for Princess Charlotte when a child, and how by her negligence there was a mark of the small-pox on Princess Charlotte's nose, having left her hands at liberty; whereas he used continually to watch beside her cradle. He said very severe things of the Princess of Wales in every way, and even accused her of threatening to declare that Princess Charlotte was not his daughter. I really had not remarked this little blemish on the smooth and beautiful skin of my young Princess, and should have had great difficulty in forbearing to smile at the seriousness with which that important misfortune was mentioned, if I had not been horrified by the rest of the conversation. The Prince also warned me against Lady Jersey, whom he had observed talking to Princess Charlotte the night before at the ball, and said he did not choose she should be too intimate at Warwick House, but did not give any particular reasons for it.
All this appeared to me the more extraordinary, as really the Regent can speak well, rationally, and with eloquence—or, at least, with great plausibility. What could I think of such a mixture of serious and frivolous complaint, when I might have expected discrimination of character to guide me in what advice I was to give the Princess—views for the future and regulations for the present, / p.213 / which the important station she was one day to fill, and the very delicate situation in which she was placed for the time present, seemed to render essentially requisite? I really knew not what to answer, and could only assent to his wishes or remarks in general terms.
When we returned home, Princess Charlotte was greatly agitated, and insisted on knowing the whole of Princess Mary's conversation with me. She had heard most of it, and I concealed nothing from her in that respect; but I was less communicative with respect to my lesson from the Regent. I told her what he said about Lady Jersey, and I hinted that he had expressed his regard for her in preference to her mother, because he had insisted on my so doing. Princess Charlotte said she had of late received much more kindness from her mother than from the Prince, but that their unfortunate quarrels with each other rendered their testimonies of affection to her at all times very precarious. As to Lady Jersey, she said she knew not what the Prince had against her. He had been the first to urge her visiting his daughter, and Lady Jersey declared she would come unless she heard from his own lips a positive revocation of the order. Lady Jersey was now going out of town, so that all difficulties on that subject were suspended.
The affair of the Duchess of York and Lady Anne Smith hurt Princess Charlotte exceedingly; / p.214 / she had a great regard for the Miss Fitzroys, and she thought the Duke and Duchess of York two of her best friends. She therefore resolved to clear up the point with the Duchess, and therefore wrote her a note on the subject, desiring her to put off the party if she thought it more prudent so to do. What the Duchess had or had not said I cannot determine, but that trifling circumstance made a "tracasserie" of long duration. The Duchess wanted to exculpate herself with Lady Anne, who, scandal said, was jealous of her. Lady Anne wrote to Colonel Taylor at Windsor, he told it to Princess Mary, and she wrote me a letter, complaining I had betrayed confidence, after a friendship of so many years.
At last, however, the Duke of Cambridge called on me, and, I believe, set all to rights as far as I was concerned; for I not only told him that I could not deceive Princess Charlotte, whose ears were very quick, and who insisted on knowing the whole, but that I had promised never to deceive her; and that also I had not the slightest idea that Princess Mary wished what she said to me on the subject of the Duchess and Lady Anne to be a secret kept from Princess Charlotte; that I had rather considered it as a warning which it was my duty to repeat; and that the whole would have ended quietly if the Duchess had left it where it was. The Duke said that it had better have rested / p.215 / with the Princess Charlotte's being to blame in not consulting the Duchess of Leeds. That, I said, had no effect; for her Royal Highness would not be persuaded to consider her as more than a nominal governess, and I had some difficulty in making things go on as well as they did in that quarter.
Sir Henry Halford, however, who was the person always employed at that time, settled the business of putting off the dinner party, by coming to say from the Queen, that as the Princess Charlotte was not well enough to go back to Windsor, she could not be well enough to see company at dinner, and the Duchess of York prudently declined it. The Prince Regent was supposed not to know anything of this affair, and perhaps really did not. I feel almost ashamed of spending ink and paper on such trifles, but they show the style of treatment adopted towards the future Queen of England.
/ p.216 /
AVERY few days after this first fête, at which Princess Charlotte made her appearance, the Morning Chronicle exhibited a letter*
* This letter occupied a column and a half of the Morning Chronicle of the 10th of February, and is dated from Montague House, January 14, 1813. On the 11th of February that journal gave the following account of the mode by which the letter in question had come into its possession: "It was transmitted on the 14th ult. to Lord Liverpool and Lord Eldon, sealed by Lady Charlotte Campbell as lady in waiting for the month, expressing her Royal Highness's pleasure that it should be presented to the Prince Regent; and there was an open copy for their perusal. On the 15th, the Earl of Liverpool presented his compliments to Lady Charlotte Campbell, and returned the letter unopened. On the 16th, it was returned by Lady Charlotte, intimating that as it contained matter of importance to the state, she relied on their laying it before his Royal Highness. It was again returned unopened, with the Earl of Liverpool's compliments to Lady Charlotte, saying that the Prince saw no reason to depart from his determination. On the 17th, it was returned in the same way by command of her Royal Highness, expressing her confidence that the two noble Lords would not take upon themselves the responsibility of not communicating the letter to his Royal Highness, and that she should not be the only subject in the empire whose petition was not to be permitted to reach the throne. To this an answer was given that the contents of it had been made known to the Prince. On the 19th, her Royal Highness directed a letter to be addressed to the two noble Lords, desiring to know whether it had been made known to his Royal Highness by being read to him, and to know his pleasure thereon. No answer / p.217 / was given to this letter, and therefore, on the 26th, she directed a letter to be written expressing her surprise that no answer had been given to her application for a whole week. To this an answer was received addressed to the Princess, stating that in consequence of her Royal Highness's demand, her letter had been read to the Prince Regent on the 20th, but that he had not been pleased to express his pleasure thereon. Here the correspondence was closed, and some days after this copies of the letter were in circulation, but we know not from what quarter they originated." The letter will be found in the Appendix.
/ p.216 / from the Princess / p.217 / of Wales to the Regent, complaining of her daughter not being allowed to join in society, to acquire knowledge of the world, &c. Another complaint was her not being permitted to see her oftener; and the most serious one, that she was not confirmed. This letter had been sent to the Prince a month before, and a copy of it to Lord Liverpool. That to the Prince had been returned unopened, and had it rested there it would have been very well, but it was injudicious to print it in the papers, and more particularly at a time when Princess Charlotte had just appeared in public, and had been allowed to visit her mother twice in the space of eleven days, instead of once a fortnight, which had been the rule for some time past. I have no doubt that these two last visits had been so contrived on account of the letter; but that the world could not know, and with many people it put the Princess of Wales in the wrong. It produced a visit to me from Colonel Mac Mahon, with a command from the Prince to write a note to the lady in waiting of the Princess of Wales, to say that, "in the absence of the Duchess of Leeds, I was commanded to inform her that Prin- / p.218 / cess Charlotte could not dine at Kensington that day, as had been intended."*
* The Princess of Wales then resided at Brandenburg House, at Kensington.
Poor Princess Charlotte was thrown into agonies of grief by all these discussions, and always remarked that she could not have three days' peace, and trembled continually for what was to come next.
The Prince Regent had, I think, made one or two visits to Warwick House since I came into office; but soon after that message through Colonel Mac Mahon, he called one morning with Lord Liverpool, and desired I would go down to the latter while he spoke to Princess Charlotte, as Lord Liverpool†*
† Lord Liverpool was, at that time, Prime Minister. His premiership commenced in 1812, and ended in 1827.
would explain to me on what business they were come.
I found Lord Liverpool, as I thought, very uncomfortable. He seemed too much embarrassed to begin the conversation, and I said the Prince Regent had told me his Lordship would explain to me the business on which they were come, which, as far as I could comprehend, related to the Princess of Wales. Lord Liverpool said it did, and that it gave him great pain, that it was altogether a most unfortunate business, and that no one could feel it more unpleasantly than he did. He did not appear willing to say more, and I had no desire to ask questions. Our conversation, therefore, turned on / p.219 / Lady Liverpool for a few minutes, when the page came in to say that the Prince Regent desired we would both walk up-stairs.
I found the Regent and Princess Charlotte standing near the chimney. She looked penetrated with grief, and spoke not a word. The Prince said he wished Lord Liverpool, as his confidential servant, and me, as Princess Charlotte's friend, to hear him repeat what he had been saying to her, namely, that an investigation was being made with respect to the conduct of her mother, on the result of which depended her ever being allowed to visit her again, and that in the mean while her usual visits must be suspended. He added that it was a very serious investigation, and most probably would end in a manner most painful; but that, whatever way it ended, his treatment of Princess Charlotte would be equally kind and considerate, as he should not consider her accountable for the faults of her mother.
Princess Charlotte was dreadfully overcome when he addressed this to Lord Liverpool and me, and her behaviour sufficiently indicated how painful it was to her that family dissensions of so delicate a nature should be brought before a minister and an attendant. The Prince dismissed Lord Liverpool, saying that he would not detain him, as he knew he had much to do; and I saw Princess Charlotte in such distress, that I ventured to say I hoped the Prince would allow her to lie down. On this she / p.220 / roused herself, and with great dignity said she was not ill. However, the Prince soon after took his leave, and desired I would come with him.
I followed him into the library, where he told me that he was surprised at Charlotte's behaviour; for that she had taken everything he had said to her, while they were alone, perfectly well. I answered, that the Prince's own feelings would suggest to him that what her Royal Highness could bear from him, she could not support to hear mentioned before subjects and persons unconnected with the family; that I was sure of her attachment to him, but that if she did not feel for her mother (however faulty), she could not have the proper sentiments of a daughter for him. He took this remarkably well, and said he certainly felt for her; but it was better not to deceive her, and that the business would end very seriously. He added, that he had promised to communicate to her the result of the investigation, and would call on her the next day, or the day after.
Many days passed, and no visit from the Prince. He sent one or two messages to excuse himself, and we heard that every one talked of this unhappy affair. Sir John and Lady Douglass*
* Major-General Sir John Douglass had declared that the Princess of Wales was delivered of a child in 1802. This vile calumny was refuted by the evidence adduced before Lords Grenville, Spencer, Erskine, and Ellenborough, sitting in commission, in 1806. After Sir John's revival of this disproved slander, he was suspended from employment about the / p.221 / Duke of Sussex, expelled from a masonic lodge, and spoken of with contempt by Lord Castlereagh in the Upper House, and by Mr. Whitbread in the House of Commons.
/ p.220 / had lodgings in Pall-Mall, or St. Alban's-street, and were con- / p.221 / stantly with the inhabitants of Carlton House, as we were told. At length Princess Charlotte grew so very anxious that she wrote an affectionate note to the Prince, requesting to see him, which he answered very kindly, but said it was better they should not meet for the present, as when all was settled they might afterwards meet constantly with pleasure. Many more days elapsed, during all which time Princess Charlotte never went out. Lady Liverpool came one day, and was very anxious she should be amused by little parties at Carlton House, or asked to go to the play or opera. But Princess Charlotte constantly replied, that it would ill become her to appear in public while her mother was under a cloud of so tremendous a nature. At length the Miss Herveys, daughters of Mrs. Fremantle, and very intimate at Windsor Castle, called one morning and told her that if she did not appear in public her character would be lost, for that the most injurious stories were circulated about her and Captain Fitzclarence.*
* One of the sons of the Duke of Clarence (by Mrs. Jordan), and, therefore, first cousin of the Princess. There is subsequent mention of this calumny at page 226.
This had its effect with Princess Charlotte, and she resolved to take an airing in the Park.
This was on the 22nd of February, and we afterwards went almost every day for an hour or two up and down the road where only royal carriages / p.222 / are allowed to go.. What mischief was intended by this story of Captain Fitzclarence it is impossible to learn; but it is certain that he neither came to Warwick House, nor sent a letter, during all the time I was with Princess Charlotte, nor do I believe he ever had, or that she had ever entertained a partiality for him. He left his name at the door, as others did, before he went abroad, and when he returned.
But Sir Henry Halford had, before Miss Hervey's visit, taken great pains to persuade Princess Charlotte to go out, on the score of her health; and it was evident to me that the great anxiety was to prevent the world from thinking that she took much interest in her mother's concerns.
At length, one day, the Duchess of Leeds remained at Warwick House while we went for our drive in the Park, and at our return we learned that she had been sent for to Carlton House. When she came back, she told me that the Princess's affair had finished dreadfully, and that the paper would be sent at eight o'clock to be read to Princess Charlotte, before her and me. Princess Charlotte wished we should be alone, and appointed the Duchess to return at eight, declaring that if Lord Liverpool or the Chancellor came to read the paper she would not listen to it, for that in her eyes her mother must be innocent.
/ p.223 /
At eight the paper came, sealed and directed to the Duchess of Leeds, who arrived a moment after, and who, with great delicacy, put it into the hands of Princess Charlotte. This conduct on her part had great weight with Princess Charlotte, and from that moment she always treated her with more cordiality than she had before done, though she was never uncivil to her, and very kind to Lady Catherine.
Her Royal Highness ran over the paper, and then said, "I have no objection to any one hearing this." She read it then aloud, and it implied nothing more than the result of the former investigation in 1806, and the consequent advice that Princess Charlotte should only be allowed to see her mother with the same restrictions as before.*
* The report of the commission appointed to investigate the conduct of the Princess of Wales is given in the Appendix.
This very extraordinary termination of the business, after all that had been said, was a great comfort to Princess Charlotte, but did not increase her affection for the Prince. Addresses were now pouring in on all sides to the Princess of Wales, congratulating her on "having escaped a conspiracy against her life and honour." Mr. Whitbread spoke in the House as her champion, and she became exceedingly popular.
On the 23rd of March the Duchess of Brunswick†
† Mother of the Princess of Wales. Her Royal Highness died at her lodgings in Hanover-square.
died. Sir Henry Halford brought the news to me / p.224 / at eleven at night. Princess Charlotte was much affected, and lamented not having lately visited her. But she had kept away from delicacy, on account of the painful affairs relative to the Princess of Wales. She wrote immediately to the Prince, to the Princess, and to the Duke of Brunswick. Next day she wrote to Princess Sophia of Gloucester, who was particularly attached to the Duchess; and the Duke of Gloucester sent a gentleman to me to inquire after Princess Charlotte. It was wonderful to see the kindness and energy with which this young person of seventeen acted on this occasion. She wished to have gone to see the Duchess, her grandmother, after her death, for her mind was not easy at having kept away from her during the last month or two; but Lady Anne Smith and the Duchess of Leeds—particularly Lady Anne—persuaded her not to go.
I must own that I had rather encouraged this idea when she started it, for I thought it proceeded from the best of motives, and I considered that royal personages are in general less prepared for the troubles of this life, because they are spared almost all painful and disagreeable scenes. Everybody, however, chose to interfere with respect to Princess Charlotte, under pretence of excessive anxiety for her happiness and welfare.
On the 25th the Prince called, and offered to / p.225 / Princess Charlotte that she should visit her mother at Blackheath.*
* The Princess of Wales had, at this time, taken up her residence in the village of Charlton, near Blackheath.
She went, attended by the Duchess and myself, on the 26th, and we passed a very quiet and comfortable day. The Princess of Wales looked better than I ever saw her. She appeared to be affected and subdued, and was particularly so when we came away, saying how uncertain it was when she should be allowed to see her daughter again. Lady Charlotte Lindsay was in waiting.
About this time Miss Mercer Elphinstone came to Town, and Princess Charlotte wrote to ask the Regent's permission for seeing her; which was granted. It was evident that this had been arranged beforehand, and that the conditions were that Miss Mercer, who had more influence than any one with Princess Charlotte, should open her eyes to her mother's imprudence, and break the confidential intimacy between them. That this intimacy must in some degree be prejudicial to Princess Charlotte there were reasons enough to prove; but great delicacy was requisite on this subject, and perhaps not quite sufficient was observed, which gave room for false rumours amongst some Opposition people (particularly the violent ones) that Princess Charlotte was won over by fêtes and balls, and had given up her mother. These rumours / p.226 / were, I believe, underhand, seconded by the agents of Carlton House, who had before spread the most infamous falsehoods about Captain Fitzclarence, &c.
I soon perceived the change, and also some difference of conduct towards myself. Princess Charlotte left off shaking hands with me when we met in the morning and parted at night—a circumstance trifling in itself, and unnecessary where people live in the same house together; but it was accompanied by hints that when she had an establishment her ladies should be kept at a distance, and a short time after that her ladies ought to be Princesses, or of the highest connexions. I could easily guess whence all this was derived, but I said nothing.
One evening, however, Lady Anne Smith speaking very kindly of the advantage she thought Princess Charlotte had reaped from my being with her, her Royal Highness seemed embarrassed, which upset me; I burst into tears, and was obliged to remain in my room that evening. Next day Princess Charlotte hinted something about jealousy, of which I took no notice; but I perceived her mind had been poisoned.
I resolved, however, to go on doing my duty, and could not blame her for preferring the advice of a person whom she had known intimately for many years, who was shrewd, had talents, and a decision of character often very useful. It appeared to me an amiable trait in Princess Charlotte's character, and, / p.227 / as she did not treat me ill, I could not bring myself to be angry with her, though it necessarily changed my mode of proceeding. I could no longer be as open as I had been; and though I did not deceive her, and, when necessary, told her exactly what I thought, I was obliged to be on my guard, and to wait sometimes for days before I could hint anything which I was anxious for her to know. Miss Mercer appeared shy of me; and things were in this state when we were asked one day to dinner at Carlton House. It was just after the discovery of the body of Charles I. in the subterranean chapel at Windsor,*
* Sir Henry Halford's very interesting account of the opening of the coffin of Charles the First is given in the Appendix.
and the Prince was acting the manner of decapitation on my shoulders. He was in good humour, and had given to Princess Charlotte the centre sapphire of Charles's crown, which he had received with the papers of the Stuart family from Rome. This dinner party was very dull. It consisted of Miss Goldsworthy and the Duke of Clarence (both of whom fell asleep after the second course), the Duke of Cambridge and Colonel Bloomfield.
About a week after, on the 11th of April, we were sent to Windsor for a fortnight, as Easter was approaching. Princess Charlotte, whose real goodness of heart could not be entirely warped, took me in the carriage with her straight to the Castle, where / p.228 / the Duchess was to meet us. I was anxious to take my leave when I had accompanied her into the room, and I had written to Miss Roberts*
* Daughter of Dr. Roberts, Provost of Eton, then deceased some years.
to say I would dine with her, but it was agreed that as the Queen and Royal Family were just going into the dinner-room, Princess Elizabeth should ask whether I was to dine there. To me nothing could be so disagreeable. The answer of the Queen was, that as I was there I might stay; but I was afterwards told that she had said to the Duke of Cambridge, as he handed her in, that she now did more for the Prince's daughter than she had ever done for her own children; for that she never sat down with their sub-governesses. This being repeated to me by the Princesses, I found it necessary to write the following letter to the Prince on the subject, more particularly as other affronts of a similar nature were put upon me:
/ p.230 /
Princess Charlotte wrote two letters to her father on the same subject; but some persons, anxious to complain of the Queen, and to make her proceedings appear in a worse light, advised her to add that the Queen was not civil to the Duchess of Leeds, and other complaints, which rendered my grievances only a part of the whole.
Whatever the Regent might think, he sent no answer to me either by letter or word of mouth, and he made Sir Henry Halford answer Princess Charlotte in a manner very unsatisfactory. Towards the end of the fortnight Lady Catherine and I had two invitations to the evening parties, but it was altogether very odious and uncomfortable, and I was not less pleased than Princess Charlotte to return to town, which we did on the 29th.
/ p.231 /
Princess Charlotte wrote two letters to her father on the same subject; but some persons, anxious to complain of the Queen, and to make her proceedings appear in a worse light, advised her to add that the Queen was not civil to the Duchess of Leeds, and other complaints, which rendered my grievances only a part of the whole.
THE life we led at Warwick House was exactly that of a child and her nurse. Dr. Short, her Royal Highness's sub-preceptor, a good sort of Devonshire man, with some classical knowledge, very little taste, an honest heart, but over-cautious temper, fearful of offending, used to come every morning and read English to her Royal Highness from eleven to twelve, at which hour he was succeeded by Mr. Sterkey, minister of the Swiss church, who read French to her; a man of good manners for his station, and of a pliant disposition, ready to do anything not actually wicked, and, I believe, an excellent husband and father. As to Küper, the German preceptor, I could not get her to let him give his usual lessons. She thought him a spy, and / p.232 / perhaps not entirely without reason; but he might have been useful with respect to information, for he was a learned man, and did not want judgement with regard to Greek and Latin, as well as the German language. Mrs. Miles, her music mistress, used frequently to give her lessons in the evening; and she had instructions on the guitar, first from Ventura, a Venetian, who sang prettily, and had practical facility, and afterwards from Vaccari, a scientific professor of music, and an excellent player on the violin, who had left the band of the King of Spain, and whose wife was a Spaniard, and taught Princess Charlotte the wild Spanish manner of playing, which the Miss Fitzroys also imitated very happily.
* Lady Charlotte Campbell says in her Diary: "Her (the Princess's) legs and feet are very pretty; her Royal Highness knows that they are so, and wears extremely short petticoats. Her face would be pretty, too, if the outline of her cheeks was not so full."
of her Royal Highness nodding instead of bowing, or talking to the maids of honour at chapel between the prayers and the sermon.
On these occasions the poor Duchess became bilious, cried in her sleep, and begged and prayed me next day to talk to Princess Charlotte, for she did not like to venture on anything herself, unless driven to the last extremity. The financial department being wholly in her keeping, this was a very sore subject. Princess Charlotte had been, until just before Lady de Clifford left her, allowed ten pounds a month for pocket money; more than which she lost at cards at Windsor, for her Royal Highness was not fond of play, and still less of the practice of having her hand made for her to the detriment of others; therefore she, of course, seldom won a pool at commerce, and Lady de Clifford was / p.235 / obliged to furnish her with money for her little charities out of the eight hundred pounds a year allotted for her wardrobe. Before she left her Royal Highness she increased the monthly allowance to fifteen pounds, saying they could not lessen it; and this was all Princess Charlotte had absolutely at her own disposal; and now that balls and birthdays necessarily took up so much money for dresses, which the Prince and Royal Family expected should be new and splendid, the difficulties were great.
Mrs. Louis, a German, Princess Charlotte's second dresser, and now the only one capable of exertion (for Mrs. Gagarin was in a dying state), possessed taste and economy superior to anything I ever saw, added to excellent principles of religion and morality, and a constant cheerfulness of temper. She was invaluable from all points of view. Her contrivances with respect to her Royal Highness's wardrobe, to which she gave the appearance of novelty at a very trifling expense, were truly praiseworthy in a situation where extravagance and airs are so apt to characterise the menial servants of Princesses. But with all this economy, eight hundred pounds a year could not do more than dress her Royal Highness with propriety.
Fortunately, she was not desirous of sacrificing either time or treasure on her toilette, but she liked pictures, and specimens of the fine arts of every description; and she loved nothing so much as / p.236 / making presents of valuable trinkets to her young friends, who were ready enough to accept them, and the poor Duchess had really sufficient cause for crying in her sleep when quarter-day came about. Yet it is astonishing to think with what propriety, order, and regularity the house went on, with such small funds as were allowed. Fourteen thousand pounds was the average expense, from which pensions to the amount of nearly two thousand pounds a year, and salaries which could not amount to less than four thousand pounds more, were to be subtracted, a steward, page, two dressers, and a proportionate number of servants to be maintained, carriages and horses kept, and, in short, all the expenses of a family paid, excepting her Royal Highness's saddle horses, which were kept at Carlton House stables.
Mrs. Gagarin, who had lived with Princess Charlotte from her infancy, was an excellent person; she was an Englishwoman, but in her youth had been unfortunately married to a Russian Prince, whom she afterwards discovered to be the husband of another, and whom she therefore left without even claiming a provision. This was told me in confidence by Princess Charlotte, who had almost a filial regard for her. Mrs. Gagarin had one daughter, whom she had placed, after giving her a good education, as governess in a Scotch family, where she became acquainted with a worthy clergy- / p.237 / man named Wightman, and was engaged to him. Some months before I came to Princess Charlotte, Mrs. Gagarin had fallen into a bad state of health, and her daughter came to stay with her. Why I cannot tell, but the Queen and Princesses had been much displeased with this, and with the notice which Princess Charlotte took of her; and after giving up the plan of dismissing all the servants, which had been their intention when the Duchess and I came into office, they at least took care that Miss Gagarin should be married as soon as possible, and sent away with her husband to a small living near Bath, given him by the Bishop of Salisbury, whither Mrs. Gagarin was also sent, on pretence of change of air being beneficial to her health, but in fact hoping she would not return, for this was confessed to me. However, though far from recovering, she was most anxious to return as soon as the weather allowed her to travel; and we had her back. Every care, every attention which the kindest and most considerate affection could suggest were bestowed on her by Princess Charlotte. While she was capable of taking airings, her Royal Highness constantly sent her out in a carriage, and when she grew so weak as to be confined to her room, visited her two or three times a day, carried her in her arms to the window, and exerted every faculty to soothe and comfort her. Indeed, Princess Charlotte was kind and benevolent to all her servants, / p.238 / yet never condescended to any unbecoming familiarity with them, or treated them with more confidence than could be justified by their stations and conduct. They all idolised her.
On the 5th of May I went in the evening to the Duchess d'Angoulême, who had sent the Duke de Sérent to say she was in town, and desired I should be presented to her, as I had been to the King, Monsieur, and the Duke d'Angoulême at Carlton House. I went about eight, and found her in a small house in South Audley-street, belonging to Monsieur. She received me very graciously, and placed me beside herself; the room was full of French emigrants, a foreign minister or two, and two or three other strangers. Her profile was good, and she would have been beautiful had not early misfortune nipped the blossom. Her figure stooped, but it was rather a good one. Her dress particularly plain and unassuming; her manner perfectly unaffected; her voice rather too loud, and her articulation rather too quick to be pleasing, otherwise than by a tone of sincerity, which was very striking. The manners of Monsieur were perfect, and his countenance still very pleasing. The Duchess de Coigny struck me as singularly well bred and agreeable.
The Queen and Princesses came to town pretty often, and at those times we went to Carlton House, / p.239 / usually the Princess and Duchess to dinner, and all of us in the evening.
On the 12th there was a ball there, and also on the 1st of June. The next day, the Duchess being ill, I had to accompany Princess Charlotte to dinner at Carlton House. The Queen, two of the Princesses, and a small party dined there. The Hertfords, Liverpools, Cholmondeleys, Hampdens, and Lord St. Helens, were the usual set, and were there that day. The Prince was uncommonly gracious to me, and it was settled that I was to go to Windsor with Princess Charlotte on the 4th of June (the King's birthday), dine at Frogmore, and come back the next day. We went, and the Prince was again all courtesy. He seemed very anxious that the Duchess of Leeds should send the Queen a letter*
*The following is the letter referred to in the text. It is addressed to the Duchess of Leeds:
"My attachment to the Princess Charlotte is very great, and there is nothing I would not do to prove it. I am also most sensible of your Grace's kindness; but, although her Majesty has been graciously pleased to say that she leaves me unbiased as to my decision, duty and gratitude oblige me to consider myself as belonging to her, and therefore not at liberty to accept what would have otherwise been my ambition.
"As this is my only cause for declining the honour offered me, I will entreat your Grace to communicate it to the Prince, and to believe me, madam," &c.
of mine, which she had never seen, and which he and good Princess Augusta thought would restore me to her favour. At all events, he desired I would not be uneasy, and that although the Queen might be angry with me herself, he was sure she would be much more angry / p.240 / with any one who should speak against me. He was in high good humour, but in the midst of it, tapping me on the shoulder, said, "Remember, however, my dear Chevalier, that Charlotte must lay aside the idle nonsense of thinking that she has a will of her own; while I live she must be subject to me as she is at present, if she were thirty, or forty, or five-and-forty." This, of course, I did not repeat to her Royal Highness.
The Prince had desired Princess Charlotte to make him a present of her portrait, and she had for some time been sitting to Sanders for that purpose. He is an excellent painter, but uncommonly slow. She wished it should be finished against the 12th of August, as a present to her father on his birthday; and we used to go very often to his study for these sittings. Sanders is a very particular man, very correct, very religious. So far from taking the liberty of admitting any one when her Royal Highness was there, it was with great difficulty we could prevail on him to let in Miss Mercer, Lady Tavistock, Lady Jersey, or the Miss Fitzroys, when the regent particularly desired it; and it certainly was an annoyance to a nervous man, peculiarly anxious for the success of this picture, to have a set of women come and give their opinions, and afterwards talk over the balls and parties of the night before. Princess Charlotte, however, could not sometimes resist letting in these tormentors of poor Sanders; and she had so little amusement in / p.241 / general, that anything of this kind was an object to her. She listened with avidity to all the accounts her friends gave of the assemblies and other amusements of which she could not partake; and they would sometimes come for a little while in the evening, before they went to their gayer parties. Our only other entertainment was driving in the park, and when that was objected to, on the road.
On the 17th of May we had visited the Princess of Wales on her birthday, but were not allowed to dine there.
On the 30th of June there was a magnificent ball at Carlton House, and the evening before we had been at the Duke of York's. The Duke of Gloucester was there, sat down by Princess Charlotte, and talked to her. This displeased the Prince, and there was much conversation with Lady Liverpool, who walked up and down the room, and was at last sent to desire that her Royal Highness would change places with Lady Bathurst, who sat on the other side of her. This she would not do, but walked into the next room. The Duke was greatly offended, and his sister much hurt. After the Queen, Prince, and Princesses were gone, Princess Charlotte apologised to the Duke and Princess Sophia of Gloucester for what had passed. This gave occasion to the Duke, who had been only talking to her before on indifferent subjects, to say that he meant to take no liberty, but that she might consider him as de- / p.242 / voted to her, and ready to come forward whenever she would cast her eyes on him. Princess Charlotte came home indignant and hurt at having been watched and worried, and the ball was not so pleasant to her as it otherwise would have been.
The Duke of Devonshire used alternately to dance with Princess Charlotte and Princess Mary, not less, and generally more, than two dances at every ball. The Prince encouraged this, on account of his rank, and also from a regard for him on his late mother's account; and ministers were supposed to encourage it, because they hoped the attractions of Princess Charlotte might attach him to Carlton House, and so to the Prince, and so on to their side of the House in Parliament.
The Duke was by no means insensible to the charms of his future Queen. Followed by all the mothers and all the misses in London, because he was the yet unmarried Duke of Devonshire, it is probable that he might wish to be liked for himself alone, and this must be the case if Princess Charlotte liked him. His ambition, also, might be roused, and he might, and perhaps unfortunately did, feel really attached to her. A good young man, of a benevolent heart, moderate abilities, and romantic turn (which I understand was the case with him), might easily fall into such a snare. He was very attentive, and Princess Charlotte's friends were, almost all, very intimate with him. Miss / p.243 / Mercer Elphinstone was supposed to like him, to wish to marry him, and to be playing a deep game, so that when he was disappointed of Princess Charlotte, he might take her, out of gratitude for her good offices. This ill-natured story was too ridiculous to be believed; for if Miss Mercer wished to marry him, she could not at the same time wish to encourage his attachment to a beautiful young Princess of seventeen, who was generally thought the handsomest woman in the ball-room (for dress became her particularly), and who must at all events, eclipse a woman of twenty-eight, whose great fortune would be no attraction to the Duke. I heard this story from every one, but did not believe it. The Duke of Devonshire paid great attention to all Princess Charlotte's friends, and also to the Duchess of Leeds. As to myself, I was not acquainted with him, and rather avoided being so, that I might not be suspected of carrying on any intercourse between him and Princess Charlotte.
/ p.244 /
ON the 6th of July we were at the magnificent breakfast given at Carlton Gardens, followed by a ball. The news of the battle of Vittoria added splendour to the fête, and the letter*
* The following is the Prince's letter:
"Your very sincere and
"G. P. R.
"The Marquis of Wellington."
of the Prince to Lord Wellington, with the marshal's staff which he was to send him, and that taken from the enemy, were the lions of the day. It was a fine / p.245 / day, and the gardens really looked very gay, but Princess Charlotte had just before, on the 1st of the month, lost poor Mrs. Gagarin,*
* "July 1. At Warwick House, Mrs. Gagarin, many years an affectionate and faithful attendant of the Princess Charlotte of Wales. Her last moments were solaced by the condescending and unremitting attentions of her Royal Highness, reflecting a lustre on the native goodness of her heart, superior to all the appendages of her exalted rank."—Gent. Mag., August, 1813.
and was deeply affected by her loss. She might be said to have known no other mother; and her fortitude as well as tenderness, on this occasion, showed itself in every possible way, to the great honour of her heart and head. Mrs. Wightman arrived too late to see her mother alive. Princess Charlotte saw her after her death; it was the first corpse she had seen; she took with her into the room an intimate friend of the deceased, and to her, and to all who were attached to Mrs. Gagarin, she was invariably affectionate and beneficent. She was very low for a long time afterwards, though she endeavoured to suppress and conceal her feelings.
We continued to visit Sanders, as the time approached for going into the country; and Princess Charlotte was anxious that the picture should be finished. We also took long airings before and after dinner, and everything that could divert her thoughts from the loss she had sustained was, I thought, necessary to be done, and her life was so monotonous, that any other young person must have felt it excessively dull.
/ p.246 /
About this time, the middle of July, her Royal Highness being really by no means well, wrote a letter to her father, to request that she might be allowed to go to the sea-side which was recommended by Sir Henry Halford, and which all the medical people said she ought to visit every year till she was five-and-twenty, as she had been accustomed to do till she went to Windsor in 1812. She sent for Mr. Adam, Miss Mercer's uncle, and the Prince's chancellor,*
* Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall.
on this business. The request was not granted; the Prince was much displeased, and said that she was quite well. He also sent Sir Henry to me, to complain of our having been seen driving twice one day on the Chiswick road, when the Duke of Devonshire was giving a great breakfast there. I said the fault was mine, as I had proposed to drive that way that Princess Charlotte might see the carriages; that her life had so little variety in it, and her health and spirits were at that time so indifferent, that I was anxious to do anything that could cheer her. The Prince scarcely called once in two months, and she saw none of her family except at the Carlton House parties.
Another heavy complaint was our going to the painter's. I agreed that it would have been better if he could have painted at Warwick House, but the light would not have suited him for a large picture, and I desired Sir Henry to assure the / p.247 / Prince how scrupulously careful Mr. Sanders was as to quiet and privacy, insomuch that he would not let in his friend and patroness Lady Charlotte Campbell, and I added that the picture was for the Prince, as Lady Liverpool well knew, for she had discovered that such a picture was painting, had been to see it, and we had told her its destination. In the midst of all this sudden fit of ill humour we were ordered to Windsor, and arrived there on the 31st, to the great displeasure of Princess Charlotte.
The next day, 1st August, her Royal Highness and the Duchess of Leeds dined at the Castle, and the Duchess came home to me crying at night, having been severely reprimanded by the Queen and Prince Regent for her own conduct and mine. The stories of the Duke of Devonshire, with exaggerated circumstances, were called up, and, as far as I could understand from the Duchess's mutilated account, I was more blamed than herself. As I found there was no possibility of my justifying myself with the Prince, and still less with the Queen, I was so shocked that I really became quite ill, and I wrote the following letter to Lady Liverpool, in which I defended both Princess Charlotte and myself:
* The subjoined letter, from Lord St. Vincent to Miss Knight, relates to this subject:
"MY DEAR MADAM,—Under the circumstances you were placed in, nothing could be better judged than your letter; the reply wore the finesse of a courtier; the means of applying an antidote to the poison are difficult in a position surrounded by spies, prone to put that construction upon actions which they think will be most pleasing to the persons who listen to them, mixed with envy and malice. Truth will in the long run prevail; in the mean while you have a powerful shield in the correctness of your conduct through life, and the integrity with which you have performed the important duties of your present station. I dread the effect these miserable subterfuges may have upon the young lady's mind, happily formed to resist attempts to make her a hypocrite; yet to have the movement of her muscles watched, and a wrong interpretation put upon all her actions, must produce an ill effect, in the practice of concealment of thought at least, if not driven to carry it farther. One should have expected that her openness of character would have created confidence.
"I rejoice that your health does not suffer under these painful restrictions and suspicions. You have the most ardent wishes for the continuance of it and every other blessing, of
Miss Mercer came about this time to stay two or three days at Windsor, on a visit to Princess Charlotte; but not having leave to sleep in the house, I got a room for her at Mrs. Hallam's, who was absent. She was evidently annoyed at my having written to Lady Liverpool, her friend Lady Bathurst and Lady L. being dear friends and great enemies—at least, according to Miss Mercer's representations; and perhaps it was really the case, but / p.251 / I felt I had done right, and I told Princess Charlotte there was no dependence to be placed on any of these people, hinting to her that most probably their only reason for paying court to Miss Mercer was to make her useful, and that everybody said the consent for her Royal Highness seeing Miss Mercer again had only been given to fetch her from the Princess of Wales. Of course Princess Charlotte repeated this to Miss Mercer, and the effect it had was to make that young lady particularly attentive to me. She wrote to me after her departure in the most confidential and flattering manner, particularly explaining a circumstance in which it appeared that the Princess of Wales had acted very imprudently with respect to Princess Charlotte, and in which she (Miss M.) interposed in the properest manner. I was pleased with this, and from that time Miss Mercer and I were on the best terms, and, as I thought, in common with her Royal Highness, treated every subject in the most confidential manner.
[The year continues with the birthday of the Prince Regent at Sandhurst; the arrival of the Prince of Orange although he fails to turn up to a party at Frogmore; the proposed marriage between the Duke of Brunswick and Princess Mary; the repudiation by Princess Charlotte of any idea of a marriage to the Prince of Orange; the refusal by the Prince Regent of any idea of Princess Charlotte marrying her choice, the Duke of Gloucester; however the Prince agrees that she should be able to choose from the many foreign princes he would invite to England; although the suspicion is the family would still prefer and try surreptitiously to have Charlotte marry the Prince of Orange; Charlotte is advised by a male correspondent to comply with the family's desires, but if still keen on the Duke of Gloucester to wait until she was 21 years old when "more efficacious measures might be pursued". In November 1913 they return to town and Warwick House. The subject of the Prince of Orange is then raised again. Princess Charlotte appears to conform and meets with the Prince, acquiring a better view of him. This humours the Prince Regent who then confides several days later with Cornelia Knight that the pair are now secretely engaged. However, Princess Charlotte learns from the Prince of Orange the arrangements he expects her to follow as his wife and she expresses grief at discovering she will be expected to leave England for Holland for some of the year. Cornelia Knight offers to accompany her to the Princess's pleasure. Charlotte then goes to Windsor. As Cornelia's presence not desired by Princess Mary, she visits Lord St. Vincent. The end of the year sees a very heavy fog giving Cornelia Knight a severe bout of (flu).]
/ p.272 /
ON the 1st January, 1814, Princess Charlotte went to dine at Windsor, attended by the Duchess, and the fog was so thick that I could not go to Lord Bruce's, where I had promised to dine. Her Royal Highness returned the next day, and on the 7th, which was the anniversary of her birthday, her eighteenth birthday, to which she had looked forward in hope of an establishment and comparative liberty, she had only permission to make a morning visit to her mother, to which she was accompanied by the Duchess of Leeds; and in the evening we had Vacari and Dizzi, who gave her lessons on the harp, for the purpose of having a little music. The upper servants, and the tradespeople and their wives, had a dance in the dining- / p.273 / room. The Dukes of Kent and Sussex called in the evening to see her.
* The Morning Chronicle of January 6th gives the following account of the christening at Belvoir:
"The baptismal ceremony of the infant Marquis (who, to use the phrase of a nurse, 'is as fine a little fellow of four months old as ever was seen') took place at six o'clock in the evening (4th January, 1814). The sponsors were—
H.R.H. the Prince Regent } in person
H.R.H. the Duke of York}
Her Grace the Duchess-Dowager of Rutland, proxy for H.M. the Queen.
His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at the Castle early in the morning, and he performed the baptismal ceremony with solemnity and graceful expression, assisted by the Rev. John Thornton, Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Rutland, who made the responses. . . . A discharge of fifteen cannon from the Castle announced the event," &c. &c. There are long accounts in the papers of the time of the festivities at Belvoir Castle. The Prince Regent's subsequent illness may be thence easily accounted for.
and other places where he / p.274 / had been visiting, sent for me one morning. He was sitting on a sofa in his bedroom, looking very ill and weak. He said there was an unpleasant circumstance had happened, but nothing that he was so angry at as to make Princess Charlotte or me uneasy. The Duke of York, he said, had shown him a paragraph in the papers*
* "A singularly neat and very elegant landau will be launched in a few days by H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales. It is built by Messrs. Birch and Son, Great Queen-street, Lincoln's Inn-fields. The carriage is beautifully finished. The body is painted a fine light green, emblazoned with arms, supporters, &c., with mantles on the panels. On the side panels is a beautiful à la Grecque border, enclosing the cipher C. P. W., with a coronet above. The same ornaments are placed on the door rails; very superb silver joints, lamps, and other appropriate ornaments, extremely neat; the lining is a fine scarlet cloth, with rich gold lace and fringe; the hammercloth is, agreeable to royal etiquette, composed of scarlet cloth, very full, with a purple velvet border, and trimmed with gold lace. Outside elbows are introduced, but the projection is upon so moderate a scale that they are scarcely perceptible. The carriage is a very light compass perch painted yellow, picked out with maroon colour, hung upon whip springs, two feet six inches from the ground; silver hoops to the wheels; an upright coach-box, made in the usual style, but not fixed"—Morning Chronicle, February 3rd, 1814.
This statement was contradicted in the same paper on the following day "by authority".
about a fine carriage building for Princess Charlotte at Birch the coachmaker's, and, out of friendship for him, being the brother nearest his own age, had told him all about this Birch, who was a protégé of the Duke of Kent, &c. &c. I explained to him the circumstance as well as I could, for it was, of course, the Duchess who had ordered this carriage when the three years' job of the former one had expired, which was while we were at Windsor, and, as I understood, the Duke of Kent was consulted previously by Lady de Clifford on similar affairs. I also told the Prince the account of the new carriage / p.275 / had been misstated in the papers if it was said to be green, as it was yellow, like all the carriages belonging to his Royal Highness, and I could not think it was put in by Birch himself, as the description was not correct.
The Prince said that his coachmaker, who had served him for many years, had made heavy complaints, &c. &c. He spoke much of the Duke of Kent, and also of the Duke of Sussex, but attached more deceit and deep-laid plans to the former. He read one part of a letter he was writing to the Duke of Cambridge, promising to visit Hanover in the course of the summer, and seemed to have perfectly forgiven the Duke of Cumberland for having made his appearance at Hanover before Bernadotte, which had been much criticised, and had, it was said, excited his displeasure. In short, he seemed willing to talk, and kept me a long while; spoke of the King as having always done justice to his honourable principles, even when they were at variance on some points; complained of being much exhausted from having been kept low for many days, and really, I must say, he affected me. He mentioned Princess Charlotte spending too much with jewellers, and said it was fruitless to conceal anything from him, for tradespeople would talk, and it came to his knowledge. He thought it very shameful in young ladies of immense fortunes to take valuable presents from Princess Charlotte.
/ p.276 /
I took this opportunity to say I had made an agreement with her Royal Highness, as I had done with Princess Amelia, that no presents should be made to me, as, where confidence was placed, it would hurt me if one human being could suppose I availed myself of it for interested motives. He burst into tears when I mentioned Princess Amelia, and regretted he could not more fully comply with her last wishes, seemed embarrassed, and excessively overcome. At last he let me go, saying that Charlotte must be content without amusements that spring, as he could not give any entertainments under present circumstances. I said her Royal Highness's music and drawing, with her books, made the time pass, and that I was endeavouring to amuse her by little musical proverbs and entertainments. He said all that was very well, but she must not now think of frivolity; she was to be married, and must think of the duties of a wife.
On my return to Warwick House, I found Princess Charlotte very uneasy to know what had passed, and why I had been kept so long.
That evening she acted with Lady Catherine and the Miss Fitzroys, a little French proverb I wrote for her; and this amusement was continued for some time. I wrote two others, and, as she was beginning to sing with Lindley, they were of use in that respect, and still more so in giving her more facility for speaking French. Only the / p.277 / Duchess and I, with the upper servants and masters, were the audience. The weather was very severe; we scarcely saw any one, but the days passed quietly and not uncomfortably. I wrote Italian songs, which she set to music, or got Lindley or Vacari to set them. She composed waltzes, &c. Sometimes, when all other resources failed, we sent for old Vitalba, the drawing-master, to come in the evening, and she would make drawings with him, with stumps burned in the candle, which had a very good effect.
The Prince was much worse after I saw him; indeed, I believe in imminent danger for a day or two. When he got a little better, the Queen and Princesses came to see him, and the Duke of York came over to fetch Princess Charlotte, who made him a half-hour or an hour's visit; but was not asked to dine with the family. The Prince was in bed.
On the 2nd of March, Princess Charlotte and I were sent for to Carlton House. The Prince was better, but had his leg on a chair. The object of our coming was for her Royal Highness to see the letters from the sovereign of the Netherlands and his son to ask her (formally) in marriage: they were brought over by Baron Van der Duyn de Maasdam,*
* "The Baron Van der Duyn Van Maasdam, Grand Master of the Household to his Royal Highness the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands, whose presentation to the Prince Regent at a private audience on the / p.278 / 9th inst (March), accompanied by M. Fagel, the regular ambassador, was notified in the Gazette of Saturday last, as having come on a special mission from the Court of the Hague, has been sent over to make a demand in form of the Princess Charlotte's hand in marriage for the hereditary Prince of Orange. The sanction of the previous consent and approbation of the Prince Regent, the Princess herself, and of the whole Court and Government, has already smoothed the way to the arrangements of this important and auspicious union, which must, however, according to the established etiquette among crowned heads, be demanded by embassy after it has been agreed upon by the parties; and the settlements and provisions resulting from the exalted condition and prospective sovereign duties of the personages to be married, must be reduced into a treaty by plenipotentiaries specially appointed. M. Van Maasdam is charged with full powers for this purpose on the part of the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands."— Morning Chronicle, March 17, 1814.
/ p.277 / who was said to be the principal agent / p.278 / in the Dutch counter-revolution, and he was also the bearer of a portrait of the Prince of Orange. The following day was appointed for Lord Liverpool to introduce him and M. Fagel, the Dutch Ambassador, to Princess Charlotte.
They came, and the Duchess and I were present. They did not bring the picture to Warwick House, but afterwards gave it to the Duchess. Fifteen thousand pounds were sent by the House of Orange for jewels, which the Prince said Princess Charlotte herself should choose, and Bridge was accordingly sent to receive her orders, the Regent having announced that when he knew what she chose he should order his own present for her.
Parliament was to meet on the 21st (of March),*
* It had been adjourned to that date.
and it was supposed the intended marriage would be then announced.†
† See Lord Colchester's Journal, under date February 28. "At Lord Sidmouth's office met Lord Liverpool; talked over the proceedings upon the intended marriage of the Princess Charlotte to the hereditary Prince of Orange, which is to be communicated to Parliament before Easter."
It had been announced to the States of Holland, which seemed irregular; but / p.279 / that was attributed to the pressure of circumstances, and it was evident that ministers had been most anxious to obtain Princess Charlotte's consent at the time they did, to strengthen the means of executing their plans in Holland and the Netherlands.
[The chapter continues with reflections of Princess Charlotte on her place of residence after the marriage; the relief that the Prince of Orange supported the Bourbons (in view of the fight of the English against Napoleon); the visit of the Grand Duchess Catherine, sister of the Emperor of Russia, and a return visit by Princess Charlotte which gave her great pleasure; however, the restoration of the Bourbons has the opposite effect, with poor Charlotte concerned that the marriage contract allow her to stay in England if there was threat of insurrection on the continent, this view annoying the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent is concerned with who is influencing his daughter and Cornelia Knight reminds him that "she had gone through a course of study on the laws of England, and by his own observation to me one evening at Carlton house, was allowed to be mistress of the subject. He smiled, and said her Royal Highness turned his arms against himself."; Princess Charlotte and Cornelia watch the procession of the King and Royal Family of France from the Grand-Duchess's apartments; the Prince Regent takes aversion to Princess Charlotte consorting with a Polish lady, Madame Tatischeff, who the Prince maintained was, together with her Russian husband, intending to marry the Princess off to a Russian Prince; Cornelia denies this, stating the relationship has to do with Charlotte's desire to obtain the order of St. Catherine; however, Madame Tatischeff's visits are forbidden from then on; soon after the Prince of Orange appears and discussions ensue as to Princess Charlotte's personal contact with him whilst the place of residence continues to be an issue; Princess Charlotte wins the argument and has a clause inserted in the contract, agreed to by the King; In Chapter XVIII Cornelia Knight describes the problems with the impending marriage.
/ p.282 /