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Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Royal Engagement

A couple of days ago, the nation was treated to the exciting news of Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton. Things were done very differently when Prince George, son of George III, got engaged to Princess Caroline of Brunswick. The Prince was pressured into the marriage. His father wanted him to provide an heir to the throne, and the young prince was deep in debt. Prince George did not meet his royal bride until three days before the wedding; he had only seen a flattering portrait of her.
Princess Caroline of Brunswick arrived at Gravesend to begin her new life in England on Saturday 4 April 1795 and disembarked on one of the royal yachts the next day.
The lady the prince sent to accompany his new bride was his mistress, Lady Jersey. She brought some new clothes for Princess Caroline: 'a white satin gown, and very elegant turban cap of satin, trimmed with crape, and ornamented with white feathers' (New Annual Register, 1795). The clothes did not flatter the princess's somewhat florid complexion. When the prince, resplendent in his hussar uniform, went to St James's Palace to meet his future wife, he 'appeared extremely agitated'. Things did not bode well for the royal nuptials...
Image: Fashionable full dress with turban adorned with white feathers, Lady's Monthly Museum, November 1798.

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