Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Idyll of Leopold and Charlotte

A lively account of the tumultuous and tragic romance of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, future King of the Belgians, and Charlotte Augusta of Wales, the heir to the British throne. The rebellious, tempestuous Charlotte was a night-and-day contrast with the docile, tranquil Louise-Marie d'Orléans, Leopold's second wife! Personally, I would find Louise-Marie much easier on the nerves, but Leopold always pined nostalgically for his days with Charlotte.
The character of Prince Leopold contrasted strongly with that of his wife. He was at this time twenty-six years of age, and as the younger son of a minor prince had pursued a career as a soldier and diplomat. Leopold had served with distinction in the war against Napoleon. He had shown considerable diplomatic skill at the Congress of Vienna. Leopold was now to try his hand at the task of taming a tumultuous Princess. Cold and formal in manner, collected in speech, careful in action, he soon dominated the wild, impetuous, generous creature by his side. There was much in her, he found, of which he could not approve: she quizzed, she stamped, she roared with laughter. Charlotte had very little of that self-command which is especially required of princes. Her manners were abominable, while Leopold having moved, as he himself explained to his niece many years later, in the best society of Europe, being in fact "what is called in French de la fleur des pois." There was continual friction, but every scene ended in the same way. Standing before him like a rebellious boy in petticoats, her body pushed forward, her hands behind her back, with flaming cheeks and sparkling eyes, she would declare at last that she was ready to do whatever he wanted. "If you wish it, I will do it," she would say. "I want nothing for myself," he invariably answered; "When I press something on you, it is from a conviction that it is for your interest and for your good."
To everyone's surprise the couple led a domestic and scandal-free life probably mainly due to Leopold's diplomacy and knack for handling his young wife. This was quite a change in comparison with Charlotte's parents and most of her royal uncles. The couple spent most of their time divided between Camelford House, their London residence, and Claremont Park, a country house in Surrey. Sir Thomas Lawrence came to Claremont House to paint Leopold and Charlotte. The government allocated the sum of sixty thousand pounds to pay for the couple's household, a modest income for the heir to the throne, but still a coupe for Leopold as the penniless younger son of a minor princely house. Charlotte gladly adopted many of her husband's tastes, and joined him in reading, studying and religious observance. This model existence made Charlotte and Leopold tremendously popular among the London crowds.


Theresa Bruno said...

Beautiful post! I always enjoy reading about happy marriages. I hope you don't mind, but I featured your blog in one of my posts:

Have a wonderful day!

May said...

Oh, of course I don't mind- quite the opposite! Thank you very much.

ThereseMarie27 said...

Hello, Happy Anniversary. Your recent blog about Princess Charlotte of Wales inspired me to create a blog about her and Prince Leopold.I'm new at this so I probably had lots of errors in my settings ect. But I wrote down all that I learned about them. here's the link to those who are interested to read.