Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Lost Princess

Gio reviews a new biography of the tragic first wife of Leopold I.
Charlotte was the daughter of the dissolute Prince Regent, who eventually became George IV, and his coarse wife Caroline of Brunswick. Their marriage was a disaster from the start. They separated almost immediately and did everything they could to make each other and, as a result their daughter, miserable. Despite this, Charlotte turned out well, and was very much loved by the people who hoped she would restore the image of the monarchy and the royal family.
Sadly, their hopes were too soon destroyed. Everyone rejoiced when Charlotte married her Prince. The couple cared deeply for each other and did everything together. But after a year and a half of marriage, Charlotte died after giving birth to a stillborn son. Leopold was distraught and even though he would go on to become King of the Belgians, and remarry, he never forgot his first wife. Had she lived, his niece Queen Victoria, would probably never have been born. Although George IV had several siblings, none of them had legitimate children, and, until this tragedy occurred, hadn't really shown any inclination to get married.
Chambers' biography reads more like a novel than a biography. It flows easily, is entertaining and is light without being shallow. However, it isn't in-depth. While we get to know Charlotte quite well, especially thanks to her correspondence which is amply cited in the book, we're not told much about Leopold. His life after Charlotte's death is summed up in just a few short pages, which is something that really disappointed me as I have a bit of a crush on Leopold and would have loved to know more about him. (Read entire post)
Here is an article discussing amniotic fluid embolism, the rare obstetric emergency that may well have caused Charlotte's death.  


gio said...

Thank you for linking to my post!

Matterhorn said...

You're welcome, Gio!

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