Friday, April 22, 2011

Royal Weddings, Part 5: Princess Mary and William, Duke of Gloucester

[Thank you all again for offering suggestions on titles for my new three-book miniseries from Love Inspired Historical! My editor had a hard time picking. In the end, she came up with her own title, which I like too: The Rogue’s Reform. So, I drew a name from among those of you who were kind enough to play, and the winner is pie! Dear pie, please contact me via the e-mail on my website, and let me know where to mail you the advance copy of The Irresistible Earl. I haven’t actually received it either, but as soon as it’s in my hot little hands, it’s yours!]

In our series on royal weddings in the nineteenth century, this one is probably not the stuff dreams are made of. Princess Mary was the eleventh child of King George III and the sister of the Prince Regent. Some say she was the prettiest of the King’s daughters. Like her sisters, Mary was raised quietly and led a very sheltered life. But she certainly had a romantic side to her. When she was barely twenty, she fell in love with Prince Frederick of the Netherlands. He and his family had escaped Napoleon’s armies, which ad overrun their country, and were living in London at the time. Even though the Prince returned her love, King George said that Mary must wait to marry him until her three older sisters were married. (A feat that would actually never happen, as her sister Princess Augusta never married.) Sadly, when Mary was twenty-three, Prince Frederick caught an infection and died while serving in the army. Mary went into mourning.

When Mary was forty years old, at a time when she would be considered firmly on the shelf, she married her cousin Prince William Frederick, the Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh. He was also forty, and his nickname was Silly Billy. He’d apparently been “on hold” to marry his second cousin Princess Charlotte if no suitable foreign prince was found, but she’d recently wed Prince Leopold. I wonder how Mary felt being the consolation prize? The Ladies Monthly Museum was politically correct in their coverage:

“This marriage, it is said, has been in contemplation for many years, but various reasons have been assigned for its delay. It is undoubted that they early imbibed a strong affection for each other, and which time has increased rather than diminished.”

Okay then.

They were married on July 22, 1816, in the evening at St. James’s Palace in the grand saloon, which had been draped in crimson velvet and gold lace for the occasion. The space was lined with a party of yeomen of the guards. The groom was dressed in the uniform of a field-marshal and wore the Order of the Garter. The Prince Regent gave his sister away. Again, from the Ladies Monthly Museum:

“Her Royal Highness was dressed with her usual beautiful simplicity; she wore no feathers, but a bandeau of white roses fastened together by light sprigs of pearls. Her neck was ornamented with a brilliant fringe necklace: her arms with bracelets of brilliants formed into flowers, and her waist with a girdle to correspond with her bandeau. Her whole appearance was very lovely. The ladies present were also most splendidly dressed: the prevailing color was blue.”

Though she had no children of her own, Mary was the longest lived of George the III’s children. She outlived her husband by 20 years and died in 1857 at the grand old age of 81.


MBirn said...

Wait a minute! I thought you weren't supposed to use Rouge! But there are nice follow-ons. The Scoundrels Comeuppance. The Vagabond's Vengeance.


Regina Scott said...

Well, actually, I do on occasion use rouge. :-) It was rogue that was off limits. But my editor decided it might be okay after all!

(And yes, I wish I'd known that sooner.)

Shirley Marks said...

I TOTALLY saw the editor/rogue title coming. :)

Regina Scott said...

Too funny, Shirley! It really was the perfect word to describe my hero, so I'm glad she found a way to use it that satisfied her (and me too!).