“Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” gives us our best look yet at the royal family, whose favor has shaped the social fortunes of the tons. Along with a younger version of the imperious Queen Charlotte and the charming King George III, we also learn more about their huge family.
Here’s a look at the 15 real life princes and princesses descended from the beloved monarchs of “Bridgerton”.
Queen Charlotte and the children of King George III
1. King George IV
The future George IV (often referred to as “Prinny”), the Prince of Wales during his father’s reign, was the man who gave the name to the Regency era. From 1811 to 1820, during George III’s final illness, George served as Prince Regent, effectively ruling the United Kingdom while his father was alive but incapacitated. George IV famously despised his more popular wife, Queen Caroline, and they had only one daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales. After Charlotte, the expected heiress to the throne, died in childbirth, the race was on among George IV’s siblings to have a legitimate child as the next heir.
2. Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
Prince Frederick, the second son of George III and Queen Charlotte, followed the path of many noble and royal second sons by becoming a career military officer. He commanded the British armies during the Napoleonic Wars and oversaw massive military reforms, though his early inexperience earned him a derisive nickname (and song) as “the great old Duke of York.” Frederick also had an unhappy marriage to Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, and the couple never had children. Frederick died in 1827 before his brother George IV, to whom he was heir.
3. King William IV
After the death of Prince Frederik, the third son William became the heir apparent to his brother George IV, whom he succeeded in 1830. Although he had lived happily for many years with his mistress, actress Dorothea Johnson (with whom he had 10 children), when the “race for heirs” began, he quickly married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. The couple had no surviving children, but they apparently had a happy marriage. William made it clear that he wanted to live long enough to ensure that his likely heir, his brother Victoria’s daughter, would be of age to rule independently – and he did, dying the month after Victoria came of age.
4. Charlotte, royal princess
Named after her mother (and not to be confused with her niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales), Charlotte was given the title of Princess Royal, traditionally bestowed upon the eldest daughter of a monarch and held for life. She later married Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, and they had no surviving children.
5. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Prince Edward, a military man with a reputation for harsh punishment and strict command, was not a friendly legacy. However, his contribution was to be the eldest sibling of George IV to successfully marry and have a surviving child. Edward married the German Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (whose brother, Leopold, was the widower of George IV’s late daughter Charlotte), and they had one daughter, who became heir to the throne and one of the most famous monarchs in the became history : the future Queen Victoria.
6. Princess Augusta Sophia
From an early age, Princess Augusta Sophia gained a reputation for being very beautiful but also very shy. She never married or had children, but she did have a decades-long, semi-secret relationship with Sir Brent Spencer, an equerry at court. Augusta lived to see her niece Victoria become queen and attended Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert. She died in 1840.
7. Princess Elizabeth
Like her sisters, Princess Elizabeth lived a very sheltered life, but she was known for her sense of humour, her interest in farming (shared with her father), and her artistic talents. She and her sisters were often denied a chance to marry, so they began romances with men at court, which Elizabeth did. Eventually, she met a German prince, Frederick of Hesse-Homburg, and successfully overcame opposition from family and court to marry him in a friendly, but not particularly romantic, match. They had no children and Elizabeth died in 1840.
8. Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
Until Queen Victoria’s succession, the British monarch also reigned as King of Hanover (the family was known as the House of Hanover). Because Hanoverian law forbade a female monarch, Victoria succeeded to the British throne, but Ernest Augustus, William IV’s second-eldest male heir, became King of Hanover. He was somewhat unpopular in both Britain and Hanover. He married Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (who had earlier rejected his brother Adolphus), and they had one son, George V of Hanover.
9. Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Prince Augustus Frederick was best known for two things at the time: his progressive, reformist views and his love life. His first marriage, to Lady Augusta Murray, took place against the Royal Marriages Act (which said no descendant of King George II could marry without the consent of the reigning monarch). Despite having children, the marriage was later annulled. After Augusta’s death, he later remarried—again, against the law—to Lady Cecilia Buggin, and they had no children. Augustus Frederick was the favorite uncle of the future Queen Victoria, who even accompanied her at her wedding, and he died in 1843.
10. Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Adolphus lived a relatively quiet life for a member of the royal family. He had a military career and married Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, with whom he had three children. He died in 1850.
11. Princess Mary
Although she was known as the most beautiful of her sisters, Princess Mary was not allowed to marry until her older sisters were married, and her first love – with the Dutch Prince Frederik – sadly ended. She eventually married a first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and they had no children. When she died in 1857, Mary was the longest-lived and last surviving child of George III and Queen Charlotte.
12. Princess Sophia
Like several of her siblings, Princess Sophia’s marriage prospects were scuttled by her parents’ strict decisions. She never married, although at one point she was the subject of malicious gossip alleging that she had given birth to Thomas Garth’s illegitimate son, a palace master. She died in 1848.
13. Prince Octavius
Prince Octavius was one of two children of George III and Charlotte who died in infancy. He died in 1783, just months after his fourth birthday.
14. Prince Alfred
Prince Alfred was the first of George III and Charlotte’s children to die. He died in 1782, a month before his second birthday.
15. Princess Amelia
Princess Amelia, the youngest of George and Charlotte’s children, was very protective, as were her sisters, especially growing up during the period when George’s mental health was declining significantly. She suffered from health problems from her teens, which only increased over the years. When she died in 1810, the news is said to have been a major factor in the worsening of her father’s mental illness to the point that he invoked the Regency Act, and he reportedly hallucinated her presence during his episodes (a fact that briefly appears on “Bridgerton”).
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