Crown Imperial: An Alt British Monarchy

GV: Part One, Chapter 23: Mama Knows Best

Opo

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King George V

Part One, Chapter Twenty Three: Mama Knows Best

As the Royal Family prepared for a wedding, Lord Melbourne had bigger things on his mind than cake and champagne. With a General Election looming in the New Year, the fortunes of the Whigs were uncertain. After the stalemate government of Lord Lansdowne, Melbourne had ramped up a reformist political agenda that he hoped would calm the demands of the Russell Group and would also prevent the Whig majority being dented too harshly in the forthcoming election. Nobody believed the Whigs would increase their majority but neither did anybody fear them being ousted from government. The Parish Schools Bill was a landmark educational reform of which the Whigs could be proud and the Salaries Act of the previous year had already made an impact in the selection of parliamentary candidates for the 1838 intake of new MPs.

Yet this was still not enough for Melbourne. The Church Temporalities Act had calmed tensions in Ireland but it raised a question among many Whig politicians as to why Melbourne had been reluctant thus far to reorganise the Church of England in a similar way. Other proposals which had been allowed to lapse under Lansdowne and which now fell into Melbourne’s lap included further reform of the Poor Laws and to address the growing issue of the working classes abandoning the countryside for a more profitable life in the cities, leading to rising food prices.

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Lord Melbourne.

The issue of Church reform had been deliberately stalled until now as both Lansdowne and Melbourne knew that the late Duke of Clarence felt very strongly against any attempts at church reform and fearing the use of the royal veto, neither had pressed the matter preferring instead to “wait and see”. [1] This had proven a convenient excuse for Melbourne to drag his feet. In truth, he did not wish to see divisions revisited on church matters considering the upheaval the Whigs had experienced in 1834 following debates on tithes in Ireland. A temporary truce had been won in Ireland with the Church Temporalities Act which reduced the size of the Church of Ireland hierarchy and abolished the church rates. [2] But Melbourne regarded this as a mistake.

The resentment over tithes in Ireland persisted and Lansdowne’s approach had done little to stop Irish Catholics flocking to Daniel O’Connell’s Repeal Association. In the forthcoming General Election, O’Connell was standing 80 candidates out of 100 Irish seats in the House of Commons, ironically a direct result of the Salaries Act which attracted those who before its introduction could never have afforded either to run or serve as a Member of Parliament. But church financing was also causing unrest in England too. In 1836, the Church Rate Abolition Society was founded (surprisingly with a number of liberal Anglican clergy among its members) which wanted to see church rates in England abolished as they had been in Ireland. In Common Law, parishioners in England (regardless of denomination) were forced to pay a tax to their local parish which was set by church officials and was to be used for the needs of the parish. In effect, this usually meant inflated salaries for church wardens or wasteful renovations to church premises which included the private residences of the clergy.

The Whigs were divided on the issue of Church Rates. The situation in Ireland had been very different to that in England and whilst most agreed that rates were discriminatory against Nonconformists, these were a minority in England as opposed to being a majority in Ireland. Most Whigs supported keeping church rates [3] but agreed that tougher regulation was needed. It was clearly unfair that the charge was not uniformly imposed and it was equally outrageous that some parishes were clearly using the rates as a personal shopping account.

But this fed into a wider call among the Whigs for reforms to church and state. The Whigs had long wished to redress the balance in England as they had in Ireland by restructuring the Anglican Church to reflect population change and to redistribute the wealth of the church from the richest to the poorest bishoprics. Melbourne agreed that the time to delay was over but he was not prepared to divide the party before a general election. Church reform meant wealth redistribution with tangible and obvious results and it wasn't until the entire Cabinet agreed the way forward that he agreed to proceed. Ahead of the 1838 General Election, voters would be convinced that the Whigs were serious about tackling the gulf between rich and poor and church reform was the first step in Melbourne's new electoral platform.

Melbourne proposed two bills. The first would be the Church Temporalities (England) Act 1837 which would restructure the Anglican hierarchy. The most radical change would be to introduce a third province to create an Archbishop of Leicester to rank below the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. This new province would carve its way across the midlands with Bishoprics being created in industrial towns and existing Bishoprics being joined together or cleaved in two to better reflect the population and to balance the wealth of the church in each area. [4]

The second bill would be the Church Finances Act 1837 which would regulate parish incomes. The salary of Bishops was to be tied to that of judges and church officials could not be paid more than justices of the peace. For the first time, parishes were expected to keep clear financial accounts and the Church of England was to create the Church Finances Commission which would regulate and investigate local expenditure of church revenues. Whilst parishes could still impose church rates, the bill would take up an idea proposed by Lord John Russell during the early years of the Tithes War in Ireland which forced parishes to turn 20% of that income over to the local representatives of the Poor Law Commission which had been created by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. A further 10% was to be paid to the new parish schools which had been built under the auspices of the Parish Schools Bill of 1836.

A supplementary bill would be added to the Church Finances Act which clarified the imposition of the church rates tax in regard to Nonconformists. Under the new legislation, there would be no exemptions for Nonconformists, Roman Catholics or Jews but these groups would be exempt from Chancel Repair Liability, an old legal obligation that allowed the parish to demand immediate and mandatory payment towards renovations or repairs to church structures. In addition, Chancel Repair Liability would be restricted only to concern places of worship and not church facilities such as village halls or vicarages. Melbourne also approved proposals to introduce a bill which would introduce civil marriage and the civil registration of births, deaths and marriages in England. He hoped that in this way everybody concerned would be placated; those Whigs who wanted church reform had it, those who wanted the abolition of church rates had a guarantee that the monies raised were being spent appropriately and those who opposed paying to religious bodies to which they did not belong had a form of compensation. Together, these bills would become known as the Melbourne Reformation.

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George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchelsea.

The moniker was given in fury by the Unionists when the Church Temporalities (England) Act was introduced to the House of Commons in the late autumn of 1837. Led by the Earl of Winchelsea, the Unionists had struggled to sustain momentum for their so-called “Dirty Campaign” when their alarmist predictions that Lansdowne would be ousted for the radical Lord John Russell had proven false. This was the moment Winchelsea hoped would revive their good fortune. Referring to the “Melbourne Reformation” as a “brutal and evil assault on all good Christian people of the Anglican Communion”, he argued that the Whigs were embroiled in a plot to separate church and state once and for all. In his view, they wished to “starve the clergy into submission” and he went further in accusing Melbourne of restructuring the sees in the Church of England so that he might appointed liberal Bishops to vote with the Whigs in the House of Lords. In his response, he called upon the Duke of Cambridge as King’s Regent to threaten to veto any attempt at church reform and called upon the Tory party to join him in his demands.

Moderate Tories were frustrated by Melbourne’s proposals. Most regarded church reform as inevitable and indeed, Sir Robert Peel was a proponent of some restructuring, though for different reasons. He was also a supporter of addressing the issue of Nonconformists and in his speech to the Commons on this issue, he called for the government to “delay the bill so as to allow a royal commission to sit upon the matter to provide long lasting and effective relief to the grievances of dissenters’”. The Whigs argued that such a commission had already sat under the Grey administration and that this had given the government the evidence it needed to carry out its reforms. The previous royal commission had only reported on church revenues and had recommended no real policy implications. Regardless, the Whigs rejected Peel’s suggestion and as a result, Peel withdrew his support for the Church Temporalities Act and the Church Finances Act. The Civil Marriages Act however was a very different issue.

Given that the act would undoubtedly pass because of the Whig majority, Peel saw no danger in allowing the Tories to vote according to their conscience. He intended to support the act, a long time proponent of allowing dissenters’ the right to have their marriages recognised beyond the existing structure. He had once been a supporter of the Test and Corporation Acts which required officials to be communicants in the Church of England but changed his mind after consultation with church leaders. He swore then only to do the same when any similar proposal came before the House in the future and by 1837, he had been convinced that Nonconformist Protestants were unfairly discriminated against in law and deserved improved standing under the law. In his address to the House, Peel raised the issue of women who were deserted by their husbands and had no access to legal redress because they had not had their marriage legalised according to the law in the Anglican tradition. This alone made him believe that he should support the bill. He was not so generous to Roman Catholics however and in supporting the Civil Marriages Act, he made it clear that he wished to state on the record that he did not intend to support either “the secularisation of marriage or the recognition of marriages sanctioned by foreign powers” (by which he meant the Pope in Rome).

Peel was in a minority. Most Tories felt as the Bishop of Exeter did. Civil marriage was “a disgrace to British legislation, pretended to be called for to prevent clandestine marriages but which will greatly facilitate such proceedings”. In his view, “Parties involved may take one another for better and for worse without calling God to witness their plighted troth. No blessing sought, no solemn vows of mutual fidelity, no religious solemnity whatever…”. [5]. A handful of Tories were so irritated that Peel would vote for the Civil Marriages Act that they defected to the Unionists but this was seen as a grandstanding venture. Of the three who jumped ship, one was due to retire at the next election and two had majorities under 100 and were bound to lose their seat. But it could not go unnoticed that the Tories were feeling the pinch. Electorally, they faced losing seats to both the Unionists and the Whigs and there was a real concern that not enough was being done to save the Tory Party from becoming a diminished force in British politics. Peel’s days as Leader of the Opposition could be numbered. Even those who liked him and supported him agreed that the General Election would be a test of his popularity and if the Tories suffered, Peel would have to go.

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Sir Robert Peel.

The calls on the Duke of Cambridge to involve himself in the situation regarding church reform were not new in so much as there were always calls for the monarch (or his regent) to veto bills that had parliamentary support, but which critics regarded as unacceptable. The Duke of Clarence may well have been swayed by such calls, but his successor was less inclined to exercise the royal prerogative. Quite aside from his own feelings on the matter which were best described as indifferent, he had no intention of causing a political crisis so close to his nephew reaching the age of majority. In his opinion, the Whigs had a majority. If their legislation on church reform came to him for royal assent, he would give it. Winchelsea however spied an opportunity. He had long been friendly towards the Dowager Queen and throughout the last decade, he had supported her ferociously but not entirely without ulterior motive. One day, he expected her to return the favour. Today was that day.

At dinner with the Dowager Queen at Windsor, Lord Winchelsea urged her to make the Duke of Cambridge think again on using the royal veto where the Church Temporalities Act was concerned. Winchelsea believed that doing so would see Melbourne resign just two months before a general election and in the ensuing chaos, the Unionists could exploit the situation to their political advantage. Unfortunately for Winchelsea, the Dowager Queen knew little of politics and she was more interested in the upcoming wedding of her son.

“Of course, Ma’am, the situation is such that if the Duke allows this attack on the established church, many in the country will question his integrity”, Winchelsea explained, “Indeed, they might even question his suitability to continue in his post as regent for His Majesty”.

The disinterested Dowager Queen was suddenly fascinated by the matter at hand.

“I know the Bishop of Exeter is of that opinion and he is not alone in wondering whether the Duke will enjoy the unanimous support of the upper house, even if he retains the support of the government”.

The Dowager Queen agreed to discuss the matter with the Duke of Cambridge. Naturally she was of the same opinion as Lord Winchelsea. It was offensive for the radical Whigs to seize control of the Anglican Church and as for Civil Marriage, there could be a very real threat posed to the stability of the monarchy. After all, what if a member of the family chose to contract one of these civil marriages and found himself called to serve as Supreme Governor of the Church of England in the future? The clash between Crown and Church was unthinkable. The more she thought about it, the more the Dowager Queen was convinced that the Duke of Cambridge must veto the bill.

“Please do not trouble yourself on this”, she told Lord Winchelsea as he left her that evening, “We know you are right, and we shall do what we can to put this situation right”.

The Duke of Cambridge was alarmed to see that his sister-in-law was once again interfering in politics. The wedding of her son had distracted her from his house hunting scheme which was intended to keep her well away from the political arena. Now he saw that he had been naïve. For once, he was determined to put his foot down. If the bills came to him for Royal Assent, he would give it. “It is quite absurd to think I could be opposed to civil marriages for nonconformist protestants”, he reasoned, “My wife may worship as a member of the Anglican church today but are you not both Lutherans outside of the communion by birth and were you not so when you married?”. Louise smiled. Whether he vetoed or whether he didn’t, she felt she was finally gaining the upper hand and whilst she doubted her coveted prize of the regency was in her grasp, certainly she saw an opportunity to use the ensuing chaos regardless of the outcome as leverage. If she could convince the King that his uncle had made a mistake, it could only reinforce her own influence over him in the months to come, something made even more crucial after he reached the age of majority.

The King himself was kept oblivious to the political situation which now touched his own household. The Duke of Cambridge had held fast to the same approach as that of the Duke of Clarence and whilst the King was regularly visited by politicians of all sides, they were under strict instructions not to discuss more than a general outline of the current agenda. Despatches from government were sent directly to the regent and not to the King. This wouldn’t change until he reached the age of majority, though the Duke of Cambridge had relented somewhat in allowing a one page overview to be submitted to the King each day since the Duke of Clarence’s death. George showed a remarkable appetite for these reports, often illustrating them with endless questions and comments. Unfortunately, these were never answered and the usual response was “These matters are being attended to by Your Majesty’s regent”. But the King did read newspapers and in similar fashion, he raised pertinent questions with the Prime Minister when he received him. On the issue of church reform, Melbourne noted in his diary that “His Majesty made very sound observations, so much so that I jokingly remarked that we should dispense with any constitutional barriers and make him a member of the cabinet”.

For George, the future which had shaped every moment of his life thus far could now be seen on the horizon moving ever closer into view. He began to discuss his plans with his future bride on his twice weekly visits to Duchess Luise at Fort Belvedere. Accompanied by Honest Billy, his sister Princess Charlotte Louise and Lady Anson, the happy group sat and enjoyed relaxed evenings together which greatly cheered the King’s sister and allowed the King himself to forge even closer to bonds to his intended. Lady Anson later wrote; “There can be no doubt that His Majesty was drawn to the Queen more and more at this time. When he spoke of how he should address some matter or other when he reached his 18th birthday, Her Majesty always replied; ‘Oh yes Georgie, that would be very good’ or ‘How clever you are, that is what you should do’. She was a great support to him and for the first time I believe they displayed a very genuine affection which was quite proper but nonetheless romantic too”.

These visits not only brought the King and his future Queen closer but they did much to buck up the spirits of the downtrodden Princess Charlotte Louise. She had heard nothing from Prince Albert in weeks and assumed that he had changed his mind. She wrote constantly, begging for him to reassure her, but her letters were always intercepted and never dispatched to the continent. She took Albert’s silence as disaffection. Perhaps the rejection of his proposal had wounded his pride so much that he had given up on her? Unbeknown to the Princess, Albert was writing daily with much the same concerns, but his letters too were being withheld when they arrived at Windsor. They steadily grew in number, locked away in the Dowager Queen’s desk in the Queen’s Closet. For her, the issue had been resolved. Princess Charlotte Louise would eventually lose interest in Albert and he in her.

Across the Channel, Prince Albert was not the only one considering his future. Though he remained deeply committed to Princess Charlotte Louise, his Uncle Leopold had instructed Baron Stockmar to prepare a list of other suitable brides. He wished Albert to have a position beyond that of a junior prince in a foreign court and with two sons of his own, the King accepted that his nephew would no longer play any official role in Belgium. It was unlikely too that Albert would succeed in Coburg. Whilst Leopold had lofty ambitions for his nephew Ernst, he did not wish to waste Albert’s potential. He was brighter than Ernst, more modest and sensitive but with a curious ability to tackle problems and resolve them to everybody’s satisfaction. He was well-liked and respected and whilst both Ernst and Albert had been sent to Germany to study at the University of Bonn, King Leopold advised his brother Duke Ernst that the next year must be devoted to finding a suitable bride for each of them to secure their own fortunes, and that of the Coburg dynasty still resented by many of the Great Powers of Europe.

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Princess Januária of Brazil.

Stockmar believed he had found the perfect match for Albert much further afield than Windsor. Princess Januária of Brazil was the 15-year-old daughter of Dom Pedro I and his first wife, Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria. In 1835, she was given the title of Princess Imperial of Brazil as the heir presumptive of her brother Emperor Pedro II and when her sister Maria was excluded from the Brazilian line of succession in October that year, Januária’s standing improved dramatically. The following year she had made a memorable impression when, at just 14, the Princess entered the Hall of the Palace of the Senate wearing a rich gold dress with the insignia of the Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Southern Cross pinned to her gown. In a bold and clear voice, she swore to upkeep the Catholic faith, observe the political constitution of the Brazilian nation and be obedient to her brother the Emperor. Pedro II’s regent, the Marquis of Olinda, could not ignore the sentiment that Januária should one day take the Marquis’ place as regent for the Emperor when she reached the appropriate age and as only a Brazilian member of the Imperial House could inherit the throne, there was an urgency in seeing all three of Pedro I’s children married as soon as possible.

There was already a link between the Coburgs and the Braganzas. King Leopold’s nephew, Ferdinand, had married Queen Maria II of Portugal in the April of 1836 and with the birth of a son in September 1837, he had been granted the title King of Portugal. There was however an issue of religious difference. Ferdinand belonged to the Koháry branch of the Coburg family founded by his father (also called Ferdinand) who married Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág et Szitnya in 1815. After her father’s death, Prince Ferdinand (the senior) inherited his father-in-law’s lands in Hungary becoming an extremely wealthy man with properties the enormous Palais Koháry in Vienna and homes and estates in Ebenthal, Althoflein and Pest among many others.

The elder Prince Ferdinand had converted to Roman Catholicism only after the death of his father-in-law but his son had been baptised a Catholic under the terms of the papal dispensation given for the marriage of his parents by Pope Pius VII. Whilst the elder Prince Ferdinand was not expected to convert to the Catholic faith, all children from his marriage to Princess Maria Antonia were to be raised in the Roman Catholic religion. The same dispensation had been applied to the marriage of King Leopold of the Belgians to Princess Louise of Orléans in 1832. Stockmar proposed the idea of a marriage between Prince Albert and Princess Januária shortly before the Christmas celebrations of 1837. King Leopold was immediately enthused and dispatched Stockmar to Brazil to meet with the Marquis of Olinda as soon as possible in the New Year. Whilst it was unlikely that Januária would ever reign in Brazil, Albert could prove useful if she became regent for her brother and in this way, he could carve out a role for himself that would undoubtedly make him a key ally and support to Pedro II when he reached the age of majority.

King Leopold wrote to his nephew in Bonn. Albert reacted calmly. He appreciated that there could be no question of a marriage with Princess Charlotte Louise immediately, but he also knew that her brother was devoted to her happiness. If King Leopold could just wait until George V reached the age of majority, he would not hesitate in giving Albert and Charlotte Louise permission to wed. He did not care if this meant a minor position at the English court as opposed to a far loftier standing in Brazil. King Leopold was not an unfair man and agreed to give Albert a little more time to recover the situation with Princess Charlotte Louise. By the time Stockmar returned from Brazil, Leopold expected a clear promise from George V that such an understanding had been agreed to or, if Stockmar had found a favourable response in Rio de Janeiro, negotiations would begin for Albert’s marriage to Princess Januária and the prospect of an English marriage would be closed for good.

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Prince Albert at Bonn.

In desperation, Prince Albert wrote a letter not only to King George but to his prospective mother-in-law, the Dowager Queen Louise. In the letter, he wrote that he was deeply aggrieved at her reluctance to consider a marriage between the Prince and her daughter but that he loved her very sincerely and wished only to secure their future happiness. Out of respect for her current position, the Prince felt it ungentlemanly to approach the King without first making his case to his mother, whom he acknowledged had the right to arrange and approve the marriages of her children. “Whilst I know our families have not always enjoyed a cordial friendship”, Albert pleaded, “I beg you Madam to reconsider my case. The love I hold for your daughter is immeasurable and I believe it to be reciprocated in its entirety. I ask only that I be allowed to put that same case to His Majesty and with your blessing Madam, to come to England when the time is right and marry the girl to whom my heart shall always belong”.

Albert was not so naïve as to believe that the Dowager Queen would share his letter with her son and so, with etiquette satisfied, he sent a second letter to the King along with the first. He explained that his uncle Leopold had now found him an alternative bride in Brazil and that if Albert could not guarantee an understanding that George V would grant permission for Charlotte Louise and Albert to be married despite the Dowager Queen’s opposition, he must obey his uncle’s wishes and marry elsewhere. In other words, there was a sense of urgency that Albert hoped could be stayed with a simple reply from King George. Unfortunately for Prince Albert, the Dowager Queen had ordered all letters from Coburg be put before her and when she was handed the two notes from Baroness Pallenberg, she opened each in turn. Quietly folding the letters and returning them to their envelopes, she placed them in her desk and locked the drawer. There they would remain but the contents had given the Dowager Queen everything she needed to draw a line under the Coburg match once and for all.

As the King and Duchess Luise, Princess Charlotte Louise, Lady Anson and Honest Billy sat at Fort Belvedere reading ghost stories, a popular pastime of the age, rain hammered the stained glass windows and threatened to flood the forecourt. It scared them all half to death therefore when the bell of the Fort was rung and moments later, a footman announced the arrival of the Dowager Queen. All rose to their feet and were instantly dismissed by the King’s mother, with the exception of His Majesty and Princess Charlotte Louise.

“I understand that you have a little agreement”, the Dowager Queen began, seating herself by the fire and gesturing for her children to sit opposite her, “Concerning the Coburg boy”.

Brother and sister fell silent.

“If you do, I feel you should know that you are quite mistaken”, their mother continued icily, “I have received a letter today which will finally draw this entire Coburg nonsense to an end”

Princess Charlotte Louise felt her heart drop in her chest. Had there been word from Albert? Why had he not written to her? She was trapped between longing for news and fearing the finality her mother seemed so sure of.

“Prince Albert is engaged to be married”, the Dowager Queen lied, “To Princess Januária of Brazil. I understand they are only waiting for the approval of the Pope before it is announced formally, and the boy goes away from Bonn”

Princess Charlotte Louise yelped like a wounded animal. She fell from the sofa onto the floor at her mother’s feet. A look of disgust set itself into the Dowager Queen’s sour features. And…was that a trace of a cruel smile? She stood up and looked down at her sobbing daughter.

“Oh Mama, Mama! Please, no Mama, please, there must be something!”

King George rushed forward to comfort his sister as their mother shook her head, stepping over the body of her devastated daughter and making for the door. She looked back to see her son cradling the broken Princess in his arms as she wept and rocked backwards and forwards.

“I warned you child”, she drawled coldly, “Perhaps in the future you will learn that your Mama knows best”.



[1] In the OTL of course, church reform was the final straw for King William IV and Melbourne leading to the last time a British monarch dismissed a government based on his own political preferences. Not so here.

[2] This is much the same as it was in the OTL. It doesn't stop O'Connell and indeed, here other factors actually boost his standing as explained in this instalment.

[3] Even Lord John Russell wanted to keep them but only because he felt they should be put into poor relief rather than be used by the parish officers for their own needs.

[4] This was Melbourne's plan when the OTL William IV dismissed him. In this version of events, he gets his way.

[5] An actual quote from the OTL from the Bishop of Exeter.

General Note

It's worth pointing out that some of the bills here are the same as they were in the OTL but the political development of this TL means that certain bills have been brought forward or delayed as we've gone through the various years. For example, the Civil Marriages Act was actually introduced in 1836, not 1837.

I also wanted to include an update on the political side of things as this timeline is intended to tell the story of Britain through it's monarchs as any other history of the monarchy would. Because 1837 has had a fair few instalments all to itself, I wanted to take this opportunity to carry that forward ahead of the royal wedding and the subsequent general election and coronation.
 
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Louise, you might have just overplayed your hand here, because King George will find out, and he will not be happy with you. At. All!!!
 
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Very interesting timeline indeed- I have enjoyed reading it a lot. A 19thC without Victoria will be very interesting indeed.

Queen Louise is quite horrible isn't she. I really hope King George dispatches her to the Scottish estates as soon as he becomes King, since after-all "its been a while since anyone visited and it must be in a dreadful state that only Her Majesty can fix...."

Shame about Kensington Palace.

How much of the Palace of Westminster survived apart from the Old Hall and various bits? Is it enough to rebuild close to as was, or will a new building sweep in? Perhaps something very different from the OTL Barry/Pugin design? There is perhaps a project for Queen L.

I quite like Thomas Hopper's design:

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Question on Hawaii- what happened there after the King died in the UK?
I would like to see it as a British colony instead of what happened OTL please. Ditto Alaska.
 
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Dowager Queen Louise is a monster. I hope who George would discover what she has done and make her pay for everything she has done
 
Dowager Queen Louise is a monster. I hope who George would discover what she has done and make her pay for everything she has done
Oh, I think George is going to find out a lot--probably not all of it, but he will find out about her meddling in Charlotte Louise and Albert's relationship, methinks, and he won't be happy with his dear mother. Not even a little bit...
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Louise, you might have just overplayed your hand here, because King George will find out, and he will not be happy with you. At. All!!!
Dowager Queen Louise is a monster. I hope who George would discover what she has done and make her pay for everything she has done
Without offering too many spoilers, as many of you predicted in your comments on the last few instalments, Louise was always going to overplay her hand and do something that would lead to her downfall beyond just being monstrous.

Well, this is it. She's unwittingly set up a paper trail leading the King to discover how she deceived Princess Charlotte Louise out of her happiness. I won't make you wait to find out if it's discovered, rather I'll leave it to emerge as to when!

Very interesting timeline indeed- I have enjoyed reading it a lot. A 19thC without Victoria will be very interesting indeed.

Queen Louise is quite horrible isn't she. I really hope King George dispatches her to the Scottish estates as soon as he becomes King, since after-all "its been a while since anyone visited and it must be in a dreadful state that only Her Majesty can fix...."

Shame about Kensington Palace.

How much of the Palace of Westminster survived apart from the Old Hall and various bits? Is it enough to rebuild close to as was, or will a new building sweep in? Perhaps something very different from the OTL Barry/Pugin design? There is perhaps a project for Queen L.

I quite like Thomas Hopper's design:

Question on Hawaii- what happened there after the King died in the UK?
I would like to see it as a British colony instead of what happened OTL please. Ditto Alaska.
Thank you so much for reading! I'm really glad you've enjoyed it and I love the Hopper designs for the new Palace of Westminster, there'll be an instalment on it's replacement (and that of Kensington Palace) in a short while.

As to Hawaii, when King Kamehameha II died he was succeeded by Kamehameha III as in the OTL. We'll revisit Hawaii in 1843 with the Paulet Affair but as with other UK colonies/territories/realms/dominions along the way, British foreign policy will change with the government of the day which may at times be very different from what we know of the OTL.
 
Regarding the latest chapter- how is the Regent or his staff not informed that letters for the King are being stopped regardless of where they come from?

How has this not reached the right ears to stop it?

Oh and Louise... I hope the King is v.v. unforgiving with you.
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Regarding the latest chapter- how is the Regent or his staff not informed that letters for the King are being stopped regardless of where they come from?

How has this not reached the right ears to stop it?

Oh and Louise... I hope the King is v.v. unforgiving with you.
In fairness to the Duke of Cambridge, Louise's order regarding letters from Coburg has only been in force for a few weeks at this point. As he's in London for much of the time with other things to focus on, and as this is happening at Windsor, it would take a while for him to be informed that this was the case. That's if anyone from the Court Post Office dared to betray the Dowager Queen to someone higher up even if they could manage to get an audience with them.

A possible spoiler maybe but for this to be discovered, someone writing these letters will have to directly question why they are not being responded to as expected.
 
My guess - George or Charlotte take it to Cambridge, or perhaps George in his audiences with the Prime Minister (which were stressed to occur in this installment) brings it up, and Melbourne or Cambridge gets involved and queries with Leopold. Leopold blows the doors off by explaining that no letters were sent by Charlotte, and George takes it to his mother. But this has to be done after his wedding - given the Dowager Queen attends it.

Unless this is a, "you shall have this much, Mama, and no more" situation for George
 
Damn what a bloody bitch, still when George finds out what Louise did to his sister she is probably going to be sent to the Sandwich Islands
 
GV: Part One, Chapter 24: The Turning of the Tide

Opo

Monthly Donor
King George IV

Part One, Chapter Twenty-Four: The Turning of the Tide

The Christmas of 1837 would be very different for the Royal Family than any before or since. It was dominated by the wedding of King George V and Duchess Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz which was to take place in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Traditionally, royal weddings had been held in the evening, but the King did not wish to dispense with the usual celebrations and thus the wedding was moved to 1pm at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. This would now become the fashion for all royal weddings to come with a wedding breakfast held directly after the ceremony. The Dowager Queen had intended to keep the ceremony strictly to members of the British Royal Family and was slightly put out when news reached her that the Dowager Duchess of Clarence had invited Prince William and Princess Victoria to stay with her for the festive period and thus, they too would be present at Windsor.

The Dowager Duchess meant no ill-will. For one thing, it was entirely natural that she would wish to see her niece at Christmas time and her precarious health meant that crossing the channel to the Netherlands was out of the question. It was equally to be expected that Princess Victoria should wish to be present when her cousin was married. But there was another reason for the Dowager Duchess extending an invitation. Victoria’s first few months of married life in The Hague had not been without its problems and Queen Anna had asked if Victoria’s aunt could step in and help to ease her transition to her new position. Victoria was delighted to have the opportunity to return to England so soon after her marriage and wishing to ease his wife’s rather frustrating emotional state, her husband urged her to accept without delay.

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The Dowager Duchess of Clarence.

The Dutch royal couple were to stay at Windsor Castle for the duration of their visit and so it was that the King arranged a programme of events for the Christmas period that would be truly memorable. His wedding would take place on Christmas Eve with a grand ball held the following evening to celebrate. On Boxing Day, he had scheduled a buck shoot in the Great Park and on the 27th of January the entire Royal Family and their guests would be treated to a performance of Elizabeth, Queen of England by Rossini staged by the company of the King’s Theatre who had first performed the opera in 1818 to great acclaim. The Great Hall at Windsor was to be turned over to an appropriate theatre space with a stage constructed at one end and raised seating offered at the other. At the end of the performance, theatre manager Pierre François Laporte would deliver an address of welcome to Duchess Luise as the new Queen consort and as a gift from the company, the King’s Theatre was to be renamed Her Majesty’s Theatre. [1]

Following a New Year’s banquet at Windsor, William and Victoria were to travel with the Dowager Duchess of Clarence to Worcestershire for a two week holiday. The Dowager Duchess was not keen to return to Clarence House alone and had decided to lease a house there which had recently gone up for sale and which she believed would provide the perfect environment in which to recuperate. The house was Witley Court. Whilst the trustees of Witley were delighted that a member of the Royal Family wished to lease the estate (and thus bump up the eventual asking price), the Dowager Queen was less than thrilled. She had heard about Witley and wanted to visit after her son’s wedding to see whether it might provide a suitable residence for the extended members of the British Royal Family. The Duke of Cambridge was glad Witley was out of the running as it would have proved to be a seriously expensive venture but whilst his sister-in-law had not even seen Witley, she made it perfectly apparent that in her view, the Dowager Duchess had been incredibly rude to lease it without asking her first and that now she would have to go back to the drawing board in finding something which fit the Duke of Clarence’s brief for a new royal residence.

The Duke of Cambridge had no interest in the petty squabbles of his family. Parliament would soon go into recess for Christmas and the New Year but before it did, votes were to be held on four bills: the Church Temporalities (England) Act, the Church Finances Act, the Civil Marriages Act and the Registration Act. Whilst the latter two were only slightly controversial, the former two threatened to cause the Duke of Cambridge some degree of discomfort. Without question, Cambridge intended to give all four bills the royal assent. The government had a majority in both houses and there was no question of him giving in to the opponents of church reform led by Lord Winchelsea and the Bishop of Exeter. For Cambridge however, this meant the likelihood of awkward discussions, possibly parliamentary debates, on how he had acted as the King’s Regent on the issue. He was informed by the Bishop of London, a close friend, that some among the Lords Spiritual were deeply unhappy at the restructuring of the Church of England and saw the King’s Regent as the only barrier to delaying it, if not stopping it altogether. In their view, Melbourne should be forced to withdraw the legislation before royal assent was given.

The Prime Minister on the other hand had no intention of doing so and Cambridge suspected that if he even gave even the slightest nod to the opponents of the legislation that Melbourne would resign. “And he would be quite right to do so”, Cambridge reasoned, “It is not for me to tell the elected government what they can and cannot introduce, neither is it for me to tell parliament that it cannot have its way when it so roundly demands it”. Lord Winchelsea indirectly threatened to raise the suitability of the Duke of Cambridge as the King’s regent following the winter recess if he gave the bills the royal assent. The Duke was unconcerned. If it came to that, Melbourne’s Whigs would stand by him and besides, he very much doubted it was anything other than a hollow threat and a last-ditch attempt by Winchelsea to get his way. As an old soldier, the Duke had engaged in many a standoff. He was not about to be intimidated by someone like Winchelsea. The bills came before Cambridge just before the recess and he dutifully gave them royal assent before heading to Windsor for the wedding of his nephew.

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The Duke of Cambridge.

On Christmas 1837, the British Royal Family gathered at St George’s Chapel, Windsor dressed in their finery. The question of clothes had caused something of a headache before the ceremony, the King being in the unusual position of being Head of the British Armed Forces but not having been gazetted to any military rank. A solution was found in that the wedding would take place at Windsor and thus, all men present would be wearing the Windsor Uniform. Introduced by King George III in 1777, the full dress uniform included a dark blue jack with red facings trimmed with gold braid. [2] The frock coat was to be worn with a white single breasted waistcoat with gilt buttons bearing the Garter star and was worn with matching dark blue knee-length breeches trimmed with braid over white stockings. The King was to wear this for his wedding, with the full insignia of the Order of the Garter of which he was Sovereign but without the Collar of the Order which he considered too heavy and uncomfortable.

As for the bride, Duchess Luise had favoured engaging Mary Bettans who had designed the wedding dress of Princess Victoria for her wedding in the spring but the Dowager Queen refused to allow Bettans to submit a design. Instead, the Dowager Queen engaged the services of the Knightsbridge dressmaker Madame Yvonne, better known as Elsie Fitch. Fitch had provided the court ladies with gowns throughout the reign of George IV and was a favourite of the Dowager Queen. Whilst Duchess Luise favoured a simple gown in cream satin as Princess Victoria had worn, the Dowager Duchess insisted that English tradition be honoured and instead, the wedding dress was made of silver satin covered with transparent silk net embroidered with English roses. The sleeves were trimmed with Honiton lace and the six-foot train was embroidered with a joint monogram designed for the King and his new bride to use after their marriage by the Royal College of Arms. The dress cost almost £10,000 [3] and was to be worn with the Rumpenheim Tiara created by Fossin for the Dowager Queen as a gift from her father on her own wedding day. King George gifted his bride a pair of diamond earrings from Garrards & Co but around her neck she chose to wear a simple silver cross on a chain, a christening present from her mother.

With the exception of a few senior members of the Royal Household, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the Lord President of the Council and the future Queen’s ladies in waiting and their husbands, the ceremony itself was attended only by members of the British Royal Family and three others; Prince William and Princess Victoria of the Netherlands, and the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who would lead his sister down the aisle to the altar. The Duke of Sussex had been unable to return from Hanover for the wedding owing to bad weather and the Cumberlands had received an invitation but had thought better of it. Thus, the stalls of St George’s were only half full as the bride made her way along the aisle as the choir sang Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart. The chapel was kept deliberately dark so as to light the entire chapel with candles as would have been the way with an evening ceremony and many guests noted how the bride’s tiara sparkled as she processed with her brother to the altar. There, waiting for her, was the 17-year-old King.

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St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The two Cambridge princesses served as bridesmaids whilst Prince George of Cambridge was a supporter to the King. They stood either side of the couple as the Archbishop of Canterbury celebrated the wedding service, the King slipping a plain wedding band of Welsh gold onto her finger and kissing her gently on the cheek. From her stall, the Dowager Queen smiled as she watched her long-held dream cement itself before her eyes. Whether it was the romance of the occasion or because he held the King in special regard, Lord Melbourne recorded in his journal that he was “quite overcome to see the young couple turn to the congregation, newly married with their whole lives before them”. Princess Augusta noted Melbourne’s reaction, chiding him for “weeping like an old maid during the service” at the wedding breakfast afterwards. Princess Sophia also caused a stir at the reception when she mistook Lord Palmerston for the bride’s father (whom she had never met) and congratulated him on his daughter’s marriage by kissing him on each cheek.

For all his earlier misgivings, the King committed his memories of that day to paper, writing in his journal; “That I should have such a beautiful bride joined to me before God was the most moving and wonderful moment of my life. When I took her hand after the ceremony, I told her that I loved her very deeply and I truly was sincere in it for though we have been led to this, I would not be led elsewhere for tonight I am the happiest man in the Kingdom”. The new Queen Luise was equally contented. “My darling one was so very brave and all went so well that I shall never forget the joy we have shared today. When I left the Fort, the carriage took me past cheering crowds and they waited so long in the bitter cold that we asked the carriage to take us back after the ceremony for a short time so that we could greet them again. They stayed quite late and so Georgie sent them out little pastries and warm ale which encouraged them to remain along the Long Walk with no thought of the cold! How dear he is”.

Britain was not entirely gripped by wedding fever, the age of royal weddings as a public spectacle not yet established, but every newspaper proudly congratulated the King and welcomed the new Queen consort warmly. Across England, people cut out an engraving of the couple printed on the morning of Christmas Eve and placed it above the fireplace, toasting the image with whatever they had to drink for the Christmas festivities. There was a popular story that in Rochdale, a publican had promised a free mug of beer to every customer to celebrate the royal wedding but had partaken so much of it himself that he couldn’t recognise returning customers and thus the happy crowds drank the place dry. Another report on the public reaction came from Plymouth where the ladies of a town’s guild had set about making 500 Christmas puddings with donations given by local merchants and landowners which were decorated in royal icing with a G on one side and an L on the other. These were then given to the poor. This so caught on that many people began to decorate their Christmas puddings with the royal initials, a tradition kept up well beyond George V’s reign.

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Francatelli.

Another sweet that was to catch the imagination of the public that Christmas was the invention of the soon-to-become English favourite; Mecklenburg Pudding. Whilst it was not served at the wedding breakfast itself, it was served to members of the St James’ Club (also known as Crockford’s Club) and was created by their Chief Chef, the Anglo-Italian Charles Elmé Francatelli. Francatelli created the pudding by taking inspiration from the popular dish Rote Grütze which was widely served in the Mecklenburg region. Redcurrants were traditionally allowed to boil with the addition of sugar and semolina until a red porridge had formed. Francatelli developed this into an almond flavoured steamed pudding filled with redcurrant jam and served with custard. The receipt for this dish was published in various magazines at the time of the royal wedding and within months, Mecklenburg Pudding was being featured on the menu of some of the grandest hotels in the country. Given that it was cheap to produce, the working classes too came to enjoy it, though the availability of redcurrants meant that most preserved them in sugar syrup throughout the summer months to make Mecklenburg Pudding in the wintertime. Today, the dish is still served throughout the United Kingdom.

Now married, the royal couple spent their first night together in the King’s Apartments at Windsor Castle but the following day, they awoke to find the Dowager Queen residing in the Queen’s Apartments next door as she had planned. The King summoned Sir Frederick Beilby Watson to ask why the Queen had not been given the rooms seemingly occupied by his mother. Sir Frederick could only respond that those had been the Dowager Queen’s orders. Unwilling to clash with his mother during his honeymoon and amid the festivities to come, the King promised his new bride that he would see that changes were made in the New Year when his mother had returned to Marlborough House. Until that time, he saw no reason why they should not share his apartments. This was unthinkable to the Georgian upper classes. Whilst their sexual promiscuity is well documented, appearances were important, and husbands and wives maintained separate rooms to at least give the impression that they had not spent the night together. This was all rather ridiculous and was said to be arranged so as not to embarrass the servants. But the King’s view was that his servants would expect nobody other than his wife to share his bed and so, until the Queen’s Apartments were vacant, that is where Queen Louise would stay.

Princess Charlotte Louise had managed to maintain her composure during her brother’s wedding. Heartbroken and desolate, she had managed to make her way through the ceremony and the wedding breakfast but asked to be excused from further festivities. The King naturally agreed and ensured she was well cared for her in her rooms at Windsor, explaining that she had caught a slight chill in St George’s Chapel and needed rest. He was deeply aggrieved for his sister but also confused. He had considered Prince Albert to be a friend and most importantly, a gentleman. If he had been engaged, whether willingly or on the orders of his uncle, he was not the sort of man who would simply ignore his promises to another. The fact that Albert had not written to the Princess, or even to the King, troubled George deeply. “There are those who would challenge him to a duel”, he remarked, half in jest. He hoped that the pain would not last long for his poor sister and that when the time was right, she would fall in love with another and be happily married – preferably in England where brother and sister would not be parted. He brooded on writing a stern letter to Prince Albert demanding an explanation but decided to give things time to calm down a little instead.

Meanwhile, the happy couple were feted by those in attendance who showered them with gifts and congratulations for three or four days. The high point was of course the performance of Elizabeth, Queen of England and when Pierre François Laporte announced that the King’s Theatre was to be renamed in the Queen’s honour, the King stood up and said, “Then you must allow us to return the honour Sir and attend this opera again at Her Majesty’s Theatre”. The festivities were a happy mixture of wedding celebrations and Christmas cheer and together, all present agreed that no finer occasion had ever been seen at Windsor before. The close to these events was a grand New Year’s Ball which, ever popular, was to be held in costume on the theme of ‘The Seasons’. The King dressed as the Winter King (a character popular in Christmas stories at the time) whilst his wife came as the Queen of the May. The Dowager Queen did not feel it appropriate that she should appear in costume, but other members of the family truly embraced the spirit of the occasion with the Dowager Duchess of Clarence dressed as a lilac flower to reflect half-mourning for her late husband whilst still joining in the fun. The Duchess of Cambridge was Mother Nature whilst the Duke of Cambridge was Old Father Time.

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Her Majesty's Theatre on the Haymarket, London. It was rebuilt in the early 20th century but retains the same name it received in 1837.

The following morning, the guests were gathered for a formal audience in the Garter Throne Room before their departure. The sumptuous blue salon had been installed by the King’s father and was intended to serve as a gathering place for the Knights of the Garter to witness new knights being invested. However, the Garter Throne Room was also used by the monarch to make more general pronouncements affecting the court and today, there was some much-needed housekeeping to attend to. Firstly, it had been decided that to distinguish her from her daughter-in-law, the Dowager Queen would now be styled Her Majesty Queen Louise, The Queen Mother. [4] Secondly, the King announced the creation of a new order of chivalry, his final wedding gift to his wife. The Order of Queen Louise was to honour women whose service was worthy of high recognition. A similar order, the Luisen-Orden had been founded in 1818 by Frederick William III of Prussia to honour his late wife who was Queen Luise’s aunt and in an age when few women in Britain were formally recognised for their achievements, the establishment of this new award certainly gave a clear indication as to what kind of King George V would be in the future.

The medal of the order featured a profile of Queen Louise in the centre of a cross and was struck in gold affixed to a badge made of pink and white ribbon. Unlike its Prussian counterpart, the order was to be given in one grade only and came with no title, rather it was intended to be a prestigious award in the name of the new Queen consort to honour those she believed to be worthy of it. The motto was to read “With Gratitude”. Whilst the King would act as Sovereign of the new order, the Queen would serve as Lady Chancellor and the Queen’s birthday, the 31st of May, would see new appointments made and the order celebrated with a special service of thanksgiving at St George’s Chapel. In a similar vein, the King let it be known that every senior female member of the Royal Family (with the notable exceptions of the Duchess of Cumberland and the Duchess of Inverness) were to be honoured with his Royal Family Order which was currently being crafted by Garrards & Co and which would be presented to the Queen, the Dowager Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princesses Augusta and Sophia on the King's 18th birthday in April. This continued the tradition of presenting family orders begun by George IV and whose ribbon was white. George V had decided that his ribbon should be pale yellow. [5]

It was a new year and a new era at the English court, something nobody could afford to miss that evening. With many of their guests now departed, the King and Queen had decided to give a modest dinner (by royal standards at least) for the senior members of their court who had worked hard to help deliver a memorable and happy wedding. As was usual, the members of the Royal Family present at Windsor gathered in the ante-room to take their place in the procession into the dining room but instead of bowing to his mother as was usual and offering her his arm to take, the King kissed his wife on the cheek and offered her his arm. From behind the couple, the Queen Mother gave a warning cough. She did not expect to be outranked by her niece and pushed Sir Frederick Beilby Watson forward to lead the Queen into dinner instead. Queen Louise made to move but the King stopped her.

“That is very good of you Sir”, George said confidently, “But I shall lead my wife into our dining room this evening”.

With that, the King and Queen entered the dining room and a shocked Dowager followed in their wake, hanging onto Sir Frederick’s elbow and making towards her usual place at dinner. Here too there was change. The Queen was to sit beside her husband where the Queen Mother had previously sat. Now, the Queen Mother was placed on the other side of the King. Whilst it was just one place on from where she usually sat, it rankled with the Queen Mother more than it might others. Further reminders came in the coming days. When the Royal Family attended church, the Dowager Queen was once again forced to walk in after her daughter-in-law. Her usual stall was given to her niece and she had to sit in a stall behind next to the Duchess of Cambridge.

Likewise, when carriages were readied to transport the Royal Family to London, the Queen Mother was not placed in the same carriage as her son but in a carriage of her own behind that which carried the King and his new bride. The Queen Mother was no longer the highest-ranking lady of the land, something she may have tried to ignore but which the King and his household were determined to enforce. When Sir Frederick Beilby Watson was summoned by the Queen Mother to explain why he had not listened to her instructions where precedence was concerned, he replied, “Because the order of precedence is determined by His Majesty, Madam”. He had nothing to lose. He retired from royal service that same week and as a token of gratitude, was given a 30-year grace and favour property on the Windsor Estate by the Duke of Cambridge as a thanks for his long tenure as Master of the Household.

In London, the situation regarding precedence and accommodation was much easier to manage. The Queen Mother had assumed that the King and his new bride would spend more time at Windsor, giving her ample opportunity to arrange the State Apartments at Buckingham Palace in the same way as she had at Windsor. But the court moved before she could do anything about it and consequently, the King and Queen took the apartments intended for the monarch and his consort whilst the Queen Mother was given a guest apartment on the floor above. When she protested that the suite was too small, the King said, “Well Mama, your house is just across the park”. Marriage had made the King bolder. He was finding his voice at last and testing his authority. There were only a few months of regency left and now he was married, he found that those around him treated him as a man rather than as a boy.

The Duke of Cambridge began to share despatches with him, the topics of conversation were broader and included political issues he was previously kept away from and suddenly, George was being asked for his opinion rather than being given the opinion of others. He was frequently visited by the Earl of Effingham who wished to consult him on arrangements for his coronation, such as what he would wear and if everybody, he wished to be present had been invited. At the top of this list were his in-laws. Robbed of the chance of seeing their daughter married, George was determined to have George and Marie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz present to see their daughter crowned. But crowned with what?

In 1820, George IV had followed precedent by hiring jewels to be set into St Edward’s Crown and had worn a simple cap of state en route to the Abbey in a brave attempt at a cost saving measure. But his wife had rejected proposals that she wear a renovated crown which had been used for Mary of Modena and had commissioned a brand new crown formed of diamonds taken from jewellery belonging to the late Queen Charlotte. She had also commissioned the Queen’s Diadem, an extravagant smaller crown to be worn in the procession.

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The State Crown of Mary of Modena.

As far as everybody on the Coronation Committee was concerned, the same procedure would be followed this time. Queen Louise would wear the Queen’s Diadem until she reached the Abbey, thereafter it would be removed, and she would be crowned with Queen Louise’s Crown (created for her mother-in-law). But the Queen Mother had other ideas. To her, both the crown and diadem created for the coronation of her late husband belonged to her and as such, she intended to wear her own crown at her son’s coronation. When George V was asked his opinion on what should be done, he said simply; “Let Mama wear her crown. The Queen can wear the diadem and we shall have the Modena crown refurbished for the ceremony”.

Created in 1685 for the wife of King James II, the Modena crown had been set with 523 small diamonds, 38 large diamonds and 129 large pearls. It was decorated with crosses pattée and fleur-de-lis with four half-arches surmounted with a monde and another cross pattée. In 1820, George IV agreed with his wife that the Modena crown was far too theatrical for her use and besides which, it was in a considerably poor state of repair. The diamonds had been removed to use in other pieces and were replaced with quartz. The pearls remained – mostly – but the frame itself needed restoration and the purple cap and ermine replacing. George V saw no reason why this couldn't be achieved and offered to fund the work personally rather than take it from the budget allocated for the coronation. For his own crown, His Majesty was content to hire jewels for St Edward’s Crown but felt that a new state crown should be created for him to wear in the procession before the ceremony itself. This would be the crown he would wear at the State Opening of Parliament each year from 1838 onwards.

To cut expenses however, the King required Garrards & Co only to set this new state crown with gemstones which the Royal Family itself would provide from their collection. These would be added into the altered frame of the State Crown worn by George V’s great-great-great grandfather, King George I, which had been emptied of it’s hired stones and left to tarnish in the jewel house. The restored State Crown of King George V would be the closest model to those worn by his predecessors Charles II and William III. The arches were set with diamonds taken from the jewellery collection of the late Queen Charlotte whilst the Black Prince’s Ruby was set into the front of the crown. The 265 pearls needed to restore the state crown were taken from various sources with four large pearls discovered in the royal vaults which would top the fleur-de-lis and were said to have belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. The aquamarine monde was unaltered whilst the Stuart sapphire was placed at the back of the piece. In total, the entire renovation cost £33,000 which was seen as entirely reasonable given how much the King might have spent had he insisted on an entirely new crown to wear to his coronation. [6] His mother's crown created in 1820 had brought in a bill of almost double that amount.

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The empty frame of the State Crown of King George I. It was emptied of it's stones to provide a new Imperial State Crown for the coronation of King William IV in 1886.

Once again, the Queen Mother had tried to reinforce her position and failed. Now the guests at the coronation would marvel at the newly restored crown of Mary of Modena worn by her niece and not the lavish piece designed for the Queen Mother back in 1820. She had also lost her chance to wear her own diadem and would now have to wear one of her existing tiaras, which did not please her. New coronation gowns and robes were made for the new Queen consort by Ede & Ravenscroft, whilst the Dowager Queen’s household had to fend for themselves. But these minor grievances were nothing compared to what really irked the Queen Mother. When she had married the Duke of York and been crowned beside her husband, everything she purchased or commissioned was published in the newspapers, invariably accompanied by stinging allegations that she was a lavish spender who must be reigned in. Criticism had reached a fever pitch during the Kew Scandal and even after that, the King and Queen had been forced to think carefully before making large investments or spending commitments. Yet here her son and daughter-in-law were seemingly doing much the same thing, and nobody seemed to attack them for it.

There were two very good reasons for this. The first was that the economic situation was improving in England whereas times were still bleak financially back in 1820 following the Napoleonic Wars. In the seventeen years that had passed since she was crowned beside King George IV, the Dowager Queen had continued to spend unwisely and so the idea that she was wasteful and extravagant had become ingrained into the public’s perception of her. By contrast, it was reported that both King George V and his wife did not wish an excessive display or for any indulgent expenses to be accrued on their behalf. The idea that the King and Queen were approaching their coronation with a “make do and mend” attitude was lauded across the country. One popular cartoon of the day showed George and Louise haggling for old hats in a marketplace and choosing crumpled ones instead of fancy new feathered hats. The tagline read; “Second Hand Crowns but Their Majesties are First Rate!”.

The tide had begun to turn…


[1] It is now Her Majesty’s Theatre but was renamed for Queen Victoria in 1837 in the OTL. Here it is named for Queen Luise.

[2] The braid was dropped in 1936 in the OTL by King Edward VIII.

[3] Roughly the price of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress in the OTL.

[4] This title was used for Queen Victoria’s mother in the OTL around this time where she was gazetted as the Queen’s Mother rather as than The Queen Mother. Here it serves to distinguish one Queen Louise from the other as undoubtedly the English would anglicise Luise to Louise once again as they did when the Duke of York married Luise of Hesse-Kassel. A consort doesn't have to be the mother of a female sovereign to use this style but it is not an official title and she would remain The Dowager Queen whilst Luise is The Queen.

[5] Slight butterflies as it was the OTL Prince Regent (George IV) who created this and who chose white for his order ribbon. Yellow is the colour of the Royal Family Order of the OTL Queen Elizabeth II.

[6] Bear in Mind, Queen Victoria had a new “Imperial State Crown” made for her coronation in 1838 at almost double this cost but containing much of the same gems of historic interest. It's also half the price of the 1820 bill in TTL.

Double helpings today as I have a busy week ahead and I'm not sure if I can get another instalment out to you before next weekend. Enjoy!
 
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Hehehe Lousie is getting put in her place oh for the love of god I hope Albert appears and asks the King why his letters haven't been replied to.

Also I have to say I like the way the wedding went.
 
Well now we know roughly when Georgie Boy dies.

As I understand it,the first instance of His/Her Majesty, the King/Queen's Mother was for Margaret Beaufort,

The issue with the title was that there is no stipulation on what happens if a Dowager Queen survives her own children, as Queen Mary was strictly Queen Mother but chose not to use the title, so for a period we had HM Queen Mary, HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and HM The Queen. HM Queen Mary, the Queen Grandmother?
 

Opo

Monthly Donor
Well now we know roughly when Georgie Boy dies.

As I understand it,the first instance of His/Her Majesty, the King/Queen's Mother was for Margaret Beaufort,

The issue with the title was that there is no stipulation on what happens if a Dowager Queen survives her own children, as Queen Mary was strictly Queen Mother but chose not to use the title, so for a period we had HM Queen Mary, HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and HM The Queen. HM Queen Mary, the Queen Grandmother?
As I understand it, Tommy Lascelles expected Queen Mary to become HM Queen Mary, the Queen Mother because she had previously said she disliked the term Dowager. But when it came to it, she said she'd like to be known as HM Queen Mary and that's how she stayed.

Interestingly I believe it was also Lascelles who was asked what Prince Philip would become if the Queen predeceased her husband. Lascelles is said to have responded with "His Royal Highness the King's Father" to which the Duke of Edinburgh replied, "Not bloody likely".
 
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Nice chapter.

Glad that King George is finding his voice vs his mother- can it be long before she is dispatched to Scotland or similar in effective exile?

Hoping that someone breaks silence on those blocked letters, or they are found in the Queen's suite at Windsor and brought to the King.

To help with visualisations, This is Whitley Court in 1830 after modifications by John Nash, but before the white stone the ruins have today.

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Opo

Monthly Donor
To help with visualisations, This is Whitley Court in 1830 after modifications by John Nash, but before the white stone the ruins have today.

9EvWt3_MMYuXXkLRujxC_h6ZncQczl2PcUrjI2M-s6KlYGPzCkWizaWK2MNG1HPanZI=s1200
This is great to see, thankyou for sharing!

It really is a shame that Witley was left to fall into ruins after the fire in 1937. In the OTL Queen Adelaide leased it for a time but then moved on after a few years to Cassiobury House in Watford which is now sadly no longer standing. She seemed to have spent her widowhood running from one great house to the other before settling at Bentley Priory with a brief stay on the island of Madeira in between English country houses.
 
This is great to see, thankyou for sharing!

It really is a shame that Witley was left to fall into ruins after the fire in 1937. In the OTL Queen Adelaide leased it for a time but then moved on after a few years to Cassiobury House in Watford which is now sadly no longer standing. She seemed to have spent her widowhood running from one great house to the other before settling at Bentley Priory with a brief stay on the island of Madeira in between English country houses.
Given the fire of 1937 only gutted one wing, Whitley was very salvageable, but the owner was broke.

ITTL I hope Whitley gets another fate.
 
Yeah, methinks that's how Louise gets found out and here's how: Albert, at the reception, asks the king why his letters haven't been replied to and the king then talks about Albert's engagement to Princess Januária. Albert then says "WTF are you talking about, Your Majesty? I'm not engaged to her." (1) And then King George begins pulling the thread--to say he will be furious at his mother when he realizes the extent of what she did is like saying that Mount Vesuvius is a volcano...

(1) No, that's not what Albert would say, but something along those lines would be said...
 
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