King George V
Part Three, Chapter Nine: The Best Gift of All
As the most difficult year of George V’s reign so far drew to a close, those closest to the King were privately relieved that the worst was over. By allowing his daughter to return to Germany, George gave the strongest indication yet that he had accepted what had happened in February 1842 and that, although some way from being totally recovered, he was at least able to face the future without Queen Louise. But in November, there was a small setback. Princess Mary, now acting as general factotum of the Royal Household on her nephew’s behalf, wanted to know where the court would be spending Christmas. Since his marriage, the King had usually celebrated the season at Windsor with his extended family invited to join him but George refused to be drawn on the subject. He had already indicated that he wished to spend a quiet Christmas without any of the galas or banquets the British Royal Family had become known for in recent years but there would still need to be plans made if the court was to move before Advent. Princess Mary tried to reason with her nephew that, whilst it would be his first Christmas without his wife, it would also be his first Christmas with
his son and heir. Surely that was reason enough to make a jolly party, even if it was somewhat reduced by comparison to the previous year? Fortunately for Princess Mary, someone else had grasped the nettle.
Princess Augusta would later say of her cousin King George V; “A King may command respect because of his station but no man, whether he be Duke or Pauper, can command affection. This I gave to him freely for he was always so good, so generous and so dear to me”
. In late 1842, Augusta proved just how sincere she was in those sentiments when she wrote to the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to inform him that the King had given his consent to their marriage. She also wrote to Fritz’s mother (and her aunt) Grand Duchess Marie in a very moving letter that can be reproduced here in full for the first time:
My dearest darling aunt,
You will know by now I think that the question we have all been speaking of these last six months has been somewhat resolved. And my heart is so very glad – as I hope yours will be too. I do not come to Neustrelitz as a stranger but as someone who has always held an affection for that dear place as I am fortunate to have so many happy memories from my childhood of the days spent with my Mama in your company. I confess that I am not sad to leave England for it has never been a country I have known well but there is a great sadness for me at present for the kindness and generosity shown to me by my dear Cousin Georgie has been so very overwhelming and I fear I must intrude upon your kindness too and beg your help in going some way to repay it. 
I know that Christmas shall be a difficult occasion for us as a family this year as it shall be the first we spend without our darling Sunny, of whom we were all so very fond. This must be particularly painful for you and for dear Uncle George, but I hope you shall find some comfort in the company of your family. You have been kind enough to invite me to join you and I thank you for your lovely invitation most sincerely. But I must ask you, dear Aunt Marie, if you would consider extending an invitation to Georgie too? At present he faces a very poor Christmas alone with only Aunt Mary for company and I know he will long for Missy so very much too. I hesitate to ask this of you as I do not wish to add to your burdens but if I did not make this request I should be failing in my duty.
With my fondest love to you, dearest Aunt Marie,
Despite their previous clash during the dark days that followed Queen Louise’s death, the Strelitzes held no grudge against their son-in-law and were only too happy to extend an invitation to him for Christmas. The season had the potential to be a sombre one but Grand Duchess Marie decided that she would not allow the sadness of things past to dominate the festivities. Grand Duke George and his wife agreed that as part of the celebrations, a gala ball should be held at their palace on Christmas Eve where the engagement of their son and heir, Hereditary Grand Duke Frederick William, to Princess Augusta of Cambridge, could finally be announced. They would throw open their doors to their wider family and pack Neustrelitz Palace with as many relations as they could. Invitations were sent out in a great flurry all over Europe and in London, the King received his with a small note from his mother-in-law which read; “We long to see you and hope you will come for we miss you so, our dear son”. 
Initially the King was reluctant. His first excuse was that he did not wish to leave the Prince of Wales whom he felt was far too young to travel such a distance. Princess Mary made short work of this however, insisting that she had been half the Prince’s age when she was first taken to Germany by her mother Queen Charlotte. This wasn’t strictly true but when the Governess of the Royal Nursery enthusiastically agreed that she saw no reason as to why the Prince of Wales should be left behind, the King had to scramble for another justification for staying in England. His second attempt to justify a refusal was to suggest that the government wouldn’t like it. He had only just returned to his duties in full and there was much to be done. Again, Princess Mary deftly removed this obstacle. She invited the Prime Minister to join her and the King at supper and in between courses, and with absolutely no attempt at subtlety, asked; “And what do you do at Christmas time, Prime Minister?”
Taken aback by the unexpected nature of the question, Sir James replied, “Oh…we tend to spend it quietly Ma’am, just a small gathering of friends, I am afraid to say that I find the absence from my work a little boresome...”
“Indeed...”, Princess Mary replied tartly, “You would not object to the King going abroad for the season would you Prime Minister?”
If Sir James did object, he was hardly in a position to say so under Princess Mary’s steely gaze.
“Of course not Ma’am”, he said kindly, “Indeed, I had half-expected that His Majesty may wish to spend the season with his family in Hanover this year…”
“Well you were half-correct then Prime Minister”, Mary boomed, turning to Charlie Phipps to her left and adding quietly, “As usual…”
“Oh really Aunt Mary…”
“It won’t be much fun for you here Georgie”, Mary continued, warming to her theme, “Unless your idea of a happy Christmas is watching me doze off in a chair for the duration”
“But you’ll be left all by yourself”, he objected playfully.
“And that, my dear boy, is quite the best gift one can receive at my age…peace and quiet”.
Within days, the King confirmed that he would be leaving England in the first week of December but he would not be travelling with his cousin and his children directly to Neustrelitz. As he would make the crossing from Dover to Calais, he felt duty bound to make a stop at Paris to pay a courtesy visit to the French King and Queen. Louis-Philippe and Maria Amalia had faced a terrible shock that summer when their son and heir, the Duke of Orléans was killed in a tragic accident. On the 13th of July, the Duke was to go to Saint-Omer for a review of the troops at Marne and leaving the Tuileries Palace for Neuilly-sur-Seine, bid his family farewell and set off in an open carriage. At Sablonville however, the horses pulling his carriage became spooked and reared up threatening to overturn. In a desperate bid to save himself, the Duke of Orléans jumped from the carriage and hit the ground with such force that he fractured his skull. The French Royal Family dashed to be with him but within hours, the 31-year-old Ferdinand-Philippe died.
King George had happy memories of Ferdinand-Philippe. When he had visited Normandy with Queen Louise, their initial reception had been frosty but the Duke and Duchess of Orléans had been incredibly welcoming. His wife Hélène was a cousin to the late Queen Louise and this had allowed for a certain breaking of the ice that eventually saw George V’s trip to the Chateau d’Eu branded a diplomatic triumph. As the British court was still in mourning, George had sent a letter to King Louis Philippe and his wife in July expressing his condolences but he did not make the trip to Paris to attend the funeral of the Duke of Orléans at Notre Dame personally, asking the British Ambassador to represent him instead. It was the tradition at this time that if a Sovereign crossed into another Sovereign’s Kingdom, a special representative from the family or the court would be sent to greet him, even if he was not to be granted an audience with the Head of State of the country he was visiting – or even just passing through. George V was therefore to be met at Calais by the Duke of Nemours who would accompany him to Fontainebleau where he would spend just one evening before heading across the border into Germany. 
From Paris, George would make the long journey to Rumpenheim where he would join his uncle William of Hesse-Kassel for a few days rest before the entire clan made their way north to Hanover. There, the King would spend a weekend at Herrenhausen receiving a few deputations from his ministers as he had been unable to attend Hanover Week in 1842 as planned and he was keen not to repeat the troubles caused on a previous visit to Germany when he was seen to skirt around the borders of his “other” Kingdom without actually paying a visit. With the Cambridges in tow, the King would finally arrive in Neustrelitz on the 22nd of December. But his return journey was to cause some difficulty at the Foreign Office and would perhaps make the Prime Minister wish that he had objected to the King going abroad for the Christmas season after all. The Prince and Princess of Orange had been invited to Neustrelitz too but they were forced to decline. Their reason for doing so however, was a happy one; Victoria was expecting again, no doubt the result of one of the many reunions Victoria and William would share during their long marriage in between periods of open hostility. The King therefore decided that on his return to England, he would visit the Oranges at The Hague and then make his way to Rotterdam for the voyage home aboard the Royal Yacht. This sounded perfectly reasonable but when plotted out on a map, it appeared that the King’s route seemed to circle the borders of Belgium without him actually setting foot in the country. And that in itself may be construed as deliberate.
On a diplomatic level, the United Kingdom and Belgium had been pushed into an awkward relationship for almost a decade as British relations with the Dutch were prioritised over any new friendship with independent Belgium. That was resolved with the Treaty of London when the Dutch finally accepted (though very reluctantly) that their former territory was now a sovereign nation with King Leopold as Head of State. Britain was now in a position to forge close ties with the Belgians without fear of offending the Dutch (especially as King William II was far more amenable on the subject than his father had been) but on a personal level, the relationship between King George V and King Leopold was a frosty one. Before he became King of the Belgians, Leopold had lived in England and had been a key figure in George’s childhood as one of the “Four Old Men” who were so instrumental in his childhood. Leopold was almost always seen to be in the company of the dreaded Baron Stockmar, whom George V always despised, and though King Leopold did not go out of his way to offend or upset George, there would never be a warm or cordial friendship between the two Sovereigns. That said, the Foreign Office were concerned that if King Leopold (who was not invited to Neustrelitz) heard that King George had practically travelled along every inch of the Belgian border without actually paying him the courtesy of a brief visit, he would take offence and a diplomatic row would ensue.
To this end, the new Foreign Secretary, Lord Betchworth, asked the King to consider travelling from The Hague to Brussels and return to England via Bruges rather than Rotterdam. Charlie Phipps was asked to put this alternative route to the King but warned Betchworth that he should not raise his hopes too high. The King had never much cared for King Leopold when he was a child but as an adult, he took against him more severely because (in George’s view) Leopold had played a key part in denying George’s sister her happiness with Leopold’s nephew Prince Albert. When George and Charlotte Louise’s mother intervened to keep Lottie from marrying Albert, Leopold (eager to secure a good match for his nephew) pushed Albert towards the Princess Imperial of Brazil and away from Charlotte Louise who then married the Tsarevich of Russia (becoming Maria Georgievna) and left England. George still felt that absence very keenly and he unfairly blamed King Leopold for “taking Lottie away” just as much as he did his mother who was still languishing in solitary confinement at Kew Palace. He would therefore not be brow beaten into changing his travel plans to suit the Foreign Office and despite Betchworth’s pleadings, the King would not submit. He reasoned that there was no convention by which he would be obligated to pay a courtesy visit to King Leopold for as long as he did not enter Belgium (though it must be noted that George was to travel past Berlin and didn’t make an effort to visit the King of Prussia as custom dictated, though perhaps this was because the King was to pay a state visit to the UK in March 1843). All Phipps could do was give a solemn promise to Lord Betchworth that if he could convince the King to visit Brussels at the last minute when they were on the continent, he would do so.
The Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace.
Before his departure for Dover, the King could talk of nothing else but his cousin’s wedding. Fritz and Augusta were to marry in June and as good as his word, the King intended to see them married at Buckingham Palace. Somewhat presumptuously, George did not consult his parents-in-law on these arrangements, totally overlooking the fact that they may wish to see their son and heir marry in the Grand Duchy he would one day inherit. Regardless, the King summoned Decimus Burton and took him to the terrace where they entered the conservatory, a large glass extension added to Buckingham Palace by John Nash during the reign of King George IV. As conservatories go, it was quite a grand affair with huge white and gold columns throughout and enormous windows which allowed views of the gardens enjoyed from sumptuous banquettes which lined the walls. But the Royal Family never took to the conservatory as a living space and for years it had remained disused, visited only by the Palace gardeners who tended a small collection of exotic plants housed there. The King had it in mind to transform this conservatory into a private chapel for the Royal Family and it was here that George intended his cousin Augusta would be married. Burton’s orders were simple; remove the windows and install a new ceiling. Work was to begin immediately and by February, what had once been a light and airy sun room was transformed into an elegant chapel complete with tiered seating upholstered in rich crimson velvet and a shiny new Herringbone parquet floor. To reduce costs, Burton was instructed not to bother with a new altar but rather, to have the altar in the Morning Chapel at St George’s brought from Windsor to London for the purpose. 
But the preparations did not stop there. Shortly before leaving London, George summoned Sebastian Garrard of Garrards & Co, the Crown Jeweller to Buckingham Palace. Garrard was told to bring a selection of jewels with him from which the King could choose an engagement present for his cousin to give to her at Neustrelitz at Christmas. The Crown Jeweller proudly laid out “enough jewels to cover a billiard table” with a glittering display of tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, stomachers and ferronnières
all presented for the King’s approval. George was assisted by Frau Wiedl in selecting just the right gift and settled on a tiara which cost the princely sum of £700 (some £70,000 today). Now known as the Strelitz Tiara, this gorgeous creation in diamonds was fashioned in a Napoleonic style laurel wreath in a pediment with cushion and pear-shaped diamonds supporting diamond-set leaves. It was a very extravagant present (though for context it was just half the price the King paid for Queen Louise’s Laurel Tiara in 1840) and though the King’s sentiment was no doubt pure, such a gift raised eyebrows when the tiara was handed over to Princess Augusta in Christmas 1842.
The Strelitz Tiara.
The Duchess of Cambridge was by no means short of impressive jewels of her own. Since her marriage she had acquired several parures fashioned from some of the most beautiful (and expensive) gem stones. Yet the most admired of the Duchess’ collection were two tiaras which she wore frequently both in England and in Hanover and which rivalled anything in the collection of her sister, the Dowager Queen Louise. The first was the Cambridge Sapphire Tiara, the stand out piece in a parure made from jewels owned by Queen Charlotte which featured a substantial tiara of graduated sapphires and diamond clusters, a long necklace, a choker necklace, a stomacher, three small brooches, two bracelets and two pairs of earrings. The parure was a remarkable work of craftsmanship with most pieces proving detachable from their settings so as to allow them to be worn in a myriad of ways and giving the wearer a whole host of opportunities to impress.
The second tiara in the Duchess’ collection was equally impressive; the Cambridge Lover’s Knot. This tiara was not part of a parure but was incredibly versatile. Formed of 15 arches set with diamonds, each arch was topped with a diamond bow and upright pearl with a matching hanging pearl set to dangle elegantly beneath. The result was a stunning creation which the Duke of Cambridge had made for his new bride in 1818 and which made many a lady of the court seethe with envy. The Duchess had always intended that her eldest daughter should receive the Sapphire Parure when she married and she hoped to present this to Princess Augusta at Neustrelitz shortly before her engagement ball. Naturally the Duchess expected Augusta to wear this for her wedding – the Duchess herself would wear the Lover’s Knot which (somewhat unfairly) was never set aside for her younger daughter Princess Mary Adelaide. Both the Strelitz Tiara and the Cambridge Sapphires were incredibly beautiful gifts and it is little wonder that Princess Augusta would be renowned throughout Europe for her impressive collection of jewels – but the King’s gift unsettled the Duchess of Cambridge and paved the way for a certain amount of unpleasantness. 
It must be remembered that the Cambridges had sustained a nasty shock in recent months. Their son and heir had thrown away a promising army career (not to mention his royal rank) to wed a lowborn Roman Catholic daughter of a High Bailiff in Hanover and though the reaction in the United Kingdom had been muted, the Duchess could hear snickering in every nook and cranny of Herrenhausen. The Duchess was a haughty woman, imperious and overly concerned with rank and precedence. The irony that she would now call the niece of a Roman Catholic Bishop her daughter-in-law was not lost on the people of Hanover and the elopement of Prince George and his bride had become a favourite topic of gossip. Whilst the Duke of Cambridge was devastated at recent events, he was far better able to put a brave face on things and indeed, he chose to focus on his daughter’s upcoming marriage which was sure would change the focus of the conversation at Herrenhausen to something far more palatable. His wife was not so easily soothed. Though she accepted the King’s decision to refuse permission for her son’s bizarre marriage, she could never forgive George for removing royal rank from her son who was now simply the Earl of Tipperary. Whilst she was furious with the Earl, the idea that he should be so brutally punished when her brother-in-law the Duke of Sussex had been so indulged was something she simply couldn’t reconcile.
This being said, the Duchess was wise enough to know that she could never challenge the King on this matter – at least not right away. She was nervous that those present at Neustrelitz would gossip and chatter behind her back and that she would be humiliated just as much as felt she was in Hanover, especially when it was made abundantly clear that George Cambridge would not be receiving an invitation to attend his sister’s engagement ball. It is perhaps testament to her strength of character therefore, that the Duchess of Cambridge readied herself to face the world in spite of what had transgressed. She would not talk of her son and she would not grieve his absence. Her focus would be, must be, the happy occasion of her daughter’s engagement and forthcoming marriage. The King had expressed a desire that the nastiness of the summer should not be discussed and he had made it plain to the Cambridges that he would never treat them any differently as a result of their son’s behaviour. The Duchess was determined to match this sentiment for the duration of her stay at Neustrelitz in December 1842 – but it would not be easy, especially as she would be confronted with her nephew’s enthusiasm for her daughter’s nuptials which included a grand wedding ceremony at Buckingham Palace and a sparkling new tiara but not the input or consent of the bride’s parents. Oblivious to any of this, the King left London and began his winter tour.
Hélène, Dowager Duchess of Orléans.
The first stop on this progress was Calais where King Louis-Philippe graciously sent his tender to collect George V from the Royal Yacht to bring him ashore to be welcomed by the Duke of Nemours. The rest of the Royal Party bid the King farewell as they continued on to Neustrelitz via Hamburg. Though the French government was pouring thousands of francs into a new railway system under the Thiers Plan in 1842, there was no quicker way to travel from Calais to Paris than by carriage and thus, the King did not arrive at Fontainebleau until the winter night had crept in and darkness had descended. Nonetheless, he was received by a grateful King Louis-Philippe and Queen Maria Amalia who were both extremely moved that the King would take the detour on his trip to Rumpenheim to pay his respects to them following the loss of their son, the Duke of Orléans. He dined with them privately, staying with the Royal couple for just one evening before heading east but only after taking tea with the Duke’s widow, Princess Hélène, the following morning. In her diary, Hélène records their meeting as follows:
“King George was so very sweet to me. I am afraid I wept quite openly in his presence for he told me that he too had suffered a terrible loss and that it was so very hard to see his children without their mother. He did not resent my tears, rather, he shed tears of his own, right there beside me. Then he kissed my cheek before he took his leave and told me that I would be in his prayers and hoped he would be in mine”.
This visit earned the King widespread applause in the French press, not exactly well known for bestowing praise on British leaders. George was celebrated as “a true friend to the King and to the people of France” and one journalist even went so far as to say that every Frenchman was now honour bound to “give their praise to the English King [sic] for his sympathy and goodness of heart shown to the people of France in her most sorrowful hour is an expression of respect which can never be forgotten and must always be remembered for its warm sincerity”. This was quite an achievement on the King’s part, though naturally he never set out to gain good PR from his visit to the French monarch. However, Lord Betchworth at the Foreign Office must have been troubled that the King’s “private call" to King Louis-Philippe was gaining so much attention. Doubtless these reports would reach the ears of King Leopold which the Foreign Office had hoped to avoid, especially as the government wanted to pursue new trade deals with the Belgians in the new year. Despite this, George V ploughed on and headed to Rumpenheim where he was reunited with his maternal family.
The Hesse-Kassels had much to celebrate in their own palace. Their eldest daughter Princess Louise was expecting her first child whilst Prince George of Cumberland had taken the initiative and seeing that the time was right after the end of court mourning for the King to give his consent to Princess Augusta’s marriage, he wrote to the Hesse-Kassel’s youngest daughter Auguste pledging himself to ask for her hand in the New Year. Sadly, the Prince was felled by a cold and could not travel with the King to Rumpenheim at Christmas in 1842 but he asked his cousin to pass on a Christmas gift to Auguste – a brooch in the form of a rose fashioned from diamonds and rubies. Whilst at Rumpenheim, King George had an opportunity to discuss what the future might have in store for the Earl of Armagh and his intended. His uncle William explained that whilst he was all for an engagement, his wife Louise Charlotte was a little more reluctant.
“Well we can’t have that I’m afraid”, George said brusquely, “What are her objections?”
Prince William explained that Louise Charlotte was concerned that Prince George’s blindness may prove a difficulty for the couple and that she wanted to impose a moratorium on any talk of a wedding for another year at least – though she was open to the prospect of an engagement if Prince George and Princess Auguste really were determined in that direction.
“I should leave it with me”, George replied soberly, “Damn shame George isn’t here, what? Damn shame indeed”.
But Princess Louise Charlotte was relieved that the Prince hadn’t accompanied the King. She was still unconvinced that the Earl of Armagh was the right choice for her daughter but in stark contrast to the Duchess of Cambridge, she was not prepared to bite her tongue as the King made grandiose plans for her child. The King found himself admonished at luncheon when he raised the topic of the Cumberland marriage and after a long testimonial to Prince George’s finer qualities, the King added, “And as Head of the Family…”
family Georgie”, Louise Charlotte said commandingly, “William is the head of this
George blushed a little. He was becoming increasingly overbearing where his family was concerned and he possibly suspected that he may be acting a little out of turn. Yet there was an obvious reason for this. Contemplating almost a year without his wife and seeing others around him forge new relationships with a long and happy future ahead of them can’t have been easy. Princess Augusta’s engagement had proven a marvellous distraction to the inner conflict he felt in moving forward. It is possible that in trying to push for another engagement, this time for his cousin George and Princess Auguste, he was simply trying to extend that safe haven and give himself yet another diversion. To his credit, George did not take offense at Louise Charlotte’s brusqueness. Rather, he apologised graciously and changed the subject. Fortunately a repeat incident did not occur when the King reached Hanover to collect the Cambridges, the Duchess making herself scarce where possible amid an atmosphere of distinct awkwardness as everybody tried not to address the elephant in the ballroom; where was the Earl of Armagh? Nobody dared draw attention to it for the duration of the King's stay, though it must be said that he made no public appearances in Hanover on this trip and did not invite anybody beyond a handful of ministers (without their wives) to visit him at Herrenhausen. If there was unkind gossip (which the Duchess of Cambridge insisted there was and which was rife), the King never experienced it for himself.
As Christmas Eve neared, the King finally arrived at Neustrelitz. This must have been a bittersweet return and certainly his mother-in-law was anxious that it may prove too painful for George to see his wife’s childhood home once more. They had spent many happy times at Neustrelitz during their marriage and though the party that year had taken on a celebratory tone with the engagement of Hereditary Grand Duke Frederick William and Princess Augusta, nobody could ignore the empty seat at the table, a stark reminder of what they had all lost that year. Certainly the King was said to be more subdued upon his arrival at Neustrelitz than he had been at Rumpenheim and initially, he was reluctant to leave his room, apologising to his mother-in-law in a note that he was tired from his journey and wished to rest. Grand Duchess Marie was concerned that he might feel awkward or embarrassed at seeing her again; they had not exactly parted on the best terms earlier in the year. To this end, Marie made her way to her son-in-law’s suite at the Palace and knocked on the door before entering.
Grand Duchess Marie.
“Mama...”, George said softly, walking over to Marie and kissing her gently on each cheek, and then kissing her hand, “I have missed you”
“I missed you too Georgie”, Marie replied kindly, stroking his face, “You are so dear to us. To all of us. And I’m glad to have you here. And our little Prince! I cannot believe how much Willy has grown and Toria too! Oh it is so good to see you.”
She looked over to the bed where the King had been sitting. A small, framed portrait of Queen Louise lay on the bedclothes. George saw Marie’s eyes rest upon it briefly.
“I always travel with it”, he explained, “That way, I can still see her whenever I want to. I…I see her everywhere here...”
“I do too”, Marie sighed, “The house isn’t the same without her laughter. She so loved Christmas time.”
Both felt their eyes sting with tears. For a moment, they stood in silence, holding onto each other’s hands and bearing the weight of their shared sorrow in unison. Then, Marie wiped her eyes with her handkerchief and linked her arm through the King’s.
“Now then Georgie”, she said, pretending to be very serious indeed, “We shan’t weep about the place. Sunny would have hated that. So why don’t you let me give you my present now, yes?”
“But Mama!”, George grinned, “It isn’t Christmas Eve yet!”
“No it isn’t”, Marie smiled, leading the King along a corridor to a sitting room where the door was just slightly ajar, “But this gift cannot wait any longer…”
She released George’s arm and kissed his cheek.
“Happy Christmas Georgie, my dear”, she said lovingly, pushing the door to the salon open just a little wider and encouraging him to take a step inside.
There, standing by the roaring fireside, a broad smile on her face, stood Lottie.
 Augusta was a curious figure when it came to her nationality. She had spent most of her early life in Germany, in Hanover, where her father was Viceroy and then married her first cousin and when he succeeded, spent the rest of her life in Neustrelitz. She did return to England frequently because she was especially close to her English relations. But she had no real affection for the country itself and the only connection she ever felt to Britain was through the monarchy. In all other aspects, she considered that she was a German - which in the OTL led to difficulties during the First World War.
 In royal circles, a marriage automatically meant that the person marrying in shared the same relationship (at least formally) with their in-laws as their spouse. So for King King George, the Strelitzes would have been Mama and Papa whilst to them he would have been "Son". This was true of all European royalties but wasn't universally liked. The OTL Empress Frederick was appalled to hear her brother Edward VII call Christian IX of Denmark Papa
and Queen Victoria was greatly irritated when Bertie called Queen Louise Mama
even though she insisted that Bertie's wife Alexandra call her the same.
 In the OTL, this greatly annoyed King George I of the Hellenes when the Kaiser sailed his yacht into the Dodecanes. George despised Wilhelm and complained bitterly that he would have to and see him. When he was told he really didn't have to and that nobody would be offended if he stayed in Athens, George replied; "He spends so much time reminding everybody that he's the Emperor of Germany that I want to remind him that I
am the King in my Kingdom".
 In 1843, the OTL Queen Victoria did exactly the same and had the conservatory transformed into a private family chapel which still exists (and is in use) today. And as in the OTL, the Strelitzes married there rather than in Neustrelitz.
 These jewels exist in the OTL with the same backstory with the exception of the Strelitz Tiara which has been invented for TTL.