Thursday, May 7, 2020

A royal wedding the world applauded...and then mourned!

Princess Charlotte, Princess of Wales and heir to throne of United Kingdom, married a war hero Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg May 2 1816! 

She is a fixture in my story, Book 2 in this series, in A MAY DAY TO REMEMBER, because one of the characters in my story is to marry on that day too! 

This is the engagement portrait of the Princess and Leopold done in February 1816. When she met him much after the Battle of Waterloo (in which he fought and was a Russian officer), she was enchanted by him. He was quite dashing and so much more handsome than the Prince of Orange, to whom she was engaged, that she cancelled that arrangement and demanded to marry "her darling Leo."
Her wedding gown

She was a darling of the people and they rejoiced that her marriage was a love match. The couple married May 2, 1816 and retired to the country to become better acquainted. A few months later, she was pregnant...but like many first pregnancies, she miscarried.

In a few more months, she was once more enciente. In the later months of her pregnancy, her acchoucher (a much acclaimed male midwife) advised her to cut her consumption of food, walk more often and slim down. She was gaining too much weight and her limbs were swollen. He feared she would develop toxemia, an often fatal condition for a pregnant woman that increased blood pressure. He also feared the baby would be too large to deliver safely.

She went into labor and had a very difficult delivery. The baby, a boy, was born at 8 pounds. Soon after however, he died. While Charlotte initially seemed to recover, she soon developed symptoms of toxemia. She died a day later and the nation greatly mourned her tragic loss.

Her accoucher was so distraught that he committed suicide weeks later.

Her husband retired to the countryside to grieve. However soon he returned home to the Continent where the Allies soon awarded him for his service during the Napoleonic wars. They named him King of the Belgians. His descendants have ruled that country since then. All of them are offspring from his second wife, a daughter of the French King, Louis Phillippe.

Leopold has other claims to fame. He is one and the same man whom you have seen steer his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg, to marry Queen Victoria.

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