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Old 07-19-2015, 03:09 PM
Duc_et_Pair's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Lee-Z View Post
Yes, that's the story i've read too; the marriage was arranged by the fathers and Sophie's opinion (which wasn't positive from the start) was not taken into account...
Quite possibly one of the worst matched royal marriages in history
Dik van der Meulen, the royal biographer, supported by letters, notes, memorandums and other documents concerning the marriage came to the conclusion that Princess Sophie had a choice. Her own father wrote in letters, documented in the biography, that the ultimate choice was hers. He urged her to listen to her heart and mind. (!) Proof for this is that Sophie's elder sister Princess Marie married Alfred, Count von Neipperg, a non-equal marriage which was nevertheless made dynastic and with continuation of the royal style and the HRH for Princess Marie.

Through the whole biography (more than 700 pages!) it became clear, chapter after chapter, that many of the letters, notes, and especially the "memoirs" of Queen Sophie (written 25 years after the wedding) often shed an untrue image and clashed with other facts found in archives in The Hague, Stuttgart and Berlin. Not only the relationship with her husband was poor. The relationship with her mother-in-law and also aunt Queen Anna Pavlovna was disastrous. In the end Princess Sophie said yes. Had she said no, her cousin Prince Willem just would have went on, to another possible royal partner. The idea that she was "enforced" by the parents was a myth. The Prince of Orange (later King Willem II) had no interest in the Württemberg connection. He had more interesting liaisons in his mind but let his son free. I think it is mainly self-pity by Queen Sophie: "Buhuhuuuu.... oh pity me, the pour soul I am... enforced into a marriage with a brute!" It was the worst choice of her life. But her choice.

Note that -on her turn- Queen Sophie for once, really a rarity, agreed with her husband in his opposition to the idea of the eldest son, Prince Willem, to marry Anna Mathilde Countess van Limburg-Stirum. She fully agreed with the King that it was a grave mésalliance, "unworthy a future King and Grand-Duke". The Queen, never too tired to use everything to frustrate her spouse and to use the children as ammunition in her Holy War against Willem III, was remarkably disaproving of her son's choice. So the "Buhuhuuuu.... oh pity me, the pour soul I am..."-tone of Queen Sophie was pretty selective. The self-pity she felt for herself, she did not feel for her son. The result was a total desillusionment of her son but Queen Sophie had little understanding. Remarkably she herself begged for the same understanding for the marriage she had "to endure"....

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Old 07-21-2015, 09:32 AM
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Thank you for your posts, Duc_et_Pair. Who would have inherited the British and Dutch thrones if the marriage between Princess Charlotte of Wales and the Prince of Orange had not been cancelled?

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Old 07-21-2015, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Thank you for your posts, Duc_et_Pair. Who would have inherited the British and Dutch thrones if the marriage between Princess Charlotte of Wales and the Prince of Orange had not been cancelled?
The Dutch wanted a sort of situation in which three thrones were under one crown: the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of the United Netherlands (= Netherlands and Belgium) and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Princess Charlotte's father (the Prince-Regent) and the British Government did not oppose that idea. It would firmly place the United Kingdom with a big chunk of land between the continental powers France and Germany and unite the two maritime and colonial powers under one crown.

D. van der Meulen, Koning Willem II, page 167-168:

Like Princess Charlotte's mother, also her uncle Prince Augustus, the Duke of Sussex, was worried about the succession. In the middle of January, shortly after Charlotte's 18th birthday, he wrote to his niece that the Prince-Regent only had an eye for his own interests and that the royal family was not at all unanimous about the engagement with Prince Willem.

Prince Augustus, who had little sympathy for his brother and openly supported the opposition in Parliament, was worried about the constitutional aspects of the alliance: an union of two Heirs was an impossible case, nevertheless the fact that Prince Willem was such a nice and promising young man.* Prince Augustus could only think about one reason why his brother was so p ressing on this union: he wanted to get rid of her.**


Princess Charlotte more and more became under influence of her evil mother, her ambitious uncle Prince Augustus and factions of the opposition. They saw in obstructing the intended marriage an excellent opportunity to provoke the Prince-Regent. Princess Charlotte more or less ended the engagement by ignoring Prince Willem publicly and privately, in fact like her own father did to her mother. The poor young Hereditary Prince of Orange suffered under this.


D. van der Meulen, Koning Willem II, page 179-180:

The British ambassador in The Hague, Richard Le Poer Trench, Earl of Clancarty saw that the Prince was in poor state. On June 28 1814 the Prince visited the ambassador in The Hague. Clancarty, who was very embarrassed with the broken engagement, wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh, that he was happy the Prince came to see him:

We were shocked when we saw his pale and skinny appearance but also pleased by his gentlemanlike manners, not at all having any intention to hide his sad situation with bravoure, or to blame someone, or to exploit it. He was full with the usual cordial and friendly attitude towards all and everyone he is so known for. The Prince made a defeated impression, that is true, but at the same time his behaviour was dignified and brave, like someone who suffers but whose pains are caused by others and not by himself.***

The Prince could not count on such an empathic reaction by his father Willem Frederik (King Willem I). He was not satisfied with his son's attitude and blamed him for lacking ambition. He regarded an union between Willem and Charlotte as the dynastic coronation of the special relationship between Great Britain and the Netherlands [Charlotte would have been the fourth British Consort after Mary I Stuart, The Princess Royal / Mary II Stuart / Anne of Great Britain and Hanover, The Princess Royal] and made clear to his son that he should have saved this engagement "at any price". He even demanded that Prince Willem should go back to London and "win Charlotte again". That there was no love, did not matter according him: A man can never be unhappy in a marriage because he can always find diversion somewhere.****

Prince Willem did not obey to his father. He made clear he no longer wanted to sacrifice his personal happiness for dynastic interests, for sure not for Princess Charlotte. The humiliation has been too big. Instead of London, the Prince travelled to Brussels. There the Prince made his own twist to his father's words: indeed, a man could always find diversion somewhere. [He engaged himself in the military and fought in the battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo].


* = Aspinall, Letters of The Princess Charlotte, page 105
** = Smith, George IV, page 130
*** = letter of Clancarty to Castlereagh June 28th 1814, Memoirs and correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, volume X, pages 62-64
**** = autobiographic notes of King Willem I - September 1821, Royal House Archives, The Hague

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