George III (1738-1820) and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818)

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George III

You might be interested in my book, Royal Maladies: Inherited Diseases in the Ruling Houses of Europe (Trafford Press 2008), which discusses the issue of porphyria in George III, his ancestors and descendents.
As an American, I would not classify George III as a tyrant before, during or after the American Revolution. I have no doubt that he was considered one to the Colonists, of course. They had plenty of reasons to dislike British rule, and I'm sure a large part of their malcontent was focused on the King. He was, after all, the head of the government.

But George III was not overly interested in politics.. he was more passionate about agriculture, which is why he earned the moniker "Farmer George".

The historical record has since shown that George III was not responsible for the American Revolution. It appears his worst crime was acting as a constitutional monarch and supporting his cabinet ministers, who made the decisions. He even privately questioned the outcome of some of those decisions.

I find it interesting that the Americans probably had some idea that he was not really involved in Colonial policy.. because the Declaration of Independence clearly states that the king "has abdicated Government here.." referring to the Colonies.

Of course, after the Revolution, George was accused of trying to keep up the war with America.. but as most historians have pointed out, no European monarch at that time would have willingly given up the bulk of their dominions without a fight.. and I can understand this point of view... with the hindsight of several hundred years. I'm sure the Americans of the time felt quite unsympathetic toward Britain or the King or his ministers.

By 1778, George was not only fighting with the Americans, but also with the French since they signed a peace treaty with America in that year. But by 1781, he had to concede his loss of the Colonies and had even drafted a letter of abdication.. but that letter was never delivered to Parliament.

George III told John Adams in 1785: "I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power."

It was around this time that his health problems became more pronounced. George's first episode of serious derangement came in the fall of 1788, over 30 years before his death. I think that before the Regency began in 1811, most if not all, of the political decisions were made by Parliament and the King's ministers.

I have quite a bit of sympathy for George III. I think he had many admirable qualities as a man in his time.
He wasn't the greatest of monarchs.. but I would never consider him a tyrant.
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Maybe Gentry is right and George 3rd was
a good guy who believed in God, believed in the institution of marriage... was very moral
and faithful to his wife... Queen Charlotte.
He was trying to set a new moral tone after the decadence of King George 2nds court.
He had also married a good woman in Charlotte.. from Mecklenburg-Strelitz.. the daughter of a German Duke

go here
Celebheaven • View topic - Queen Charlotte... wife of George 3rd

I would like to know more about the friendship between Queen Charlotte and Marie Antoinette. Were any letters saved between the two women?
Prince William's African Heritage?

First, let's dispense with the nonsense promoted by Valdez Y Concom regarding Queen Charlotte's (consort Geo. III) supposed lineage to fifteenth century Portuguese moors. Not credible at all.

But what is credible is this quote from Baron Stockmar's memoir published in 1872 by his son.

"Small and crooked with the face of a true Mulatto."

Memoirs of Baron Stockmar - Google Books

Please note the word "true" and the capitalization of the word "mulatto."

Stockmar was a medical doctor. He arrived at the British court in 1816 serving as Physician-in-Ordinary to Prince Leopold on the occasion of Leopold's marriage to Princess Charlotte (Queen Charlotte's granddaughter) in 1816.

Queen Charlotte (by this time Queen Mother) died in 1818. As part of the Royal family Stockmar surely had enough time to render an informed opinion of what she looked like.

And then there's the portraits of Charlotte that appear to confirm Stockmar's mulatto quote. Granted, these portraits are dramatically at odds with the tens of others that are now are held forth as more accurate; yet, how are mulatto portraits such as the following explained:


The last one to my mind, clearly depicts a girl with a mulatto afro. As does this one:

And there are the other comments made about her:

“She was undoubtedly a plain young girl with a large mouth, with a rather swarthy complexion and, her nostrils spreading wide, with something of the appearance of a mulatto.”

George III A Personal History
by Christopher Hibbert 2000
George III A Personal History - Google Books


The last of the cocked hats: James Monroe & the Virginia dynasty:

“the small, mulatto-faced Queen Charlotte, whose wide-slit mouth was reminiscent of the rigid demarcation line she set between virtue and vice…”
University of Oklahoma Press, 1945 Arthur Styron
The last of the cocked hats: James ... - Google Books


Queen Charlotte was in reality a spiteful, narrow-minded woman, obstinate of will…. She had a face like a mulatto, with enormous nostrils and a wide slit for a mouth. “

The stranger in the house: a life of ... - Google Books


There are more, but I'll pause here.

How is all this explained?
I am writing a book and would like to know if Queen Charlotte spoke English with a German accent. Does anyone have any information on this or could you refer me to a book on her? I have not had any luck with my library reference desk. This is probably of little interest to casual history buffs, but when trying to write dialogue it is a "must know". Thanks so much.
I am writing a book and would like to know if Queen Charlotte spoke English with a German accent. Does anyone have any information on this or could you refer me to a book on her? I have not had any luck with my library reference desk. This is probably of little interest to casual history buffs, but when trying to write dialogue it is a "must know". Thanks so much.

Aquote form a contemporary and confidante of Queen Charlotte on her accent:
"She speaks English almost perfectly well, with great choice and copiousness of language, though now and then with foreign idiom, and frequently with a foreign accent. Her manners have an easy dignity, with a most engaging simplicity, and she has all that fine high breeding which the mind, not the station, gives, of carefully avoiding to distress those who converse with her, or studiously removing the embarrassment she cannot prevent."

Excerpt from: Burney, Fanny: The Diary of Fanny Burney. Selected and edited by Christopher Lloyd. London, 1948. p. 96-97, 103-104.
If you check google books, you'll find various editions of her diaries and letters, which should give you plenty of information.

Another potential source of information;
Horace Walpole wrote about her arrival as a young bride in Britain:
She talks a great deal--is easy, civil, and not disconcerted. At first, when the bride-maids and the court were introduced to her, she said, "Mon Dieu, il y en a tant, il y en a tant!" She was pleased when she was to kiss the peeresses, but Lady Augusta was forced to take her hand and give it to those that were to kiss it, which was prettily humble and good-natured. While they waited for supper, she sat down, sang, and played. Her French is tolerable, she exchanged much both of that and German with the King, the Duke, and the Duke of York.

Excerpts from The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, v. 4 (1759-1764). London, 1840. p. 169-171.

About her letters to her brother, which are kept at the Mecklenburgische Landeshauptarchiv: "Her letters are written in the typical 18th century French of the European courts, with a smattering of German. In both languages, Queen Charlotte exhibits her own peculiar use of grammar and spelling. "

More information about Queen Charlotte and her everyday life can be found here:

Queen Charlotte, 1744-1818: A Bilingual Exhibit

I am writing a book and would like to know if Queen Charlotte spoke English with a German accent. Does anyone have any information on this or could you refer me to a book on her? I have not had any luck with my library reference desk. This is probably of little interest to casual history buffs, but when trying to write dialogue it is a "must know". Thanks so much.

I think you can safely assume that Charlotte did have a German accent when speaking English. She was born in Germany of German parents, and lived there until she was 17 years old.

She may have spoken with less of an accent in later years, but I doubt she ever entirely lost it.

Certainly, George III could both read and write in German and one presumes he could speak the language as well.. so it isn't a far stretch to assume that he communicated with his wife in German sometimes.

Hope this helps :)
Queen Charlotte's accent

Thanks to Kataryn and HM Queen Catherine,

Your information is very helpful. It is rare, in the bios that I have read, that they mention an accent.
I have just recently discovered that the Duke of Wellington didn't have an Irish Brogue. In the past year have met many transplants from England and two from Ireland. At least half didn't even know that he was Irish. When I remonstrated with them about their history classes, one gentleman said that Wellington was too new. Their history classes taught the Battle of Hastings (1066) and the invasion of the Normans. Nothing as new as the 19th century.

Thanks again
I believe it was George IV that was secrety (or not so secrety) to Maria Fitzherbert.

George III was rumoured to to have been interested in other ladies (Lady Sarah Lennox comes to mind) but I have never heard that he was secretly married.
Didn't George III and his wife having so many children cause some controversy?
Didn't George III and his wife having so many children cause some controversy?
My dear Xenia,

I am not sure. I do know that Parliament complained about Queen Victoria having so many children because it caused a drain on the civil list or whatever they called it at that time.

What I do know is that the public was upset with the behavior of George III's sons' dissolute lifestyles and this caused controversy, especially after the tragic death of Princess Charlotte. This caused those dissolute sons to put aside their mistresses in order to seek suitable and sanctioned marriages.
I'm Watching the Madness of King George right now. Helen Mirren is of course fantastic, and DANG do I hate the Prince of Wales. Someone accidentally push him down that spiral staircase and take one for the team.
I loved that movie! I think Helen Mirren won Best Actress at Cannes for her portrayal of Queen Charlotte.
I'm Watching the Madness of King George right now. Helen Mirren is of course fantastic, and DANG do I hate the Prince of Wales. Someone accidentally push him down that spiral staircase and take one for the team.
I've only partly seen that movie, and that was some years ago, but I remember thinking that the Prince of Wales did have a good motive for how he treated his ill father: He wanted to marry a commoner, which his father never would have allowed, if he only had been well.
My dear Furienna,

I did not make that assumption, although I can see how you reached that conclusion. What struck me about his commoner wife was her devotion and piety towards the King. Despite what it might mean to her, and the Prince of Wales, she was devoted to the monarchy and supported the King. This showed great character in my opinion.
Wasn't the Prince of Wales already married at this time? Or are you just referring to the movie.
If you're wondering why don't I know the answer, its because I am watching the movie on Youtube very slowly, George just got better and his son fainted.
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From the movie it appeared that he did marry her but I don't know if that happened in reality. I don't know much about George IV, both before and after he became King.
George IV was secretly married to a non-royal woman for a while though, wasn't he?

And even though it might not be 100 % historically correct, I have to see that movie some day,
George IV was secretly married to a non-royal woman for a while though, wasn't he?

And even though it might not be 100 % historically correct, I have to see that movie some day,

Yes, he married a Roman-Catholic Irishwoman but since he didn't receive the king consent the marriage were invalid.
And through a quick google search, I found out her name: Maria Fitzherbert.

Well, whether it was vaild or not, I suppose it was that marriage, that the movie referred to.
Hi! Thank you for post this informative and one day in near future we, deaf/hard of hearing group, plan to travel to Europe include my favorite England King George Hanover III's wife, Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz's native northwest German! ;) Roosevelt D. Odom Jr.

As this year marked the 250th anniversary of the marriage and coronation of Queen Charlotte a number of events were held throughout the year in her birthplace of Mirow in Mecklenburg. 'Queen Charlotte's Year' came to an end this past Thursday on the anniversary of her death with a Festival of Lights in Mirow.

Mirow Festival of Lights - House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz -

"History is a lie agreed upon" Napoleon Bonaparte
Hi! Withering Havoverrians, yes you're correct about people's point of view tend to pre-judge on our facial/physical appearance before our content to character! I called "human nature" and it means some of them are/were so mean to judge us before get know us! :ohmy: ...As deaf African/European/Native-American I choose to be identify as "Deaf Multiracial-American" because it is illegal to slap label us due to Loving vs Virginia case in Superior Court in 1967 (Loving v. Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). I am current working on which it will be ready within at least 90 days and I invented a word: Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenbury-Strelitz "Monkey-Faced" Syndrome! :hmm: Roosevelt D. Odom Jr.

Withering Hanoverians
Originally Posted by rodomjr
.I want to know why they called my favorite Queen Charlotte as "monkey-faced"??? To me her looks is very fine

Welcome to TRF rodomjr.
Our modern Western culture is often accused of being looks and body obsessed, but those Hanoverians were downright cruel. Even Queen Victoria in her (many) letters would write at length and in great detail of the imperfections and "ugliness" she would perceive in all manner of people's physical appearance. Not even new-born babies escaped her withering eye. Of course this attitude was not confined to the Queen but was mainstream within society at the time.

"History is a lie agreed upon" Napoleon Bonaparte :napoleon:
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George III: Another royal disease fallacy?



15 April 2013 Last updated at 04:22 ET

What was the truth about the madness of George III?

Modern medicine may help us to discover the real reasons behind King George III's erratic behaviour, writes historian Lucy Worsley.
George III is well known in children's history books for being the "mad king who lost America".
In recent years, though, it has become fashionable among historians to put his "madness" down to the physical, genetic blood disorder called porphyria. Its symptoms include aches and pains, as well as blue urine.
The theory formed the basis of a long-running play by Alan Bennett, The Madness of George III, which was later adapted for film starring Nigel Hawthorne in the title role.
However, a new research project based at St George's, University of London, has concluded that George III did actually suffer from mental illness after all.
Using the evidence of thousands of George III's own handwritten letters, Dr Peter Garrard and Dr Vassiliki Rentoumi have been analysing his use of language. They have discovered that during his episodes of illness, his sentences were much longer than when he was well.
A sentence containing 400 words and eight verbs was not unusual. George III, when ill, often repeated himself, and at the same time his vocabulary became much more complex, creative and colourful.
These are features that can be seen today in the writing and speech of patients experiencing the manic phase of psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder.
Mania, or harmful euphoria, is at one end of a spectrum of mood disorders, with sadness, or depression, at the other. George's being in a manic state would also match contemporary descriptions of his illness by witnesses.
They spoke of his "incessant loquacity" and his habit of talking until the foam ran out of his mouth. Sometimes he suffered from convulsions, and his pages had to sit on him to keep him safe on the floor.
The researchers have even thrown doubt on one of the key planks in the case for porphyria, the blue urine. George III's medical records show that the king was given medicine based on gentian. This plant, with its deep blue flowers, is still used today as a mild tonic, but may turn the urine blue.
So maybe it wasn't the king's "madness" that caused his most famous symptom. It could have simply been his medicine.
I interviewed the researchers at St George's for a new documentary series, Fit To Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History.
In this series, I re-examine our kings and queens as individual members of the human race, rather than just as impregnable icons of splendour and power. They suffered many of exactly the same biological and psychological weaknesses as the rest of us - only with rather more serious consequences.
George III's recurring bouts of illness caused him to withdraw from daily business to recuperate out of the public eye at secluded Kew Palace, near Richmond.
Each time he withdrew to Kew, this triggered a crisis - who was to make decisions in his absence?
His son, the Prince of Wales, with whom George III had a terrible relationship, wanted to be appointed regent, and to act as the king in everything but name. But the future George IV was very much associated with the political opposition, and the government was determined to keep him out.
Strikingly, although the crisis caused a good deal of arguing, it was in fact resolved quite easily. This was partly because the king just got better (despite the bizarre and sometimes inhumane treatments given to him by the royal doctors) and partly because he was, by this stage in British history, a constitutional king.
When the Hanoverians had been invited over from Germany in 1714 to take the throne after the failure of the Stuart line, they came at the invitation of Parliament. Parliament therefore held the whip hand over them, and the powers of the monarchy declined.
But despite his illness, George III was a dedicated and diligent king, and won the respect of his politicians. In fact, when his illness drove him off the political scene, they realised how much they needed his calming effect on their squabbles.

It is counter-intuitive to suggest it, but royal health issues can actually strengthen the monarchy, not least by creating sympathy and affection for an afflicted individual.

Garrard also points out how the explanations or diagnoses that we come up with for patients in the past reflect our own current attitudes to sickness and health. One of the reasons that the porphyria argument caught on is because it seemed to remove the supposed stigma of mental health issues from the Royal Family.
And yet, as Garrard notes, porphyria opened up a different set of problems, because as an hereditable illness, George IV, and indeed other members of the Royal Family, became candidates for diagnosis too.
The research project still continues, but Garrard is already confident of one thing. "The porphyria theory is completely dead in the water. This was a psychiatric illness."
But it certainly did not stop George III from being a successful king. In a prosperous, industrialising Britain, it was growing more important for a monarch to reign rather than rule, providing background stability rather than aggressive leadership.
With his 60-year reign, George III certainly provided continuity, and I believe that his short episodes of illness tend unfairly to diminish our views of him.

See: BBC News - What was the truth about the madness of George III?
This above article by Garrard shows a complete--I mean complete--lack of understanding of Porphyria.

But let me revert to answer an earlier statement by Tiaraprinz, that George suffered from arsenic poisoning rather than Porphyria. Not two different things entirely. Arsenic is one of the strongest triggers to bring inactive porphyria into the active phase. There are many other triggers, but this is one.

Porphyria is known to cause a variety of problems when it is activated. It is a genetic illness in most cases, and often it is not activated, even for a whole lifetime, or for long periods of time. Usually 50% of children get it, 75% if both parents have it, on statistical average, of course.

One problem which may occur is "mental illness". The long sentences and inability to stop talking is one possible symptom, which I believe is based on the lowered focus of the mind which can occur in an attack. It's similar to a person with another neuro illness, MS, who can't "sort" or "file" things well, due to a nerve glitch. This is not true manic/depressive illness, as far as I can see, and I've seen a lot, talked to hundreds of people with porphyria.

The blue urine thing has always been a red herring. People with porphyria often do produce dark or atypically colored urine, but not always. Some doctors are ignorant enough to say that a person with porphyria must always have red urine.
Again, dead wrong. This is a very complex subject so I won't bother you with all the possible colors of the rainbow.

The fact that George would completely recover when an attack passed--typical porphyria.

The basic problem with porphyria is that people who have it are handicapped in the detoxification of triggering substances, such as the above-mentioned arsenic, and many others--new rugs, rug glue, composite wood containing formaldehyde, some types of paint (such as that which poisoned Van Gogh, who had porphyria), formaldehyde wherever it occurs in building materials or in laboratories, such as biology classrooms, some foods which are high in phyto-estorgens, herbicides, pesticides, gasoline fumes, many prescription meds but not all prescription meds, etc. When the substance is finally detoxed, in whatever time period that takes, the person may return to "physical" and "mental" normality. They say George was very normal when he wasn't abnormal.

The handling of this issue has for the most part been preposterous.
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And furthermore, the article above states that the symptoms of porphyria are "aches and pains". Certainly this is an overall description which might apply to various illnesses and does apply to porphyria. However, the two most common signs of porphyria, which could be recognized in the ER, are abdominal pain (specific, not just aches and pains) and mental alteration. Thus, it is called a neuropsychiatric disease.
Sometimes called a neurosomatic disease, recognizing that the pains experienced are due to nerve impairment (in large measure--in chronic cases more organ impairment might be found). The symptoms of ab pain and mental alteration are common to a large percent of acute attacks.

But there are other symptoms caused by the nerve impairment of porphyria, such as spasticity, sometimes similar to what is seen in MS, another nerve-related disease. Tachycardia (very fast pulse) is usually present in attacks. If the type of porphyra has a skin component, rash could be present, either emergent or chronic.
But many types of porphyria do not have a skin component, or do not develop it until late in the course of the disease. PCP is a skin-only type, which is acquired rather than inherited, and we are not talking about this when discussing George III, who had Varigate Porphyria, one of the three main "acute hepatic porphyrias".

There are other subtler symptoms which may emerge over time and may even become chronic, as happened to George III in old age, resulting in the long regency.

Please excuse my long lecture, but false porphyria information has prompted me to give a very short course Porphyria here. Another good source, oddly, is the Wikipedia main presentation on Porphyria. Anyone who comments on Porph in the royal family should at least read Wiki.
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