|Princess Charlotte of Wales by Dawe (1817)|
|Queen of the United Kingdom|
|Reign||26th June 1830 - 6th November 1872|
|Coronation||12th December 1830|
|Successor||George V & I|
|Issue||George V & I|
|House|| House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
|Mother||Caroline of Brunswick|
|Born|| 7th January 1796 |
Carlton House, London, England
|Died|| 6th November 1872 |
Claremont House, Surrey, England
|Burial|| 19th November 1872 |
St George's Chapel, Windsor, England
Queen Charlotte I (Charlotte Augusta; 7 January 1796 – 6 November 1872) was the only child of George, Prince of Wales (later to become King George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick. Charlotte succeeded her father on June 26th 1830 to become Queen-Regnant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Queen of Kingdom of Belgium on July 21st 1831 when the newly independent nation offered the throne to the Queen's consort, Prince-Consort Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha therefore making him Leopold I of Belgium.
Princess of Wales
When her father ascended the throne as George IV on January 29th 1820, Charlotte was invested as Princess of Wales in her own right and officially recognised as heir presumptive to the throne of the United Kingdom. With the style her husband, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and their child, Prince George were elevated also. Fiercely opposed to her father for the treatment of her mother, Queen Caroline, the Princess spent a majority of her time in her company. Following her death on August 7th 1821, the Princess placed the blame firmly at her father's feet. The chasm between the King and his heir was a source of public scandal involving several interventions by the Prime Minister.
Charlotte was very anti-slavery, so much so that she nearly caused a constitutional crisis by having two negros to dinner in her home in Surrey. Her fervor for the freedom of the Africans from bondage inspired her husband Leopold to reflect her views. She spear headed the movement that would eventually lead to the 1833 Abolition Act three years into her reign. Although a royal sponsor made the endeavour almost guaranteed to succeed, Charlotte's uncle, William, Duke of Clarence was firmly against the abolition. Pro-Slavery lobbyists used the Duke's prestige and the King's dislike for his own daughter to sink the act until 1833.
George IV ignored his daughter's displays of snubbery and was remembered for having uttered, "Something must be done about the Wales family." Charlotte went on to give birth to a second child, Princess Elizabeth on January 14th 1824 without any complications and spent the rest of her tenure as Princess of Wales in relative obscurity following a stern word from the Prime Minister about her behaviour towards the King.
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
When her father passed away on June 26th 1830, Charlotte ascended the throne as Queen of the United Kingdom. However, due to Salic Law she could not inherit the Kingdom of Hanover. Seen as an appropriate time for the union of the kingdoms to end, due to the new ruling house, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Charlotte's uncle ascended as King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover.
Charlotte's coronation, while not as expensive as her father's lavish ceremony was a rousing success. Although in her mid-thirties Charlotte's youthful beauty had remained and the people universally loved her for her stern stance against her father whom the population now referred to as George the Fat. Charlotte's first Prime Minister, the Earl Grey remarked, "Not since Charles II has an English monarch been so accepted after the reign of a questionable character."
Charlotte's reign was marked by major industrial innovation and expanding colonialism. Throughout her rule the British Empire soared to it's height while also fighting devastating conflicts such as the Opium Wars and the Crimean War. Due to Belgium's support leading up to what might have been the Indian rebellion of 1857, the conflict was avoided. In 1858 India was implemented as part of the British Empire, establishing the British Raj. Charlotte was crowned Empress of India in a lavish ceremony in Westminster the same year.
Although fierce and outspoken, as the Queen reached her middle age she began to slow down. By the time she turned sixty in 1856, a year after her silver jubilee she had slipped into a life of ceremony and pacifism when it came to affairs of state. Her son, George, Prince of Wales had become restless, serving as heir apparent for twenty-six years. Approaching his fortieth birthday he began to lose hope of ever seeing the crowns of his parents before he rivaled them in age.
The Constitution of Belgium kept the monarch, Leopold I in Brussels for a majority of his time. In an agreement between the two nations, Leopold and Charlotte were afforded two weeks in the summer together, alternating between Surrey, England and Jette, Belgium. The two eventually grew apart and canceled the arrangement. Although she would never admit it, the separation was a happy release for Charlotte who wrote in a letter to her daughter, "While I love your father dearly, I cannot help but feel the Lord granted us our charges so that we may carry out our duties separately. Full in the knowledge that although we toil in this life, eternity at each other's side will be reward for our labour."
Leopold passed away in 1865 leaving his forty-eight year old son to ascend the throne as, George I, King of the Belgians and leaving his aging wife Queen-Dowager. Accepting the death of her consort with appropriate grief, Charlotte spent the last six years of her reign in isolation. Regularly tended by her only daughter, the now Queen Elizabeth of Sweden she placed in her will, "I have ever been content with my station, my family and my companions. I pray God that our dear Empire expands beyond the very world itself for there cannot be a grander or more just flag than that of our beloved Union."
Charlotte passed away on the 6th November 1872 one day after her son's fifty-fourth birthday. George, King of the Belgians ascended the thrones of many nations. Throughout her reign Charlotte had been styled appropriately, Her Majesty, Charlotte the First, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, of Ireland, of Canada and the British Dominions across the seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India. Due to the regnal names of Charlotte's four-predecessors her son was known as, George V & I.
Titles, styles, honours
Titles and styles
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
- 7th January 1796 - 29th January 1820: Her Royal Highness, The Princess Charlotte
- 29th January 1820 - 29th June 1830: Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales
- 29th June 1830 - 6th November 1872: Her Majesty The Queen
Kingdom of Belgium
- 21st July 1831 - 10th December 1865: Her Majesty The Queen of the Belgians
- 10th December 1865 - 6th November 1872: Her Majesty The Queen-Dowager Charlotte
Empire of India
- 1st November 1858 - 6th Novermber 1872: Her Imperial Majesty The Queen-Empress
|George V & I||5th November 1817||Ascended as King of the United Kingdom and Belgium beginning the Union of the Crowns|
|Elizabeth of Sweden and Norway||14th January 1824||Married Charles XV of Sweden|