Then I found, in The Ladies' Monthly Museum of November and December 1817, coverage of her death, and the outpouring of national grief that followed it. The reaction was similar to that which occurred on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, but there was much more reason for the public reaction.
Charlotte was the last hope of a nation depressed by the illness of its king, and tired, disgusted and disheartened by the behaviour of the Prince Regent. There was a belief that she would be the monarch they had been waiting for, a queen who would right all the wrongs perpetrated by her forebears, exclude her dissolute uncles from the throne, and make her people--burdened by economic hardship--happy. And then it was all cut short on November 6, 1817 and The Ladies' Monthly Museum lamented:
The sudden, unexpected, and melancholy death of the only presumptive Heiress to the Crown of England in direct succession (after being delivered of a still-born son,) in the bloom of youth and beauty, in the height of her happiness, in the midst of conjugal endearments, beloved and respected, with the prospect of attaining the pinnacle of human greatness, has excited a general sentiment of sympathy and sorrow throughout the country; absorbed every other consideration; and for a time exclusively fixed our attention upon the character of illustrious victim, and the future consequences of her loss.
The Museum took an idealized engraving of the princess and turned it into a keepsake that no doubt was framed by many, and enshrined:
There were regular articles in this issue of the Monthly Museum (A New System of Mythology, Comic Use of a Retentive Memory) but they were interspersed with further outpourings of grief:
The Museum always included a 'Costume Parisiennes' column. This month it begins:
"The latest accounts from Paris announce that the French court have gone into mourning for our Princess, for eleven days, and all the English of distinction have paid her memory a similar mark of respect:..."
'The more things change, the more they stay the same' -- we may not wear mourning clothes any more, but the reaction to tragedy has not altered in the last two hundred years.
But on to more cheerful matters--next week, award-winning, multi-published Regency author Janet Mullany will visit to blog about Brighton. Please join us then!
'Til next time,