Thursday, January 28, 2010

Princess Charlotte: Romantic Royal, Doomed Daughter (Or, the Princess Who Should Have Been Queen)
by Linore Rose Burkard

Imagine if Queen Victoria never came to the throne because her cousin, Princess Charlotte Augusta (1796-1817), beat her to it. Of course this couldn't have happened: Despite being as wildly popular to the England of her time as Princess Diana was to ours, Princess Charlotte never became the Queen she might have been, and by birth, should have been, for the simple reason that she died before getting the chance.

Read on to catch a glimpse of Her Royal Highness, Princess Charlotte of Wales -Daughter of the Regent ( later George IV). She was passionate, a sometime pawn of her warring parents, and a great favorite among the English during the Regency until her tragic death in 1817. She was a romantic ideal to her subjects, (even Jane Austen loved her) but a doomed daughter. A future monarch who would never reach the throne.

In 1817 when Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and his estranged wife Caroline of Brunswick, died at the age of 21 (following childbirth), Britain went into mourning such as was not seen again until the death of Princess Diana.

The young princess was a national celebrity of the time, loved for her forthright and passionate nature and because she was seen as the best outcome of an upopular Regent and his even more unpopular and disastrous marriage. If mentioned in the papers, she was most often viewed sympathetically, even reverently. The people loved her. If the Regent was not worthy of the place Providence had seen fit to bestow upon him; if Princess Caroline his wife, was a well-known eccentric, with dubious standards of hygiene and even morals, the young Princess, at least, gave the populace hope.

She was perhaps the more loved for her contrast to both parents, the selfish, hedonistic (though intelligent) father, and her less-than well-esteemed mother. In her own words, the Princess once put it this way: 'My mother was bad, but she would not have become as bad as she was if my father had not been infinitely worse.'

In this painting she appears, it seems to me, a sturdy picture of strength and health; all the more pity, then, that she fell victim to the medical practices of the day, dying after giving birth to a still-born son-- following a horrendous 50 hour labor--from post-partum hemorrhaging. There is a train of thought which says she died of porphyria; the sickness that afflicted her grandfather, George III. This seems unlikely to me, particularly in light of the fact that her doctors had been regularly bleeding her before the birth, and had enforced a strict diet upon her. In other words, she had been weakened considerably before the event.

In any case, her husband, the handsome, formal Prince Leopold, was greatly distraught. (Think of it--In one fell swoop he lost wife, son, and future as Prince Consort.) The nation joined his grief in a huge outpouring of sorrow. Poets immortalized the princess in poetry; the Regent had a large memorial built for her; but he fell under renewed attack by the press and his subjects, not least because it was rumoured he had refused to abandon his hunt, despite the report of his daughter being in labour, until it was too late. In truth, he went to bed the night she delivered fully exhausted himself, hearing that his daughter was doing well, even though his grandchild had not survived the birth. When he woke the next day to find that he had lost his only child as well, he was enormously affected, and took it very hard

The nation did, too. To the popular imagination, Princess Charlotte represented a new day, a new era, a reversal of the high and irreverent carrying-on of the upper classes during the unsettling years of war, rumoured madness in their king, and even, perhaps, invasion of their own shores. Having lived only to the age of 21, we forget how great a symbol of hope the young Princess was to her contemporaries. She doesn't get a great deal of press anymore. Most have forgotten her.

Her memoirs (not autobiographical) reveal a generous, loving girl with a great deal of intelligence, a whip of a temper, strong principles, and with a propensity towards kindness that was heartily attractive. Her manner of expression, both written and in speech, was eloquent. I find it little wonder that England of her day loved her so well. I wish we could have seen what "Queen Charlotte" would have been like on the throne, and in later life. (And yet, instead of the Victorian Era, would we have called it a “Charlatan Era? ” [Charlotten Era?] Probably not!)

Linore Rose Burkard writes "Inspirational Romance to Warm the Soul," as well as articles on Regency Life and people, Homeschooling, and Self-Improvement. She publishes a monthly eZine "Regency Reflections" which you can receive for FREE by signing up at her website quickly and easily. Ms. Burkard graduated from the City University of New York with a magna cum laude degree in English Literature, and now lives in Ohio with her husband and five children. Her novels are: Before the Season Ends, The House in Grosvenor Square, and just-released, The Country House Courtship, all from Harvest House Publishers.

For more articles about people, places and life during the Regency, visit Regency Romance author Linore Rose Burkard's website

Friday, January 22, 2010

Regency Domestics III - The Footman

"The duties of the Footman include almost every description of household employment." So says The Servant's Guide and Family Manual of 1831.

The footman's duties were dependent upon the size of the household in which he was employed. In a large household with several maid-servants for housework, kitchen servants for food service, stable staff, and body servants, his duties were restricted to decorative and service tasks like carrying messages, parcels, and general errand work.

But in a small household, the list of duties could be extensive. The Complete Servant by Samuel and Sarah Adams, written in 1825, says "The business of the Footman is so multifavious and incessant, that in most families, if he be industrious, attentive, and disposed to make himself useful, he will find full employment in the affairs of the house, and the more useful he can make himself, greater will be his reward, and the more comfortable he will be himself."

left - a shoe polishing chest

Included in The Complete Servant is an advertisement which appeared in the Gloucester Journal in January 1825 "WANTED, a middle-aged steady Servant, in the capacity of FOOTMAN; he will be required to wait at table, clean plate, and make himself generally useful in the House. No one need apply who has not lived some time in his last place; and it is indispensably necessary that he shall be able to shave his Master."

Duties included everything from cleaning boots, clothes, lamps and furniture, to setting tables, following his mistress as she shopped, laying fires, and assisting his master to dress...and shave.

left - the sort of lamps that constantly required cleaning

A later 1800's report however, noted in the book The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant by Pamela Horn suggests that the very nature of the footman's work, particularly the carrying of messages and performance of errands offered him a unique opportunity to order their own time, and occasionally to be less than diligent.

The footman's life offered plenty of variety, if nothing else, generally for twelve to sixteen hours a day. And unlike many domestic positions, it extended the opportunity for advancement to the place of butler or perhaps even steward.

Next week the first of my guest bloggers, Linore Rose Burkard, will be here. Linore is the author of three Regency romances, and will be discussing aspects of her own research. Linore's latest book is The Country House Courtship. Visit her website at

I will be back to two weeks--til then, take care,


Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Scotch Collops and Marrow-Pudding"
Regency Dining in January 1819

Great Britain currently is struggling with falls of snow the like of which they have not known for decades. It is colder than it has been for generations and, all in all, their winter this year looks very like the typical winter here where I live in western Canada.

Despite that however, I expect that their supermarkets still for the most part have a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables including citrus and bananas, strawberries and tomatoes. The butcher's counter will have a wide selection of meat from around the world and fish of all kinds including items from the tropics.

During the Regency period at the beginning of the 19th century, the food available in January was quite different, and much more limited than today's plenty. It was in fact, more like the 'two hundred mile diet' being proposed today to save energy costs.

Modern Domestic Cookery does advise that virtually all meats--beef, mutton, house lamb, pork, veal, bacon, doe venison--are in season in January. Game and poultry available includes turkeys, all kinds of chicken and wild fowl along with pigeons and rabbits and hares. There is fish in abundance: fresh salmon, tench, sole, carp, cod, plaice, flounder, mullet, whiting, eel, chub, red herrings, smelts, gudgeon, perch, oysters, prawns, lobsters, crabs, craw-fish, thornback, skate, turbot, scollops, mussels, cockles, and sprats. No tilapia or rainbow trout, however!

Vegetables and fruits available would be very different from our current largesse. Apples, medlars and pears if carefully stored would still be edible and grapes might come from succession houses. Nuts would be plentiful. Any other soft fruit would be dried or bottled. Potatoes, turnips, parsnips and carrots would be plentiful, as would brussel sprouts and cabbage, leeks, onions, and beets. Greens would include endive, sorrel, celery, spinach and a certain amount of lettuce and cress depending on the severity of the winter. By forcing, mushrooms, cucumbers and asparagus might be available.

Cheese and bread would continue to be staples year round, but the quantity of eggs would be somewhat limited in winter.

Modern Domestic Cookery offers menus for January that include

First Course:

Ham and fowls, or capons. Place the ham at the bottom of the table, and the fowls at the top. A leg of lamb and spinach, garnished with the loin, fried in steaks, with savoys or cabbages, and some good potatoes; also some carrots sliced, with gravy and plain melted butters, and a hunting pudding.
Or--Turkey and chine. A brisket of beef stewed and served up in soup, Scotch collops, a brace of carp stewed, savoys, carrots, potatoes, and mince pies.

Second Course:

A fillet of veal stuffed and roasted, stewed hare, partridges four in a dish, pig roasted, and apple-pie.
Or--wild fowl, a piece of sturgeon; fricasee of lamb-stones, sweet-breads, etc.; marrow-pudding, squab pigeons, and asparagus; strong gravy.

It is a hearty diet, but one not suited to vegetarians with its heavy emphasis on meat. Though I cannot think the out of season fruits and vegetables that are offered to us are all necessary, by and large, I appreciate our modern diet.

Until next time,


For more information, see: Modern Domestic Cookery by Elizabeth Hammond; London, 1819 available free for download from Google Books.
Please note the new Guest Blogger column on the right. Things are coming together and three guests are now scheduled. Mark your calendars and do join me and my guests!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Latest News from the
Regency World of Lesley-Anne McLeod

My latest newsletter just went out a few days ago, and I thought you might like to read the highlights here!

A New Contest for the New Year
The winner of the November/December contest for the book "Panoramas of England" and the fan was Joy from the U. S. A. Congratulations, Joy! Thank you to everyone for signing the guestbook. The prize in the first contest of 2010 for January and February is a well-known book first published 100 years ago in 1910 "Vanishing England".

The authors' introduction begins "We wish to describe with pen and pencil those features of England which are gradually disappearing, and to preserve the memory of them." Thank goodness they did. The book has been reprinted many times in the ensuring hundred years and this is a 1994 edition, gently used. Visit my contest page to see a larger picture of the book. I hope you will sign the guestbook again by February 28, 2009 to be entered for the new draw. Click here to go to my main website. Guestbook link is near the bottom of the home page.

COMING IN May 2010 - "The Harmless Deception" A new full length Regency romance!

Available! -"Lost in Almack's"
My newest 'Novel Byte' short Regency fiction piece "Lost in Almack's" and my four other 'Novel Bytes' are still available from Uncial Press. When Lady Genevra Haven becomes lost in the back corridors and staircases of Almack's she needs courage and ingenuity, as well as charm and confidence, to avoid social ruin and salvage her successful debut. Romance Reviews Today says "a delightfully fun and lively foray". Click here to purchase "Lost in Almack's"

Regency World News
There is a new story, especially appropriate for this new year, on my story page. Please go to The Hogmanay List

There is new information added to my Regency World at the Portrait Gallery page, the literature page Great Writers of the Regency Period and the art page Art and Artists.There is also a new picture on the Colouring Book page--of an English lady dressed, or perhaps in the process of dressing, for a morning at home.

If you would like to become my friend at Facebook, I would be delighted to meet you! And follow me at Twitter for all-Regency tweets and my latest news!

Treats for Regency fans from Regency Fancies -- at

Treat yourself to Regency themed T-shirts, tote bags, stationery and decorative items from Regency Fancies the store at that artist Shakoriel and I have established. You can buy the Fashions of Regency England Colouring Book and a variety of other products there all embellished with Shakoriel's Regency art. Visit us at Regency Fancies

That's all for this time. Watch for guest bloggers coming soon--my new venture for the blog this year. I hope to have a visitor for you on the last Friday of each month, but I'm still in the process of setting this up so watch for further details.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Female Poets of the Regency II -
Working Class Authors

In my last post I was talking about the overlooked female poets of the late Georgian/Regency era. The 'women of letters' were largely well-educated ladies of some leisure, though there were also professional writers amongst their number. As Jennifer Breen, author of "Women Romantic Poets, 1785-1832" puts it: "...all these women moved in literary, artististic or educational circles, had access to publishers and literary contacts, and devoted a substantial part of their time to their writing." But there was another, entirely different, group of female poets as well.

These were the working-class women who came to poetry as a means of extending their income. They generally published their work by subscription--that is they developed a network of patrons who paid for the book in advance. Their themes tended to be domestic and their work was considered to be more accessible to the general reader.

Ann Yearsley was a Bristol woman, active in the campaign against the Bristol slave trade. She was of humble birth, but managed to learn to read and from then on was unstoppable. Eventually she published three books of poetry, a drama and a novel before dying early in the 1800s. Here are the first and last stanzas of her poem "The Indifferent Shepherdess to Colin":

"Colin, why this mistake?
Why plead the foolish love?
My heart shall sooner break
Than I a minion prove;
Nor care I half a rush,
No snare I spread for thee:
Go home, my friend, and blush
For love and liberty.

I stray o'er rocks and fields
Where native beauties shine:
All fettered fancy yields
Be, Colin, ever thine.
Complain nore more! but rove--
My cheek from crimson free,
Within my native grove
I'll guard my liberty." 1796

Christian Milne was a Scottish writer with very little schooling. Nevertheless she published a book of poetry by subscription, and though it was her only book she wrote poetry throughout her life. Her work has a humourous bent, with a strong ironic edge.

To a Lady Who Said It Was Sinful to Read Novels

"To love these books, and harmless tea,
Has always been my foible,
Yet will I ne'er forgetful be
To read my Psalms and Bible.

Travel I like, and history too,
Or entertaining fiction;
Novels and plays I'd have a few,
If sense and proper diction.

I love a natural harmless song,
But cannot sing like Handel;
Deprived of such resource, the tongue
Is sure employed--in scandal." 1805

Elizabeth Bentley, though of humble birth, was educated by her father and undertook to write poetry at age eighteen, without expectation of publication. But subscribers were found to publish her collection "Genuine Poetical Compositions", some of them well-known such as William Cowper. Her subjects ranged from the pastoral to issues of abolition and education. Her poem 'On Education' illustrates the importance of learning for all children:

"When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
"And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
Then let the growing race employ your care
Then guard their opening minds from Folly's snare;
Correct the rising passions of their youth,
Teach them each serious, each important truth;
Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast,
Destroy each vice that might its growth molest;
Point out betimes the course they should pursue;
Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view
Their reason strengthen as their years increase,
Their virtue ripen and their follies cease;
Like corn sown early in the fertile soil,
The richest harvest shall repay your toil."

These poems are impressive works by women familiar with the harshest trials of life; Elizabeth Bentley died in an almshouse in the 1830s.

The world deserves to have the richness of women's artistic efforts known. Now that we are reaching our full potential, we must celebrate the work of past women, so that they can be remembered and enshrined as our fore-mothers.

I wish you all the happiest of new years,