A king without an heir is always a matter for concern but a king without so much as a queen is far worse. After all, with no bride, there is not even the faint hope of solving your succession woes. Of course, not having a wife was no bar to having children but they could never take the throne.
One such queenless king was George III, who ascended to the throne on 25 October 1760. George was not without admirers, but the royal marriage bed remained resolutely empty. Just as a list of likely brides was presented at Versailles in 1725 and countless other royal houses throughout the centuries, so Parliament began to think about possible wives for the king. The long list was drawn up, discussed and shown to George, who waved it away. With a sigh, the politicians went back to the drawing board and assembled a second shortlist, no doubt with much fevered mopping of brows.
One of the names on the new list was that of Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was six years younger than George and, crucially, utterly uncontroversial. Her family was respectable if not particularly illustrious and her youth made her the ideal candidate in the eyes of Georges mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, who did not want anyone too remarkable, lest her own influence be usurped.
Intelligent, just pretty enough, and with her only vices apparently a love of snuff and jewels, everyone agreed that Sophia Charlotte might well be the ideal candidate. Charlottes widowed mother, Elisabeth, negotiated the match  with aplomb, smoothing the road for her daughters forthcoming marriage. Sadly, Elisabeth would not live to see Charlotte marry and died in June 1761, just prior to the future queens departure for England. Even with her entourage to accompany her, to make a trip to a new land whilst grieving for her mother must have put an enormous strain on the young bride. She maintained her composure admirably but behind her placid exterior, Charlotte mourned her lost mother keenly.
On the rough sea journey Charlotte utterly charmed her escorts whilst in England, George waited for his bride with undisguised enthusiasm, keen to meet the woman who appeared, on paper, to be just what he was looking for. Upon her arrival at St Jamess Palace on 8 September 1761, Charlotte threw herself at Georges feet in supplication, head bowed in deference. The king, gentleman that he was, helped his anxious bride to her feet and gently escorted her into the palace to meet his family.
The couple were married by Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury and from the very beginning, they seemed devoted to one another. This would set the store for the fifty -seven year marriage that was to follow, their love persisting through thick and thin. For George III there were to be no mistresses, official or otherwise; it seemed that, in Charlotte, he had truly found his soul mate.

George presented Charlotte with a diamond ring to be worn alongside her wedding ring; inscribed within the band was Sept 8th
1761. Charlotte appears to have been particularly touched by the ring and wore it from the day of her wedding to the day of her death.

Two weeks after the wedding the king and queen attended their Westminster Abbey coronation. With their shared dislike of being in the limelight, Charlotte and George did not particularly enjoy the ceremony and preferred to spend their time in contented seclusion. Certainly, they were secluded often enough to have fifteen children!

As the years passed and George began to succumb to the mental illness that would later dominate him, Charlottes devotion never lessened, She bore the exhausting toll of caring for her husband with fortitude, turning to her unmarried daughters for company, needing someone to show her the affection that her ill husband became increasingly unable to demonstrate.
The king and queens marriage ended with Charlottes death in 1818 and the king, his sanity gone, never knew that the wife he had once adored was dead, laid to rest in the castle that had become his home and hospital.
Campbell Orr, Clarissa. Queenship in Europe 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Craig, William Marshall. Memoir of Her Majesty Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, Queen of Great Britain. Liverpool: Henry Fisher, 1818.
Fraser, Flora. Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III. Edinburgh: A&C Black, 2012.
Hadlow, Janice. The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians. London: William Collins, 2014.
Hibbert, Christopher. George III: A Personal History. London: Viking, 1998.
Tillyard, Stella. A Royal Affair: George III and his Troublesome Siblings. London: Vintage, 2007.

About the Author
Catherine Curzon is a royal historian and blogs on all matters 18th century at A CoventGarden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life. Her work has featured by publications including BBC History Extra, All About History, History of Royals, Explore History and Jane Austens Regency World. She has performed at venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Lichfield Guildhall and Dr Johnson’s House. Catherine holds a Masters degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, she lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill. Follow Catherine on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

Life in the Georgian Court is available now from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Pen & Sword and all good bookshops!
About the Book
As the glittering Hanoverian court gives birth to the British Georgian era, a golden age of royalty dawns in Europe. Houses rise and fall, births, marriages and scandals change the course of history and in France, Revolution stalks the land.
Peep behind the shutters of the opulent court of the doomed Bourbons, the absolutist powerhouse of Romanov Russia and the epoch-defining family whose kings gave their name to the era, the House of Hanover.
Behind the pomp and ceremony were men and women born into worlds of immense privilege, yet beneath the powdered wigs and robes of state were real people living lives of romance, tragedy, intrigue and eccentricity. Take a journey into the private lives of very public figures and learn of arranged marriages that turned to love or hate and scandals that rocked polite society.
Here the former wife of a king spends three decades in lonely captivity, Prinny makes scandalous eyes at the toast of the London stage and Marie Antoinette begins her last, terrible journey through Paris as her son sits alone in a forgotten prison cell.

Life in the Georgian Court is a privileged peek into the glamorous, tragic and iconic courts of the Georgian world, where even a king could take nothing for granted.

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