Page images



It is now time to introduce the new king's family, some of whom played an important part in the history of the court.



The King's Family-Prince Frederick at Hanover-His

Proposed Secret Marriage--His Arrival in England-
Hated by his Parents—His Popularity--The Prince
and Miss Vane-Lady Archibald Hamilton-The
Prince wishes to get Rid of Miss Vane-Feelings of the
Royal Family towards him-His Passion for Music-
His Proposed Marriage-Arrival of the Bride—The
Marriage Ceremony.


URING the residence of the Prince and

Princess at Leicester House, three children were born to them, William, afterwards Duke of Cumberland, Mary, and Louisa. Of their seven children, Frederick, born in 1707, was the eldest. Since he was about seven years old, he had never seen his mother, and his father only on the occasional short visits he paid to Hanover.

When his grandfather had left the Electorate

[blocks in formation]

to take possession of the English crown, it was his good will and pleasure that the usual ceremonies should be carried on in his absence at the Hanoverian Court, and that Prince Fred, then a mere boy, should hold a drawing-room daily, and receive the same attention as George Lewis had done before Fate had made him a king. Left to the guardianship of tutors, and exposed to the debasing servility of courtiers, the young Prince quickly found other employment for himself than in holding drawing-rooms. He soon learned to drink and gamble. His manners to those who were not his favourites became rough and unbearable, and his general conduct degraded. The fruits of his estrangement from his parents, and the licence he enjoyed, became visible soon after his arrival in England. This event did not take place until his grandfather had been dead about eighteen months, for neither his father nor mother desired to see him.

The king remembered what a thom he himself had been in the flesh of his royal father, and of what use a Prince of Wales was liable to be made in the hands of courtiers and politicians in opposition to the king's ministry; and, now that he had come to the throne, he feared his son might follow in his own footsteps. The Prince might have remained much longer in Hanover, but that the nation began to busy itself with the fact that the next heir to the throne was living away from the people, and out of the country over which they believed he would reign in the coming time. He was receiving a foreign education, it was said, and, if left longer abroad, would come to England as ignorant of English ways as his grandfather had been, and probably with the same stolid attachment to the little Electorate and its interests in preference to those of the British nation, and this was a consummation not to be desired. The king, however, closed his ears to the voice of the people, as he invariably did when it did not suit him to hear it, until the Privy Council reasoned with him, and then he felt he could no longer keep the heir-apparent out of the kingdom. Perhaps an action of Prince Frederick's at this time made His Majesty pay



more heed to the wishes of his ministers than he otherwise would have done.

In the reign of George I., a negotiation had been set on foot for the marriage of Prince Fred to his cousin, the Princess Royal of Prussia, and of the Prince Royal of Prussia to the Princess Amelia, the second daughter of George II. At first both the royal houses seemed equally anxious for the marriages, but soon a coolness on the part of George I. was caused by Frederick William's secession from the Treaty of Hanover. This coolness regarding the marriage proposal increased when the second George came to the throne; for the king hated his brother-in-law of Prussia with an intensity which found a climax in a challenge to a duel.

At this time Prince Fred was at the romantic age of one and twenty, and believed himself very much in love with his fair cousin, and his affection was much strengthened, of course, by the opposition which his father gave. On the other hand the Queen of Prussia favoured the Prince's addresses, and her royal spouse shared her sentiments, because the union would be

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »