19th century Princess Charlotte memorabilia goes on sale


A collection of royal memorabilia devoted to a 19th century Princess Charlotte is to go on sale.

Princess Charlotte of Wales - George IV's only child - was destined to become the nation's Queen, but tragically died giving birth nearly 200 years ago in 1817 when she was just 21.

The auction includes bronze medals commemorating her death, inscribed with the words "Great Britain mourns. Her Princes weep!" and a portrait of Charlotte with her husband Prince Leopold, estimated together to fetch up to £300.

In May, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge named their baby daughter Princess Charlotte. She was born on the anniversary of Princess Charlotte of Wales's wedding day. 

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales married Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, later King of the Belgians, on May 2 1816 at Carlton House in London. The popular couple were a love match and crowds of people filled the streets in celebration.

But Charlotte's sudden death just 18 months later following the birth of a stillborn son led to a mass outpouring of grief, drawing comparisons with the public's mourning of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

The death of Princess Charlotte - George IV's only heir - paved the way for Queen Victoria to eventually rule as monarch, shaping the monarchy as we know it today.

Guy Schooling, of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, said: "In many ways this collection represents a unique documentary record of an important and poignant moment in British history.

"The variety of art, furnishings and objects on offer capture the sense of young love and promise on the cusp of greatness as it is cut down tragically.

"The commemoration, among so many pieces, of the Princess who would have been Queen is like a time capsule, granting us, almost exactly 200 years later, a glimpse of the mood of the time.

"The nation in mourning, in many ways, presages that exhibited for Princess Diana."

Other items include a plate showing Prince Leopold and Britannia mourning at Charlotte's tomb, a pair of Princess Charlotte memorial bronze lustres with the words "Her life was hope, her death dismay", as well as a mahogany French library chair used by the couple which is expected to sell for between £1,000 and £1,500.

The Autumn Country House Sale by Sworders will be held on September 15 in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. Many of the items are linked to Claremont House in Esher, Surrey, where the couple lived.

Charlotte's death left George III without any legitimate grandchildren and his four unmarried sons were urged to produce an heir, leading to the Duke of Kent quickly marrying Leopold's sister and having a child soon after - Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent - who went on to rule as Queen Victoria.