Buckingham Palace, Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansback, Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, Duke of Edinburgh, Frederick Louis Prince of Wales, King George II of Great Britain, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, United Kingdom of Great Britain
Prior to taking my break I was in the middle of a biography of Prince Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales. He had just married Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. I am changing my tactic or style of writing for this blog. As I would feature a royal or a monarch on I realized that doing a biographical sketch of an individual became a daunting task. First of all I think my writing style was encyclopedic in that I spent an enormous amount of time and energy just focusing on facts and information which I began to realize the vast majority of my readers already know. Also, there is so much information on the lives of these people it was difficult to know what to include and what to leave out. So I want to take a different approach and try to offer something new for my readers.
I like to keep my postings short but interesting. I have found that many people are like me in that they often do not like wading through a lot of text on the internet. What I have decided to do for the Thursday and Friday postings where I focus on a royal and a monarch from the past and present is to talk about aspects of their lives that I find interesting. With that in mind I will conclude my feature on HRH Prince Frederick Louis, The Prince of Wales.
As I mentioned in the previous entry on poor Fred, his relationship with his parents continued a phenomenon in the House of Hanover where father and son did not get along. I think one of the reasons why this fascinates me is because I am really interested in family dynamics. How people interact with one another and why they act as they do is a fascinating topic. I have come to learn that just because a family may have wealth, power and privilege doesn’t mean they are without sever dysfunction. I always wanted to know why Frederick Louis seemed so hated by his parents? I still do not know. As I said last time I think politics did have a role to play. Political parties had developed in Britain after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It wouldn’t be until the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) when the monarch began to dissociate themselves from partisan politics and became more neutral ( a very wise decision if I should say so). Therefore, at the time when Frederick Louis was heir to the throne the party which was “out of favor” with the monarch would be try to win influence with the heir to the throne. This would create intense rivalry between father and son.
However, in my opinion, this does not account for the intensity of the hatred his parents had for him. There much be other issues. I have read that while in Germany, and afterward in Britain, the Prince of Wales was a bit of a womanizing playboy. This was a common practice for many princes of the House of Hanover, most notably the future George IV (Fred’s grandson) and the future Edward VII (Fred’s great-great grandson). Yes, I know Edward VII was technically a Saxe-Coburg prince and not of the House of Hanover. Anyway, I do think that did play a role in why his parents hated him so much. The hypocrisy in all of this is that Fred’s father, King George II, had his share of mistresses and Fred’s grandfather, King George I, not only had his string of mistresses, he divorced his wife because she had a lover and there is much evidence that her lover’s death came via the orders of George I himself! It was reported that his wife’s lover, Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, was murdered by courtiers who then threw his body, weighted with stones, into the river Leine . It has also been documented that the assassins were paid the enormous sum of 150,000 thalers, which was about one hundred times the annual salary of the highest paid minister! Mafia Don, John Gotti, would be proud! I don’t think this moral high ground George II was taking really justified his hatred toward his son. I think the real basic reason for the hatred may be complex. I know of many families were there is intense dislike among its members. I have know parents who do not like their children. This goes against what we want to believe so our moral outrage is increased.
Another reason Fred is interesting is that he presents a “what if” scenario. I really enjoy contemplating these “what if” scenarios in history. Frederick died at Leicester House at the age of 44 in 1751 from a burst abscess in the lung and never became king. His father died 9 years later leaving the throne to Fred’s eldest son who became George III. If Frederick had become King of Great Britain what would his rule have been like? Would it had changed history? If he lived to his 60s or 70s he would have died somewhere around the 1770s or 1780s just in time for the
American Revolution…I mean the War for American Independence. Would the war have even happened had Frederick been king? I know it is impossible to answer these questions but fun to speculate.
In many was the life of Frederick Louis is a sad tale. Even in his death he was lamented. I will close this look at Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales with the famous epigram (quoted by William Makepeace Thackeray, “Four Georges”):
“Here lies poor Fred who was alive and is dead,
Had it been his father I had much rather,
Had it been his sister nobody would have missed her,
Had it been his brother, still better than another,
Had it been the whole generation, so much better for the nation,
But since it is Fred who was alive and is dead,
There is no more to be said!”