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The next prince on my list in this examination of the name of Louis and its association with the British Royal Family is HRH Frederick-Louis, Prince of Wales, KG (February 1, 1707 – March 31, 1751). He was heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death from a lung injury at the age of 44 in 1751. He was the eldest son King George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and the father of King George III.

IMG_3319 HRH Prince Frederick-Louis, Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh

Under the Act of Settlement passed by the English Parliament in 1701, Frederick-Louis was born fourth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his great-grandmother (Electress Sophia of Hanover), paternal grandfather (King George I) and father (George II). All of these relatives were alive at the time of his birth. Prince Frederick-Louis was born in Hanover, Holy Roman Empire (Germany), as Duke Friedrich-Ludwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg, His paternal great-grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, a granddaughter of James I-VI, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, was cousin and heir presumptive to Queen Anne of Great Britain. When Sophia died before Anne at age 83 in June 1714, this elevated elevated Elector George-Louis to heir-presumptive.

Queen Anne died on August 1, of that same year, and Sophia’s son became King George I. This made Frederick-Louis’s father the new Prince of Wales and first-in-line to the British throne and Frederick-Louis himself became second-in-line.

In 1726 Frederick-Louis’ grandfather, George I, created him Duke of Edinburgh, Marquess of the Isle of Ely, Earl of Eltham in the county of Kent, Viscount of Launceston in the county of Cornwall, and Baron of Snaudon in the county of Carnarvon. The latter two titles have been interpreted differently since – the ofs are omitted and Snaudon rendered as Snowdon.

Frederick-Louis spent much of his early life in Hanover even after his grandfather and father moved to England. Frederick-Louis arrived in England in 1728 as a grown man, the year after his father had become King George II. By then, George II and Caroline had had several younger children, and Frederick-Louis, created Prince of Wales January 8th 1729, was a high-spirited youth fond of drinking, gambling and women. The long separation damaged the parent-child relationship, and they would never be close.

With Frederick-Louis now in England it was time for him to settle down and start to raise a family. Negotiations between George II and his brother-in-law Friedrich-Wilhelm I of Prussia on a proposed marriage between the Prince of Wales and Friedrich-Wilhelm I’s daughter, Wilhelmine, were welcomed by Frederick-Louis even though the couple had never met. George II was not keen on the proposal but continued talks for diplomatic reasons. Frustrated by the delay, Frederick-Louis sent an envoy of his own to the Prussian court. When King George II discovered the plan, he immediately arranged for Frederick-Louis to leave Hanover for England. The marriage negotiations ultimately collapsed when Friedrich-Wilhelm I demanded that Frederick-Louis be made Regent in Hanover which meant he’d have the power and authority as Elector of Hanover, just not the tittle. George II would have none of that!

Frederick-Louis also almost married Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill. Lady Diana was the favourite grandchild of the powerful Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. The duchess sought a royal alliance by marrying Lady Diana to the Prince of Wales with a massive dowry of £100,000. The prince, who was in great debt, agreed to the proposal, but the plan was vetoed by Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of the day, and by King George II himself. Lady Diana instead married John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford.

IMG_3498 Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg HRH The Princess of Wales

After a marriage with Lady Diana Spencer did not come to fruition, king George II was visiting Hanover when Queen Caroline suggested that Frederick-Louis visit Saxe-Gotha to view the princesses there. The princess that caught his eye was Princess Augusta. Princess Augusta was born in Gotha to Friedrich II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1676–1732) and Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (1676–1740). Her paternal grandfather was Friedrich I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, eldest surviving son of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.

When Frederick-Louis informed his mother that he considered Augusta suitable, the marriage was swiftly decided upon. Frederick-Louis simply stated that he accepted any bride his father would decide for him. His motive in seeking an early marriage was not because he’d fallen in love with Princess Augusta, his motive was to obtain an additional allowance from Parliament in order to be financially independent of his father, whom he detested.

IMG_3505 The Prince and Princess of Wales and family

Princess Augusta did not speak French or English, and the British Court suggested that she be given language lessons before the wedding. Since British royal family was originally from Germany and since Frederick-Louis also spoke German, Princess Augusta‘s mother did not consider it necessary for her daughter to learn English. Therefore she arrived in Britain speaking virtually no English, for a wedding ceremony which took place almost immediately, on 8 May 1736, at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, London.

The union was presided over by Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London and Dean of the Chapel Royal. Handel provided the new anthem ‘Sing unto God’ for the service and the wedding was also marked in London by two rival operas, Handel’s Atalanta and Porpora’s La festa d’Imeneo.

The royal couple had 9 children (5 sons and 4 daughters) with Prince George being the eldest, born 1738. Frederick-Louis died at Leicester House at the age of 44 in 1751. In the past this has been attributed to a burst lung abscess caused by a blow from a cricket or a real tennis ball, but it is now thought to have been from a pulmonary embolism. He was buried at Westminster Abbey on April 13, 1751.

Prince George inherited his father’s title of Duke of Edinburgh. George II showed more interested in his grandson and three weeks after the death of the Prince of Wales the King created George Prince of Wales, a title that is not automatically inherited.

Britain would not have a King Frederick-Louis and this was the closest they would come to a King with the name Louis.