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Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (May 19, 1744 - November 17, 1818) was the queen consort of King George III.

The youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick, and Elizabeth Albertin of Saxe-Hilburghausen, Duchess of Saxony, Charlotte was born in Mirow in her father's duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany. When only seventeen years old, she was selected as the bride of the young King George (who had already flirted with several young women considered unsuitable by his mother, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and by his political advisors). Charlotte arrived in Britain in 1761 and the couple were married at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, on September 8 of that year.

Despite not having been his first choice, and having been treated with a general lack of sympathy by his mother, Charlotte's relationship with her husband soon blossomed, and he was apparently never unfaithful to her.

Charlotte has been described as dim and formidably ugly. While regretting her plainness, George III, a sensual man, but with a high moral sense, did his 'duty'. In the course of their marriage, they had fifteen children, all but two — Octavius and Alfred —survived into adulthood. Charlotte was interested only in domestic matters and exercised no political influence.

After the onset of his illness, then misunderstood as madness, George III was placed in the care of his wife, who could not bring herself to visit him very often. However, Charlotte remained supportive of her husband as his mental illness, now believed to be porphyria, worsened in old age.

Charlotte had become the fond grandmother of Princess Charlotte of Wales, and it was a great blow to her when this granddaughter died in childbirth. A year after her granddaughter Charlotte's death, the Queen died seated in a small armchair holding the hand of her eldest son. She died at Kew Palace, their family home in Surrey, and was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

The medium-large Southern US city of Charlotte, North Carolina was named for her by James K. Polk's uncle Thomas Polk fairly early in America's history. Also, another city named for her is Charlottetown, the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, Queen's College, New Brunswick, New Jersey (now Rutgers University), and Queens College , Charlotte, North Carolina are also named for her.

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Last updated: 05-07-2005 17:55:39
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04