The sixth child and a sibling to Princess Sophia, HRH Princess Augusta was born on this day. Patronage tradition was still existent in the olden days. According to a flyer held by V&A Archives, HRH was a patron of L. Bertolotto’s flea circus when she was considered an Adult.
The King, George III was upset by the Doctor’s remarks when he was presiding the birth of her daughter, Augusta on November 8, 1768. According to a reliable source, the doctor said, “whoever sees those lovely Princes above stairs must be glad to have another.” In response to these remarks, the King said, ‘’Whoever sees that lovely child the Princess Royal above stairs must not wish to have the fellow to her.’’
HRH Princess Augusta was christened by the same Archbishop who christened her sister Sophia, Fredrick Cornwallis on December 6, 1768, at St James Palace. Augusta had three god parents too.
The infant’s beauty attracted many. Sources state that it was the Queens and the King’s delight that the baby was a pretty girl and furthermore, Lady Mary Coke said, “The most beautiful infant I ever saw.”
Augusta was taught by many well-educated governesses. Martha Goldsworthy, also known as “Gouly”, became the new head of the princesses’ education. Like Princess Sophia, Augusta learnt English, Music, French, German, Geography, Dancing and Arts under the supervision of Governess Lady Charlotte Finch.
As mentioned in my previous blog on Princess Sophia, the princesses were overly protected by their mother, Queen Charlotte. They only came into contact with people in the palace. This happened after their father’s mental illness.
Princess Augusta’s behaviour was balanced. She was also known to be overly shy because she stammered in front of people she wasn’t familiar with. Her mother was very much aware of her daughter’s lack of confidence, so she did not tell Augusta about her debut at the King’s birthday celebrations until two days before the D-day in the year 1782.
As the last sibling in a family of girls and boys, Augusta finally became an elder sister to Amelia, the seventh child of the Royal couple.
Something out of the ordinary happened. Augusta along with Charlotte and George stood in as godparents during their last born sister’s christening. The princesses had lost two of their brothers long before the birth of Amelia. HRH did not dwell much on their deaths as much as her father George III did but that doesn’t mean that it did not affect her in any way.
In 1783, before the birth of her Amelia, Augusta and her siblings were very distraught by the portraits of their two brothers during an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Sources say that the siblings broke down in tears in front of people present at the exhibition.
Princess Augusta had a special bond with her sister Elizabeth and she also adored her brothers Augustus and Ernest.
In July 1783, Princess Augusta and Princess Royal were given their lady-in-waiting. Sources say that Princess Augusta was also fond of her brother William. They wrote to each other when he was in military training in Hanover. Her elder brother sent her gifts. Queen Charlotte discouraged it because her Majesty believed the writing took up Augusta’s valuable time. She believed it interfered with the studies.
The princesses’ dressing was rather plain, but the Queen’s expenses for their clothes was enormous, but she tried her very best to keep costs down just within the allowances she received. Their Royal Highnesses constantly needed trimmings, fans, dresses so quarterly of their expense was estimated between £1800 – £ 2000 and other household expenses added to that.
Augusta and her sister Charlotte reached an age considered to be suitable for marriage. In the same year 1785, Prince Frederick VI, remember King Frederick VI of Denmark? Declared his interest to marry a British princess to King George III. He expressed interest in Augusta. But the King declined. He gave reasons that his younger sister experienced horrible treatment by her husband King Christian VII. In conclusion, he said he would never send any of his daughters to the Danish court.
Proposals did not stop there. Princess Augusta received another proposal from Prince Frederick Adolf of Sweden even without the approval of the Swedish royal house, but King George III seemed unwilling to allow his daughters to marry.
A source claims that Princess Augusta was heard giving remarks to a friend and said, “I was ashamed to hear myself called Princess Augusta, and never could persuade myself that I was so, as long as any of the Stuart family were alive; but after the death of Cardinal York, I felt myself to be really Princess Augusta.”
HRH Princess Augusta died on September 22, 1840, at Clarence House, London. She was buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on October 2, after lying in state at Frogmore.