Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A daughter for the Kents

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May 24, 1819

The Duchess of Kent gave birth to a daughter today at Kensington Palace.  The infant princess is the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.

The first announcement of the birth was made on May 25:
"The Duchess of Kent we are happy to say continues as well as can be expected in every respect," reported the Times.   An official bulletin was issued on May 25:  "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent has an excellent night, and the Royal infant continues to do well."

The Times further reports that "Her Royal Highness intends sucking the infant Princess."

On May 26, the following bulletin was released: "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent has had a slight attack of fever yesterday evening; but has, however, a tolerably good night, and is this morning as well as can be expected.  The Royal infant continues to do well."   A second bulletin was issued in the afternoon: "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent's fever has greatly subsided since morning, and the Duchess is now advancing satisfactorily in her convalescence.  The Royal infant continues to do well."

The "Prince Regent, and other branches of the Royal Family, sent to make inquiries."

On May 27, it was reported "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent has had a very good night, and is now free from fever.  The Royal infant continues to do well."    The Duchess of Kent also received a visitor that day from the Duchess of Glocester (which is how Gloucester was spelled in the Times in 1819.)

"Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent and the Royal infant continue to do well," was the report on May 29.  This was reiterated by the bulletin on the 30th:  "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Lent and the Infant Princess continue in the same state as in yesterday's report."

On June 2, the Duchess' doctors reported "Her Royal is advancing rapidly in recovering.  The Royal Infant continues to do well."

The Infant princess was christened in a private ceremony on June 24, 1819, according to the Times.  The "royal gold font was removed from the Tower of London, and was fitted up in the grand saloon with crimson velvet coverings, from the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace." The ceremony took place at Kensington Palace. 

Members of the Royal Family, and other guests, arrived at the palace shortly after three p.m.  The Prince Regent, attended by Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, was "received by the Duke of Kent, who conducted him into the grand saloon."  The ceremony began shortly after the arrival of the Prince Regent.  The ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and assisted by the Bishop of  London.

The "Infant Princess was named Alexandrina Victoria."  The princess' sponsors were HRH The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Alexander of all the Russias (the Duke of York stood as proxy), the Queen Dowager of Württemberg (represented by HRH Princess Augusta); and HSH the Duchess Dowager of Coburg, who was represented by proxy, by the Duchess of Glocester. 

The proceedings were registered by the Bishop of London in the Register book of the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.   The witnesses to the ceremony included the Prince Regent, the Duke of York,  the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Princess Augusta, the Duchess of York, the Duchess of Glocester, the Princess Sophia Mathilde of Glocester,  HRH the Prince Leopold, HSH Princess Feodore of Leiningen, and others.

After the ceremony, "the company partook of some refreshments in the north vestibule."

In the evening, the "Duke and Duchess had a numerous and splendid party to dinner, to celebrate the joyful event."   The company included the Princess Augusta, the Duke of York, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince Leopold.

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