Friday, July 22, 2022

A royal marriage - 1816 The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

July 22, 1816

Princess Mary, the fourth daughter (and 11th child) of King George III and Queen Charlotte, was married today to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

The bride and groom, both 40 years old, are first cousins.  Prince William Frederick is the son of the late Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and Maria Walpole.   Many assumed that the Duke had remained single in order to be a possible candidate for Princess Charlotte of Wales, the heiress presumptive, and the daughter of the Prince Regent, Princess Mary's eldest brother.

Princess Charlotte was married on May 2, 1816 to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld.

The marriage between Princess Mary and the Duke of Gloucester is said to be, according to the Times,  "a union among the Royal Family more calculated to produce happiness to the parties, and satisfaction to the nation."

The Duke of Gloucester is a very "public character," and is a "well-known liberal patron" said to be privately benevolent.  Princess Mary is not as well known outside the "majestic circle."  She has been a "constant and active benefactress of the poor, relieving the wants of the distressed and superintending the education of the ignorant."

The marriage was delayed briefly due to the absence of the bride's brother, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.   The day was not fixed until last Wednesday, and the "cards of invitation" were issued by the Lord Chamberlain's office on Friday.

The invited guests were the same as Princess Charlotte's wedding, with a few exceptions.   Members of the Royal Family were present, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Orléans, the Duchess of Orléan's sister, the Duke de Bourbon and "other foreigners of distinction."

A temporary altar "erected close to the temporary throne" was set up in the grand saloon at the Queen's palace.  Crimson velvet and gold lace hangings were put in place, along with a costly massive communion plate.  The Times described this  a "very magnificent spectacle."

Earlier today, at noon, the Duke of Gloucester "paid a morning visit" to his bride-to-be, who was at the Queen's Palace with her Royal Mother and her sisters, Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth.   The Duke returned to Gloucester House where he "dined privately" at 5.p.m.

The ceremonies began at 7 p.m. when a guard of honour marched into the court yard at the Queen's Palace, which was "brilliantly illuminated."  Members of the Royal Family were "received with the usual military honours with the band playing "God Save the Queen."

Princess Sophia of Gloucester, the groom's sister, "went in state, with her servants in new liveries."   At 8:23 p.m. the Duke of Gloucester, wearing the uniform of a Field Marshal and wore the Order of the Garter, arrived "in state n two carriages."  

The Duke and Duchess of York followed immediately, and the Prince Regent arrived at 8:30, accompanied by the Duke of Clarence.  The Prince Regent did not have his "usual train of Life Guards."   Fifteen minutes later, Prince Leopold arrived with his suite, and the marriage ceremony began.

Queen Charlotte took her place at the left side of the altar, sitting in a state chair.  The Princesses Augusta and Elizabeth, the Duchess of York, and Princess Sophia of Gloucester set to the left of the Queen.  The Prince Regent and his brothers were on the right side of the altar.

The Lord Chamberlain announced the Duke of Gloucester, and the Duke of Cambridge introduced Princess Mary, and then presented her to the Prince Regent who gave her away in marriage.

The princess was "dressed with her most beautiful simplicity." She did not wear any feathers, but a "bandeau of white roses fastened together by light sprigs of pearls."   She wore a necklace "ornamented with a brilliant fringe necklace; her arms with bracelets of brilliants formed into flowers."     Her appearance was said to be "very lovely."

The ceremony, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and assisted by the Bishop of London, was over by 9:15.    After greeting their guests, the newlyweds retired with the rest of the Royal Family, to Queen Charlotte's private apartments.  The bride changed her from her wedding gown into a "travelling dress of white satin pelisse and bonnet," and emerged on the arm of her brother, the Prince Regent and followed by the Duke of Cambridge.  They escorted their sister to a "travelling chaise at the side door of the Palace," where the royal brothers "embraced the Duke of Gloucester" who joined his new wife in the carriage.  After "receiving an affection embrace" from the Prince Regent and the Duke of Cambridge,  the bride and groom drove off to their new home, Bagshot Park, to the "huzzas of immense multitude."

Earlier today,  the Duke of Gloucester was granted the style of Royal Highness by the Prince Regent by an Order in Council.   The Duke had the rank of His Highness.

"In the name and on the behalf of His Majesty.
George PR
George the third etc. To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting: Our Will and Pleasure  is and We do hereby declare and ordain that from and after the date of this Our Warrant, Our Dear Nephew William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Earl of Connaught, Knight of the  Most Noble Order of the Garter &c. son of our late Brother, His Royal Higness William Henry Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Earl of Connaught etc shall be styled, entitled and called, "His Royal Highness" in addition to and before all other styles, titles, and appellaton which to Him now do, or at any time hereafter may belong or appertain, in all Deeds, Records, Instruments or Documents whatsoever wherein he may at any time hereafter be named or described, and we do hereby authorize and empower Our said Dear Nephew, henceforth at all time to assume and have, and to be called and and named by the Style Title and Appellation of "His Royal Highness" accordingly.

Given at Our Court at Carlton House the 22nd day of July 1816 in the 56th year of our Reign."

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