Princess Amelia of Great Britain

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Her Highness Princess Amelia of Hanover was born at Herrenhausen Palace in the Electorate of Hanover, now in Lower Saxony, Germany, on June 10, 1711. Christened Amalia Sophia Eleanora, she was known in the family as Emily. At the time of her birth, her father (the future King George II of Great Britain) was the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Her mother was Caroline of Ansbach,  the eldest of the three children of Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and his second wife Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach. Her paternal grandfather (the future King George I of Great Britain) was the Elector of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

Amelia was the third of eight children and the second of her parents’ five daughters. She had seven siblings:

Frederick, Prince of Wales, playing the cello, Anne, Princess Royal at the harpsichord, Princess Caroline playing the mandora and Princess Amelia reading; Credit – Wikipedia

Amelia’s great-grandmother, Sophia, Electress of Hanover was the heiress presumptive to Queen Anne of Great Britain in accordance with the Act of Settlement 1701, but Sophia died two months before Queen Anne died. Upon Queen Anne’s death on August 1, 1714, Amelia’s grandfather succeeded to the British throne as King George I of Great Britain and her father became the heir apparent to the British throne and was created Prince of Wales the following month. Amelia was then styled Her Royal Highness Princess Amelia of Great Britain. Three-year-old Amelia along with her elder sister Anne and her younger sister Caroline, accompanied their mother to England where they settled in the new home, apartments in St. James’ Palace in London.

The three elder daughters of King George II: Anne, Amelia, and Caroline; Credit – Wikipedia

Amelia’s parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, had a disagreement over the choice of godparents for the short-lived son George William, born in 1717. The disagreement grew out of proportion, and Amelia’s father George was placed under arrest. The result was that her parents George and Caroline were exiled from St. James’ Palace. They moved into Leicester House in Leicester Square, London which became their chief residence for the rest of King George I’s reign. However, their children were kept at St. James’ Palace in the custody of their grandfather. Caroline acted as a mediator for her husband, and in cooperation with Prime Minister Robert Walpole, she finally reconciled King George I and his son.

Amelia’s paternal aunt, Sophia Dorothea of ​​Hanover, Queen of Prussia, wanted Amelia to marry her eldest son, the future King Friedrich II of Prussia (the Great). However, Sophia Dorothea’s husband King Friedrich Wilhelm I did not support the idea and insisted his son marry Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern. Amelia never did marry.

In 1727, Amelia’s grandfather died and her father succeeded to the British throne as King George II. After the death of her mother in 1737, Amelia became the constant companion to her father. She also acted as hostess for her unmarried brother Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, who had a career in the Royal Army, whenever he was in England. Amelia followed her brother’s military campaigns and was always quite worried about him when he was at the front.

In 1751, Princess Amelia became the ranger of Richmond Park. According to her instructions, only family members and a few close friends were allowed into the park. This caused a great uproar from the public who were accustomed to using the park. In 1758, a local brewer John Lewis was banned from the park and decided to take the case to court and won. Disgusted, Amelia resigned her position as the ranger of Richmond Park.

Plaque to John Lewis, the Richmond brewer who secured public rights of access to the park in 1758; Credit – By Spudgun67 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46307376

On October 25, 1760, King George II woke up early at Kensington Palace and had his usual cup of chocolate. He asked about the direction of the wind as he was anxious about receiving his overseas mail, and then he entered his water closet. A few minutes later, his valet heard a crash and found George lying on the floor. He was put into bed and asked for his favorite daughter Princess Amelia, but he died before the princess reached him. Amelia hurried to her father’s rooms and, not realizing he was already dead, she put her head close to his head to hear what he had to say. Because she was quite deaf, Amelia did not realize her father was dead.

Amelia was last surviving child of her parents and lived for the first twenty-six years of the reign of her nephew King George III whose father Frederick, Prince of Wales had predeceased his father King George II. Because of her deafness, Amelia retired from court life. She lived in a home in Cavendish Square when in London. In 1761, Amelia bought Gunnersbury Park, a country estate in the London Borough of Hounslow where she was famous for her parties and political intrigues.

Gunnersbury House around 1750; Credit – Wikipedia

In her later years, Amelia enjoyed taking the waters, playing cards and engaging in gossip at Bath. Amelia was always fond of horses and dogs and every morning she paid a visit to the stables to see her horses. She donated generously to charity and was a wonderful great-aunt to the children of King George III, regularly inviting them to Gunnersbury Park.

In October 1786, Amelia knew she was dying and she put her affairs in order and made arrangements to provide for her servants. She left nothing to her relatives in England, instead, she left her estate to her three Hesse-Kassel nephews, the children of her sister Princess Mary. Princess Amelia Sophie died at the age of 75, on October 31, 1786, at her home in Cavendish Square. After her death, a pendant was found around her neck with a miniature portrait of her would-be husband, Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia who became King Friedrich I of Prussia (the Great). Princess Amelia was buried in the Hanover vault below the central aisle of Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey in London. An inscription was carved in the black and white pavement in 1866 reads Amelia Sophia Eleonora 2 DA. of K.GEO. II 1786.

Amelia Island, an island in the Sea Islands chain that stretches along the East Coast of the United States from South Carolina to Florida and Amelia County in Virginia, United States are named for Princess Amelia.

Works Cited

  • De.wikipedia.org.Amelia Sophie von Großbritannien, Irland und Hannover. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Sophie_von_Gro%C3%9Fbritannien,_Irland_und_Hannover [Accessed 11 Jul. 2019].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Princess Amelia of Great Britain. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Amelia_of_Great_Britain [Accessed 11 Jul. 2019].
  • Van Der Kiste, John. The Georgian Princesses. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing, 2000. Print.
  • Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

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