And The Regent Takes A Wife–or Two

George Augustus Frederick, (1762–1830), better known as the Prince Regent during the illness of his father, King George III, was early on recognized as having a good deal of charm, wit, and no lack of intelligence. So why did he accept a bride that nearly made him ill just to look upon, when neither national emergency or political expediency demanded the marriage? The union was devoid of even the smallest natural sympathies that should exist between a husband and wife, almost from the first day. Furthermore, his dislike of the Princess Caroline–his bride-to-be–was in effect established before the wedding ceremony.

Which begs the question: Why did he do it?

The answer is no mystery in one sense: He was in enormous debt (some say to the tune of what would amount to nearly 1.7 million dollars in today’s money) and the only way to cajole Parliament into–once again–bailing him out, was to agree to wed a politically correct bride. (ie., for a legitimate heir.) The King chose the lady: a royal niece of Brunswick, and the prince, grateful for his freedom from debt, accepted the choice sight unseen. And this is where the mystery begins. Why on earth would the fastidious prince, privileged from birth, chafing at the bit of of his father’s reign (personally, if not politically*) agree to such an important decision without meeting his future would-be bride?

He knew himself to have extraordinary sensibilities concerning everything that surrounded him: He was a man of great taste for luxuries, the exotic, the sublime. He collected art, plate, furniture, clothing, military uniforms, and more. He loved things beautiful and elegant, from his silken drawers to his horses–and Princess Caroline was neither. His marriage to Maria Fitzherbert earlier on was evidence of a passionate, strong-willed nature when it came to getting what he wanted. (He would have Mrs. Fitz, you see, though he was forbidden to marry a Catholic by law; And Mrs. Fitz would not have him, unless he came as a husband. So he married her. It was a secretive, illegal ceremony which is why he was later “free” to marry the Protestant princess Caroline. But it showed his strong tendency to please himself–devil may care what the consequences.)

And yet, we have him later going as a lamb to the slaughter in the matter of his very real and legal marriage to his cousin. In the one instance when it would truly have behooved the prince to oppose his father–and only in his choice of bride, not the matter of the marriage–he is as silent as the grave, officially. He expressed private doubts and had to swallow a quick glass of some potent libation (brandy, I think) after meeting the future Princess of Wales–but yet he did it. He married her. He threw caution to the wind, betrayed his common-law wife and worse, his own intuition and nature–and went ahead with the wedding.

All this–just to escape debt?

If this were so, he would have no doubt been more careful in future to avoid the same predicament; Yet the truth is, he was guilty of unbridled spending throughout his lifetime. Parliament increased his income numerous times, but it made no difference: he always far outspent whatever they allowed him, which put him in a position of having to please the Peers yet again to get his debts paid.

One might suggest that his relationship with Mrs. Fitz had paled by now, and so he didn’t care who he married. He was, after all, the heir to the throne and royalty was expected to sacrifice personal desire for the interests of the country. Further, his mistresses were usually older married women themselves–nothing to save himself for, there. And yet he did precious little “sacrificing” of other pleasures or luxuries, and seldom put popular opinion above his own preferences. And he was not known to bemoan the fate that had cast him as prince, necessitating the marriage. No, it was not patriotism or duty, for these noble ends had been earlier cast aside by him, at least in the eyes of King and country.**

Was it to please the King?

Unlikely. The prince and his father (like the previous royal Georges) did not enjoy a good relationship. They were often at odds, and the King openly disliked his eldest son; Additionally, the prince made no remarks (that have been preserved) to support the supposition. In the final analysis, it eludes me why this charismatic, intelligent man allowed his wife–and in effect, his life–to be frivolously decided for him.

Notes: * There was a political departure from the King that the prince kept to only until his regency, as evidenced by his friendship with the Whigs–particularly the notorious Charles James Fox.

**A different discussion, which I will address in a future article.

Make Advent Real – Here’s How

This year, Sunday, Dec. 2nd is the first Sunday of Advent. Raising your family’s consciousness regarding Advent is a good way to remind them of the spirituality of this very commercial holiday season.

The simplest way to do this is to use a pre-made Advent calendar. These range from the inexpensive card-stock “open the windows” type to beautiful cloth calendars with pockets. (Some of the card-stock calendars come with a little piece of chocolate behind each window, but they’re not practical for larger families.)

One year, I baked up little cut-out cookies and constructed my own calendar using simple plastic snack bags (like sandwich bags, only smaller) and pinned them (use safety pins) in calendar fashion, to a felt background. I hung the finished “calendar” from a wooden dowel. (Pin the felt around the dowel–very simple.) Each day’s bag held four cookies–one for each child, as I only had four, then–and was numbered on the outside with a permanent marker. (You could also use festive stickers to make it prettier. Or, use icing to write the number directly onto the cookies before assembling your calendar.)

Our calendar wouldn’t have won any “Good Housekeeping” awards for beauty, but oh, the children loved it! Since it was a visual reminder as well as a gustatory delight, it had a double impact. Add to that a simple daily reading from scripture or an appropriate book of your choice, and you have a wonderful family tradition that brings meaning to all the bustle and busyness of the season.

Ultimately, it isn’t the gifts on Christmas Day or the pretty tree in your living room that is soul-satisfying for either you or your family. Oh, they play an important part in our hearts and should be continued. But it is the birth of Christ and what that meant for the world that brings lasting contentment, long after the tree is taken down and the gifts have been used or outgrown.

Since I’ve written a book about Christmas during the Regency, here’s a little historical perspective on the season:

A Regency Advent

During the Regency, church-going families would have been well aware of Advent. In fact, for most average people (not upper-class) the season began the week before Advent on the day that became known as Stir-Up Sunday. The young lord of the manor may have been oblivious, but the cook down in the kitchens was certainly aware–as were great numbers of the servant class.

“Housekeepers or cooks, mindful of Christmas approaching, would start their Christmas pudding now. Poorer families had often been contributing to a “pudding club” for months in anticipation of being ready to afford the important dinner course.” “Stir-Up Sunday” became the unofficial start to the Christmas season.” How the day got its name will surprise you: “Traditionally Christmas puddings and cakes had to be prepared by the Sunday before Advent, as they were thought to improve upon keeping. Oddly enough, the day became known as “Stir Up Sunday” not because of the stirring done to prepare the puddings, but because of the church reading from the Book of Common Prayer for that day which began : “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…”

Gurgaon Real Estate – Residential Properties India

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The city also offers a wide range of residential properties for middle class segment. DLF has recently launched “New Town Heights” and Vatika has launched “Vatika India Next” for the mid budget home buyers. The independent houses and higher end segments like villas, condominiums and penthouses cater to the rich and famous in the corporate world and expatriate clients. Due to its proximity to south Delhi and connectivity to the international airport Gurgaon has become world class real estate destination for investors of India and abroad.

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Today people consider residential property in Gurgaon as a valuable investment since Gurgaon is fast developing in the corporate world. Having own residential property in Gurgaon is having something worthy.