Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Royal Joke

Poor Mrs Fitzherbert.  Aside from the pain of being attached to the Prince of Wales, the unfortunate woman also seemed to suffer from a deficiency in brains by most accounts...which is likely how she got stuck with the prince to begin with.

Even though the Prince refused to socialise with people who refused to invite his illegal wife to their events, he and his family weren't entirely kind to Maria Fitzherbert Hanover.  Court gossip, Lady Mary Coke's letter tellsof one such occasion that left Maria publicly mortified.  While taking a walk with some of her friends and her husband in Windsor, enjoying the fresh air by the water's edge.  The Duke of Cumberland (the prince's uncle) approached Maria, and making polite conversation, asked her if she could swim.  When she responded that she 'thought she could,' he swiftly pushed her into the water.  Being that this was 1789, you can only imagine the layers upon layers of soaking wet muslin and delicate little shoes that were ruined in this display of 'humour.'  While poor Maria cried, the Duchess of Cumberland (and presumably, her hilarious husband) burst into laughter.  Mrs Fitzherbert wasn't injured, but I am sure her ego surely was.  Lady Mary Coke seemed to have little sympathy for her story's subject either, stating the whole thing was brought about 'by the company she is so desirous of keeping.'

2 comments:

  1. I think it is harsh to say she was deficient in brains. Her letters show her as intelligent and feisty. I think of her as vulnerable and soft-hearted though.

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    1. You're right, I'm being a bit harsh. I agree that she was vulnerable and soft-hearted and that was why she struggled in the social circle she found herself in. I find her to be foolish in her earlier years and much more savvy in her later years...but then again, isn't that what happens to all of us :)

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