George was not assigned what we would nowadays consider the 'traditional' Label for the first son of a Prince of Wales, namely three-points with a central St George's Cross, as the Hanoverians seem to have considered this the 'traditional' Label for a second son. George's uncle William, Duke of Cumberland, had been assigned just that Label back in 1727 when his Father had ascended the Throne and he had become the son of a sovereign. William was still alive in 1749.
George's Father was HRH Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales who died suddenly in 1751 and who will be the subject of a subsequent Blog. Briefly, Prince George was HRH Duke of Edinburgh, inheriting his Father's Dukedom. As George was not the first son of the Sovereign he could not inherit the Dukedom of Cornwall but three weeks after Frederick's death King George II created his Grandson Prince of Wales and so took on the plain label of three points in white and the plain red Inescutcheon of an heir to the Hanoverian titles.
Although George changed titles, he did not change rank. If he did use the single arched Crown of an Heir Apparent as no one could change the order of succession once Frederick had died, he was still only the grandchild of a sovereign. That would be a debate which would only be entered into again if the matter, God forbid, arose again
The first Quarter showed the impaled Arms of the three Lions of England and the red Lion within a Double Tressure of Scotland which represented the Acts of Union of 1707 and the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. The three Fleurs-de-Lys of France had been 'relegated' to the second Quarter at the same time as there had been no claim to French land since the Tudor Dynasty and the Treaty of Troyes in 1564. The Harp of Ireland was still in the third Quarter as Ireland had technically been in a personal union with the English Crown since the Irish Parliament had passed the Crown of Ireland Act in 1542, proclaiming King Henry VIII to be King of Ireland. As mentioned, the then Electorate/Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg made up the fourth Quarter as it had been introduced in 1714 with the accession of HM King George I as the first monarch of the Hanoverian Dynasty.
The Arms of Hanover were largely territorial, too.
I) Gules two lions passant guardant Or (Brunswick), II) Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure (Lüneburg), III) Gules a horse courant Argent (Westphalia), overall an escutcheon Gules charged with the crown of Charlemagne Or (for the dignity of Archtreasurer of the Holy Roman Empire)
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, which settled issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. King George III was therefore restored to his Hanoverian territories but as King now. This was reflected in the Coat of Arms of the joint realms with the 'upgrading' of the Electoral Bonnet on top of the Inescutcheon to a Continental Royal Crown.
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
(HM Queen Charlotte)
Charlotte did more than her duty of providing an heir and a spare by giving birth to 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. More than that, though, George and Charlotte began to foster the idea of a Royal Family and enjoyed a certain domesticity which their granddaughter Victoria would carry on and develop. However, they could not exactly escape the curse of the Hanovers, especially with their eldest son, George, with whom Charlotte had a difficult relationship.
Charlotte was a patron of the arts, being a passionate admirer of Handel, and an amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens; the South African flower, the Bird of Paradise, was named Strelitzia reginae in her honour.
She died in 1818. It is understood that her husband, who outlived her by just over a year, was not aware of her death.
Her Coat of Arms were simply those of her Father and her Husband impaled together. The format shown is from 1816 when she became Queen of Hanover.
Unless this was a mistake at the time, Charlotte's funeral Hatchment shows that she was entitled or at least used the full Inescutcheon of an Archtreasurer to the Holy Roman Empire, namely the red Inescutcheon with the gold representation of Charlemagne's Crown. She also evidently continued to show it until her death.
The photograph to the right shows Charlotte's Hatchment which was rescued from a skip and returned to Kew Palace where she died.
A Hatchment is a painting of a person's Coat of Arms on a diamond of wood which is usually displayed at their funeral. As well as the Arms being significant, the background of the Hatchment can be informative, too. Here, Charlotte's is divided white and black. The white half to the left signifies that her husband was still alive. at the time of her death.
HRH The Prince George, Prince of Wales and Prince Regent
(HM King George IV)
As such, he was also automatically entitled to the plain white 3-pointed Label of a Prince of Wales but was not created a Knight of the Garter until 3 years later. Whilst the Acts of Union of 1800 did change his Coat of Arms as of 1st January 1801, neither the formation of the Kingdom of Hanover nor his appointment as Prince Regent in 1811 affected his Coat of Arms as only his Father could use the Electoral Bonnet and, subsequently, the Crown.
One thing to observe, though, is the Inescutcheon in the Hanoverian Arms which is plain red. The Elector of Hanover under the Holy Roman Empire was entitled to an Inescutcheon as an augmentation to his Coat of Arms - a representation of Charlemagne's Crown on a red Shield for the Archtreasurer. The Heir was entitled to a plain red Shield.
The Prince took on his Father's Coat of Arms when he ascended the Throne in 1820.
In 1795, George famously, or 'infamously', married his cousin Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfebüttel. Their tempestuous marriage has already been mentioned in the Blog about their only child, Princess Charlotte Augusta.
They effectively separated not long after their wedding night. George sought a divorce which Caroline refused. When George became King, Caroline returned from exile to assert her claims as Queen but George tried to divorce her by introducing the Pains and Penalties Bill through Parliament. However, as George and the Bill were so unpopular and Caroline so popular with the people, the Bill was withdrawn by the Government.
Caroline was barred from the Coronation in 1821 and was refused entry to Westminster Abbey on a number of occasions. She died 3 weeks later.
Note that the first two Quarterings of Caroline's Arms are Lüneburg and Brunswick, the same as the Hanoverian Arms. Her Father was Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg and came from a branch of the same Welf/Guelf family as the Hanoverians. From the time of the German Unification in the 1870s to shortly before the First World War there were reluctant discussions about the then ex-King of Hanover succeeding to this Dukedom. This was finally granted in November 1913 but became academic with the German revolutions of 1918 when the Free State of Brunswick was founded within the Weimar Republic.
Also, there is a certain symmetry (traditional within German heraldry) with the Quarterings at the bottom of the Shield arranged to complement each other in that the stag's antlers (or Attires), the red of Regenstein and the black of Blankenburg, either side of the black stag of Klettenburg, are tilted in opposite directions whereas, when they are displayed separately, they are tilted in the same direction. It is the red Attires of Regenstein which have been turned round.
HRH The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
At the end of the Thirty Years' War, the Peace of Westphalia (1648) had awarded the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück alternately to a Catholic bishop and to a cadet branch of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Osnabrück became a form of gift with land and income. As such, Frederick was entitled to an Inescutcheon of the Shield of the Bishopric of Osnabrück in place of his Father's red and gold Inescutcheon. The shield was white with a red wheel.
Osnabrück was annexed to Hanover in 1803. Frederick had ceased to be Prince-Bishop the year before.
He suffered at the hands of one of his mistresses, Mary Anne Clarke, who seriously compromised him. Frederick resigned as Commander-in-Chief in 1809 only to be exonerated of any personal involvement and was restored two years later.
Frederick married his cousin Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia in 1791 but it was not a happy marriage and the couple soon parted. He is not known to have had any children, not by any of his mistresses let alone his wife. Although he became Heir Presumptive on the succession of his elder brother George in 1820, Frederick died in 1827 and did not contribute to the race for an heir.
Frederick was assigned a Label of three Points with a central red St George's Cross, which makes one wonder what would have happened if his niece, Charlotte Augusta, had been male. As previously mentioned, this Label does not seem to have been seen as the traditional Label for the eldest son of a Prince of Wales in those days.
HRH The Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
(HM King William IV)
At the time of his death William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. Late in life, as part of the race for an heir after Princes Charlotte Augusta died in childbirth, he married and apparently remained faithful to the young princess who would become Queen Adelaide.
As such, William was succeeded in the United Kingdom by his niece Victoria and in Hanover by his younger surviving brother Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland because the succession in Hanover was regulated by Salic Law which prevented women succeeding to the Throne.
In 1781 William was assigned a completely new Label - 3 Points with 2 blue Anchors and a central red St George's Cross. His was the first to carry an Anchor, presumably to represent his career in the navy. His Label was subsequently assigned to another royal career navy man, Queen Victoria's second son, HRH The Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, later Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as mentioned in this previous Blog. He wasn't created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews and Earl of Munster until 1789.
Adelaide was a princess from another minor German state - Saxe-Meiningen - to which she was briefly heir until the birth of her brother Bernhard. Although the State was known for its liberalism, Adelaide was thought of as pious, even boring and prudish, especially in comparison with the British Court.
William went ahead with the marriage, in a joint ceremony with his younger brother Edward, Duke of Kent, and Adelaide gave him much needed stability and calmed his more Hanoverian tempers and ways.
Whilst William could not see the purpose of his own Coronation, especially following the crippling extravagances of his elder brother, Adelaide was praised for her dignity.
Not in the greatest of health and ever in search of better climates, Adelaide nevertheless survived her husband by 12 years as the first Queen Dowager for over 100 years. Her greatest legacy is the fact that the capital city of the State of South Australia is named after her.
Again, as a wife, Adelaide's Coat of Arms are those of her Husband (firstly as Royal Duke and then as King) and her Father impaled together.
HRH The Princess Charlotte, Princess Royal
(HM The Queen of Württemberg)
Her Coat of Arms have been covered in a previous Blog as Queen Victoria largely repeated the Labels of King George III's children for her own children. Charlotte's Label of a red Rose between two St George's Crosses was not only later assigned to Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, HRH The Princess Victoria, also Princess Royal, but to the present Queen when she was HRH The Princess Elizabeth.
As mentioned in the previous Blog, Charlotte's is the only Coat of Arms of her generation shown with the pre-1801 Royal Arms, showing Hanover in the fourth Quarter. The Princess Royal appears to be the only Daughter of King George III whose Label was not assigned in 1789. It became academic, however, in 1797 when she married. All of her sisters either married after 1801 and therefore the post-1801 Arms are relevant, or remained unmarried.
HRH The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
He died of pneumonia in 1820, six days before his ageing, ill father and 17 years before he could have become king himself. The baby Alexandrina Victoria was not even a year old.
Edward was assigned a Label of three Points, the centre charged with a St George's Cross and the two outer Points each carrying a blue Fleur-de-Lys. It is hardly surprising, though maybe only by happy coincidence, that when Queen Victoria came to assign a Label to her next son, HRH The Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the next son of King George III to emulate was none other than Queen Victoria's own Father, the Duke of Kent.
In the race for an heir, Edward had abandonned his mistresses, mainly Madame de Sainte-Laurent, and married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, widow of Charles, Prince of Leiningen and, ironically, sister of Prince Leopold, in his turn, widower of Princess Charlotte Augusta, Edward's niece. They married at Kew in a joint ceremony with Edward's brother William.
After Edward's death, Victoria stayed on in England with their baby daughter, betting on Edward's surviving elder brothers not providing an heir themselves. Through feuds and rumours of an affair with her private secretary John Conroy, the mother survived to see the daughter succeed to the Throne but was then, in her turn, dismissed until her first grandchild, also Victoria, was born.
HRH The Princess Augusta
Like several of her sisters, Augusta embarked on a romance, in her case with Anglo-Irish army officer Brent Spencer who later became equerry to her Father. There are rumours that Augusta approached the Prince Regent to ask for consent to marry him, but there is no evidence that they did marry unless it was in private.
As of 1789, as a daughter of the sovereign, Augusta Sophia was assigned a Label argent of three Points, the centre Point bearing a red Rose , the two outer Points with a single Ermine Spot. This same Label was subsequently assigned to Queen Victoria's second daughter, Alice, after which an Ermine Spot has never been used again.
HRH The Princess Elizabeth
(HRH The Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg)
She is rumoured to have married a certain George Ramus in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act (as had a number of her brothers, anyway) and also to have given birth to a daughter, Eliza. But Elizabeth escaped the rigours of the British Court by marrying a little-known German Prince, Frederick of Hesse-Homburg in 1814, who later succeeded his father as Landgrave in 1820.
Elizabeth was also assigned a Label in 1789. Hers was a central St George's Cross between two red Roses which was later assigned to Queen Victoria's next daughter Helena.
HRH The Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale
(HM King Ernst August of Hannover)
Ernest was born in England but was sent to Hanover in his adolescence for his education and military training. While serving with Hanoverian forces near Tournai against Revolutionary France, he received a disfiguring facial wound. In 1799 he was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale.
Although his marriage in 1815 to his twice-widowed cousin Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz met with the disapproval of his mother, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, it proved a happy one. When Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales died in childbirth, Ernest was the senior son to be both married and not estranged from his wife. This gave him some prospect of succeeding to the British throne. However, both of his unmarried elder brothers married quickly and the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, pipped Ernest Augustus to the position as British Monarch, although it was rumoured that Ernest intended to murder her and take the throne himself.
Ernest was an active member of the House of Lords, where he maintained an extremely conservative voting record. There were persistent allegations (reportedly spread by his political foes) that he had murdered his valet and had fathered a son by his sister, Princess Sophia. (You can gather that he wasn't very much liked.)
When King William IV died on 20 June 1837, Ernest acceded to the Hanoverian throne. Becoming Hanover's first resident ruler since George I, he had a generally successful fourteen-year reign.
As a British Prince, Ernest was assigned a Label which was the reverse of his next elder brother Edward, namely a central blue Fleur-de-Lys between two St George's Crosses. This Label was not assigned to any of Queen Victoria's children, perhaps not necessarily because Ernest Augustus was not liked, but because his descendants were still alive and still exist to this day.
As King of Hanover he simply carried on with the same Coat of Arms as his predecessor King William apart from converting to a Continental Crown on top and dropping the Crown from the central Inescutcheon. He maintained the British Quarterings as he was still a British Prince and, until the birth of Queen Victoria's children, was Heir Presumptive to the British Throne.
Strangely, though, he kept the British Supporters too, especially the Unicorn of Scotland.
The Hanoverian Motto was SUSCIPERE ET FINIRE which means 'Support and Finish' or 'Undertake and Accomplish'.
You may notice that the Arms bear a three-Pointed Label which is plain rather than carrying Ernst August's personally assigned Charges of a Fleur-de-Lys and St George's Crosses. This representation was presumably part of the alterations made by Laves at a time when Queen Victoria had not married and had any children yet and whilst Ernst August was not only Heir Presumptive to the British Throne but considered himself the rightful heir. The Royal Heraldry of England by J. H. & R. V. Pinches, 1974, states that the Label was actually 'changed' to the plain version but was dropped in 1848.
Ernst August had a son George, who became HM King George V on his father's death, long before the British equivalent came to the Throne. He lost the sight of one eye following a childhood illness in 1828 and in the other eye following an accident in 1833.
As a British Prince himself he was not assigned a Label of his own as a grandchild of a sovereign but was granted his father's Arms on 15th August 1835 with an additional red Label charged with a central white Horse courant or running, to represent Hanover.
The illustration to the right shows George's Arms as Prince of the United Kingdom with the Hanoverian Label. It is a representation of his Garter Stall Plate in St George's Chapel, Windsor, reproduced in The Royal Heraldry of England by J. H. & R. V. Pinches, 1974.
HRH The Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex
His claim to fame is that, amongst many mistresses which a number of his brothers had anyway, Augustus married twice, both times in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act which had been brought in in 1772 following marriages deemed to be unsuitable made by two of King George III's brothers when the King himself had been required to marry for dynastic reasons.
On 4th April 1793, he married Lady Augusta Murray, first privately and without witnesses, at the Hotel Sarmiento, Rome, and again, after banns but still in contravention of the Act, on 5th December 1793, at St George's, Hanover Square, London. Both marriages were declared null and void by the Court of Arches on 14th July 1794, and the two resulting children were subsequently considered illegitimate. Lady Augusta retained custody of the children when she and Augustus separated in 1801.
A year after the death of Lady Augusta Murray, Prince Augustus apparently married Lady Cecilia Buggin, again in contravention of the Act, on or about 2nd May 1831, at her house in Great Cumberland Place, London. On that day she took the surname Underwood in lieu of Buggin. On 10th April 1840, she was created Duchess of Inverness by Queen Victoria (the Duke being Earl of Inverness) giving her equal status at Court but not the same title. Actual acceptance of the marriage would have meant acceptance of the Duke's earlier marriage and thereby the legitimacy of his two children, but the couple were socially accepted as husband and wife.
The situation was helped by the fact that Augustus was Queen Victoria's favorite Uncle. So much so that she chose him to give her away at her wedding to Prince Albert in lieu of her deceased father, the Duke of Kent.
Augustus was assigned the unusual Label of two red Hearts on the middle Point and a red St George's Cross on each of the two outside Points. His Arms were not inherited by his children as they were illegitimate. Nor, surprisingly, was it passed on to any of Queen Victoria's children.
HRH The Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
When William died and his elder brother Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, became King of Hanover only to undo much of Adolphus's work, Adolphus came back to Britain.
Part of the race to produce an heir, he married his second cousin Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, first at Kassel, Hesse on 7th May and then at Buckingham Palace on 1st June 1818. She was the third daughter of Prince Frederick of Hesse, who in turn was the last surviving grandchild of George II through his daughter Mary. Technically, Adolphus won the race when his first child, christened George William Frederick Charles, was born on 26th March 1819. Victoria of Kent and George of Cumberland were born within 3 days of each other but two months later than George of Cambridge. However, Victoria's father was the more senior brother, which is why she became Queen.
Adolphus and Augusta had two further children, Augusta and Mary Adelaide. Whilst George became a senior member of the British Royal Family, narrowly missing out on marrying his cousin Victoria, and another career soldier, his younger sister Mary Adelaide is probably more famous for her expensive tastes and extravagant lifestyle, forcing her family to live abroad for a while to reduce their debts. Her daughter, Victoria Mary, would become betrothed to Prince Albert Victor in late 1892, who died of influenza not long after in the following year, and then the wife of Albert Victor's brother George. She became Queen Mary on her husband's accession to the Throne as HM King George V (of the United Kingdom) and is The Queen's paternal Grandmother.
Adolphus was assigned the reverse of his elder brother Augustus's Label, namely a central red St George's Cross and two red Hearts on each of the outside Points. Whilst George was assigned his Father's Coat of Arms plus a three-pointed Label underneath in 1835, Adolphus's Arms lived on through his daughter Mary Adelaide and came to prominence with HM Queen Mary as we saw in a previous Blog. Both daughters, Augusta and Mary Adelaide, had been assigned their Father's Arms officially, borne on a Lozenge as shown below, in 1843. (Please note that the first graphic below does not show the correct Coronet.)
HRH The Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Mary was assigned a Label with a central red Rose and a red Canton (a square in the upper dexter or left-hand corner) on each of the outer two Points. Cantons were used a lot in medieval heraldry as well as Georgian. This same Label would be assigned to Queen Victoria's next daughter, Louise.
HRH Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh was the only son of HRH Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh who was himself the younger brother of HM King George III.
Whilst he was considered as a husband for Princess Charlotte Augusta, it was only in case no other suitable candidate was available. (She ended up marrying Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.) Said to be grander than the King, his capabilities (or, rather, lack thereof) were summed up by one of his many nicknames, "Silly Billy".
William Frederick was the great-grandson of a sovereign. His grandfather was Frederick, Prince of Wales, who died before he could succeed to the Throne. As such, he was assigned his father's Arms with the addition of a plain white Label.
HRH The Princess Sophia
Sophia and her sisters were well-educated but raised in a rigidly strict household. As a result, Sophia and all but one of her sisters grew up in their mother's cloistered household, which they frequently referred to as a "Nunnery".
Rumours spread, however, that Sophia became pregnant by an equerry of her father's, Thomas Garth, and gave birth to an illegitimate son in the summer of 1800. Other gossip declared the child was the product of incestuous affair with her elder brother the Duke of Cumberland, who was deeply unpopular anyway. Historians are divided on the validity of these stories, however it is believed that Thomas Garth junior tried to blackmail the Royal Family.
In her final years, Sophia lived in the household of her niece, the future Queen Victoria, at Kensington Palace where she fell under the sway of Victoria's comptroller, Sir John Conroy. He reportedly took advantage of her senility, blindness and money, but helped to deal effectively with the bullying of Sophia's supposed illegitimate son. Sophia frequently served as his spy on the Kensington household as well as on her two elder brothers for Conroy.
Sophia never married and died at her residence in Vicarage Place, Kensington Palace.
Sophia was assigned a Label with a red Heart between a red Rose on each of the two outer Points. This Label was consequently assigned to Queen Victoria's next and last daughter, Beatrice.
HRH The Prince Octavius and HRH The Prince Alfred
Both were inoculated against small pox, Octavius (23rd February 1779 – 3rd May 1783) six months after Alfred (22nd September 1780 – 20th August 1782) had died. Both became ill and died, Alfred at the age of two and Octavius at the age of four.
His parents were devastated, in particular his father. The King's later bouts of madness would involve hallucinations of his two youngest sons.
HRH The Princess Amelia
Coming so soon after the death of her brother Octavius and shortly before the end of the war with the United States, Amelia's birth was felt to be a beginning of a new period of hope, and much was expected of her. As a child she was said to be acutely aware of her rank but as an adult she suffered from ill-health, including severe bots of what turned out to be tuberculosis and also measles. Whilst on a rest cure in Weymouth she fell in love with an equerry, the Hon. Charles FitzRoy. Queen Charlotte decided not to tell the King about the liaison, so Amelia knew that any marriage would not be sanctioned under the Royal Marriages Act. However, she took on the initials A. F. R. (Amelia FitzRoy).
Amelia's death from measles plunged her father even deeper into delrium and Emily, as he called her, became the subject of his fantasies even more.
For 11 years, however, Amelia enjoyed her own Coat of Arms having been assigned a Label which was the reverse of her sister Sophia, namely a red Rose between two red Hearts. Her Label was not reused for Queen Victoria's children as Amelia was an 'extra' daughter in comparison. It remains unique as it was never assigned before and has never been assigned since.