Mrs Papendiek on Health in the Royal Family

[1768] ... when the Queen had recovered [from her confinement at the birth of Princess Augusta], it was settled that Prince Ernest, her Majesty's brother, Prince William, and myself should be inoculated [against smallpox]. I was taken to the Queen's house, there held by my father on one chair, the Prince by his nurse on another, their Majesties being present. It was first performed on Prince Ernest, then on myself, then on Prince William, after this manner: two punctures in the arm near each other were made with the point of a lancet, through which a thread was drawn several times under the skin, and this on both arms. The operation was performed by Surgeon Blomfield, and was one of smarting pain, for we both cried. I was taken home in a sedan, kept warm, and in a few days had a convulsion, fever, and the pustules inflamed. On one arm they rose and died off regularly. Prince William had pustules besides those on the arms, no convulsion, and was less ill, which was attributed to the female constitution being more delicate. On Prince Ernest it took no effect whatever. On ultimate recovery all was considered right, and that we were secure from further fear of disease. ...

[1772] ... [At Kew] The houses of the Dukes of Cambridge and Cumberland were appropriated to Sir John Pringle, the physician to the Person, and to Cæsar and Pennell Hawkins, the surgeons to the same; for the Queen would have two of them always on the spot to watch the constitutions of the royal children, to eradicate, if possible, or at least to keep under, the dreadful disease scrofula, inherited from the King. She herself saw them bathed at six every morning, attended the schoolroom of her daughters, was present at their dinner, and directed their attire, whenever these arrangements did not interfere with public duties, or any plans or wishes of the King, whom she neither contradicted nor kept waiting a moment, I may almost say, under any circumstances. ...

Excerpt from Court and Private Life in the Time of Queen Charlotte: being the Journals of Mrs Papendiek, Assistant Keeper of the Wardrobe and reader to Her Majesty. Edited by Mrs Vernon Delves Broughton. London, 1887. (2 v.), v.1, p. 41-42, 49-50.

Return to Main Page.
Maintained by:
Last Modified: Thursday, 5-Nov-98
© Jean L. Cooper and Angelika S. Powell