The Hon. Horace Walpole Describes the Arrival of Princess Charlotte


From a letter to George Montagu, Esq., Aug. 20, 1761

...The Queen is expected on Monday. I go to town on Sunday. Would these shows and your Irish journey were over, and neither of us a day the poorer! ...


From a letter to the Earl of Strafford, Tuesday morning.

...Nothing was ever equal to the bustle and uncertainty of the town for these three days. The Queen was seen off the coast of Sussex on Saturday last, and is not arrived yet--nay, last night at ten o'clock it was neither certain when she landed, nor when she would be in town. I forgive history for knowing nothing, when so public an event as the arrival of a new Queen is a mystery even at the very moment in St. James's Street. The messenger that brought the letter yesterday morning, said she arrived at half an hour after four in Harwich. ...

...Five, six, seven, eight o'clock came, and no Queen--She lay at Witham at Lord Abercorn's, who was most tranquilly in town; and it is not certain even whether she will be composed enough to be in town to-night. She has been sick but half an hour; sung and played on the harpsichord all the voyage, and been cheerful the whole time. The coronation will now certainly not be put off--so I shall have the pleasure of seeing you on the 15th. The weather is close and sultry; and if the wedding is to-night, we shall all die. ...

Twenty minutes past three in the afternoon, not in the middle of the night. Madame Charlotte is this instant arrived. The noise of the coaches, chaises, horsemen, mob, that have been to see her pass through the parks, is so prodigious that I cannot distinguish the guns. I am going to be dressed, and before seven shall launch into the crowd. Pray for me!


Click here for Walpole's account of the wedding of King George III and Princess Charlotte, or here to return to the previous page.

Excerpts from The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, v.4 (1759-1764). London, R. Bentley, 1840. p. 166-169.


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