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CHAP. V

Indisposition of the Princess Charlotte.-Residence at Weymouth.-Anecdotes.-Visits the Isle of Portland and Abbotsbury Castle.-Marine Excursions.-Returns to Cranbourn Lodge.-Appearance at the Queen's Drawing-room.-Visits her Royal Father at Brighton.-Anecdote of the Prince Regent.-Prince Leopold recalled.-Anecdote.-Parliamentary Provision for the Marriage. -Claremont, &c.-Preparations for the Nuptials, Marriage Ceremony, &c.-Residence at Claremont, &c.-Miscarriages and final Pregnancy of the Princess.-Poem, called, The Quarrel of the Months for the Royal Infant.

ALTHOUGH the cause of Prince Leopold's abrupt departure from London, could only be conjectured, His Serene Highness having set out for the Continent without acquainting any one with his intentions; the Princess Charlotte soon perceived that her second invitation would not have been thus left unnoticed, unless something unusual had occurred; and hence it was not long before she informed herself of all that had taken place. It has been said that an epistolary correspondence was commenced from the time of the first meeting of the Princess with Prince Leopold at the Pulteney Hotel, and continued every fortnight until their marriage; and some have even asserted, that the Princess of Wales herself was the bearer of a letter from her beloved Daughter to Prince Leopold, who is also said to have had an interview with Her Royal Highness, shortly after she left this country: all this is however

irreconcileable with the circumstances attending the departure of the Prince of Cobourg from England, and with subsequent events which we shall shortly have to detail. The improbable report of the Princess of Wales having become the medium of clandestine communication between the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, so immediately after the Prince Regent had signified that he could not sanction the intercourse, is certainly deserving of no credit; and the probability therefore appears to be, that the correspondence alluded to, must have -been that in which the illustrious lovers were afterwards engaged.

No doubt, however, now remains, that the unexpected departure of the Prince for the Continent, was the principal cause of that decline in her health which Her Royal Highness soon afterwards experienced. She had also about this time to endure a painful succession of most harassing circumstances. The unhappy dissensions of her august Parents had been the source of continual sorrow to her affectionate heart; and even the apparently amicable arrangement which terminated those dissensions, became a fresh cause of grief to her mind, when she found that her Mother had finally resolved to leave the kingdom. It has likewise been seen, that though the Princess Charlotte was fully sensible of the distinguished merits of the Prince of Orange, she did not feel that decisive preference for His Royal Highness, without which, she justly concluded, connubial happiness cannot for a moment exist. No sooner, therefore, had the Princess obtained information of the true cause of Prince Leopold's hasty return to the Continent, than she nobly determined to dismiss the illustrious suitor, whom she found herself unable to love, notwithstanding his acknowledged high deserts. This necessary opposition to the wishes of her august Father, who was

then entirely unacquainted with the secret inclination of his beloved Daughter in favour of her destined husband, produced a great depression of Her Royal Highness's spirits, especially as every thing seemed then to wear a very unfavourable aspect medical advice was therefore procured, after which the following certificate was published:

"Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales, being still not altogether free from the complaint in her right knee, and Her Royal Highness's general health being considerably impaired, we recommend a residence on the sea-coast for two or three months this autumn; as the means most likely to restore her general health, and to cure what remains of the local affection.

July 6, 1814.

(Signed)

M. BAILLIE.
H. CLINE.
R. KEATE."

In consequence of this medical recommendation, the Princess repaired to Weymouth, a place which, in addition to its natural advantages, preferred a strong claim to her attention and regard, in having been the favourite resort of His Majesty; thither Her Royal Highness immediately repaired: on the 9th of September she left London, and arrived at Gloucester Lodge on the following day; a great concourse of people were assembled on the Esplanade awaiting her approach, who greeted the amiable Princess with reiterated cheerings, which she immediately returned with her usual affability and condescension.

Early on the 12th instant the royal standard was displayed at the Custom House, while colours were hoisted at Harvey's Library on the Esplanade, and on the shipping in the harbour. The

worthy Mayor having announced that this day the arrival of the Princess Charlotte was to be celebrated, in the evening a general illumination followed, which was the most brilliant that had ever been seen at Weymouth.

Two days afterwards, the following loyal and appropriate Address was presented to Her Royal Highness, by the Mayor, Aldermen, and principal Burgesses, of Weymouth :

"We, the Mayor, Aldermen, Bailiffs, and principal Burgesses, of the borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, entreat permission to address to your Royal Highness our humble congratulations on your safe arrival here, and to express our earnest wishes for the re-establishment of your health.

"We regard the auspicious appearance of your Royal Highness amongst us, not only as a happy omen of the future prosperity of the town, but as a revival of the joyful sensations we formerly experienced on the visits of your august grandfather, the paternal Sovereign of a grateful people.

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May the many public and private virtues which adorn with peculiar lustre the character of our revered Monarch, shine with undiminished splendour in the persons of his illustrious descendants.

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Madam, we beg leave to assure your Royal Highness of our strenuous exertions to preserve peace and good order, and by every means in our power to anticipate your wishes."

Her Royal Highness most graciously replied:

"Gentlemen, the Royal Family have so repeatedly experienced the loyalty and good-will of the inhabitants of Weymouth, that they need no additional assurance of their affection and duty.

"It will, however, I am sure, afford them very sincere satisfaction to find, that time and absence have produced no alteration whatever in their sentiments.

"To you, Gentlemen, who have shown me this particular mark of attention, and have so kindly expressed vour wishes for the res

toration of my health, I feel more especially indebted; nor can I, ou this occasion, omit my very sincere acknowledgments to all the inhabitants of this town, for the very flattering tokens of regard which they have universally shewn me, and which I consider as a proof of their undiminished attachment to my dear Father, and the rest of the Royal Family.

"Believe me, Gentlemen, it will ever be my anxious wish to merit your good opinion."

The Princess was exceedingly gratified by the picturesque scenery with which the neighbourhood of Weymouth abounds, and took her morning rides upon the beautiful hills and downs in its vicinity. Her favourite drive is however said to have been to the pretty village of Upway. These excursions produced a visible improvement in her health; but the latent cause of her indisposition, the disappointment which had occurred to delay, if not wholly prevent, the completion of her wishes, could not be thereby removed, though its unfavourable effects upon her health were for a time mitigated.

It appears that this was not the first visit Her Royal Highness had paid to Weymouth; for, notwithstanding the burden which oppressed her own mind, the amiable Princess, upon being requested to extend her bounty to the family of a tradesman, who had been removed by sudden death soon after the second arrival of Her Royal Highness at Weymouth, immediately recollected that he had been employed by her during her first residence at that place, and feeling deep concern for their melancholy condition, made very particular inquiries concerning the circumstances of the widow and her fatherless children; and learning that one

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