In 1814, Princess Charlotte, the only child of Prince George, the Prince Regent, broke off her engagement to William, the Prince of Orange. The young Dutch Prince, who had visions of being a prince consort to a future British Queen was disappointed, while Charlotte’s father was furious. The relationship between father and daughter had become increasingly difficult and Charlotte was refusing to move abroad. Two years later however Charlotte was married in London. Her father was delighted. Her husband was Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and their new home was to be at Claremont Park, near Esher, in Surrey.
There, the following year, the young princess went into a long labour, sadly after fifty hours Charlotte’s baby boy was stillborn and later that day, 6 November 1817, the Princess herself was taken ill and died with a sigh soon afterwards. A popular figure, her death was regarded as a national tragedy and many newly-developing English streets were named Cobourg (the French spelling of the German city that gave its name to the duchy) in honour of her and her unfortunate husband.
The deaths created a royal crisis, with no heir to succeed the Prince Regent, every marriageable member of the royal family was asked to marry at once and within a year of Charlotte’s funeral, four weddings took place as three unmarried Dukes (all more or less living happily with mistresses) and the forty-seven year old Princess Elizabeth, all took marital partners.