Autobiography of Miss Cornelia Knight, lady companion to the Princess Charlotte of Wales, Volume 2 (of 2) with extracts from her journals and anecdote books
The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.
MISS CORNELIA KNIGHT,
CONTENTS TO VOL. II.
|Miss Knight’s Narrative of Events attending the Rupture of the Orange-Marriage—Dismissal of the Household of the Princess Charlotte—Letter to the Regent—Miss Knight’s Pension||1|
|The Princess’s Birthday—Suspected Intrigues—Letter to the Queen—The Year 1815—Journal continued||26|
|Preparations for War—The Queen’s Levee—Treatment of the Princess Charlotte—Napoleon and the Bourbons—Rumours from the Seat of War—The Battle of Waterloo||52|
|Rejoicings for Waterloo—The Marriage of the Duke of Cumberland—Prince Leopold—Marriage Rumours—Marriage of the Princess Charlotte—How it was brought about—Later Revelations—Character of the Princess Charlotte||71|
|France revisited—Chantilly—Parisian Society—The Court of the Bourbons—The Prince de Condé—Marshal Marmont—The French Stage—Invitation from the Princess Charlotte||92|
|Return to England—Meeting with the Princess Charlotte—France under the Bourbons—Parisian Society||111|
|Society in Paris—Journey to Homburg—The Landgrave and the Landgravine—the Dowager Queen of Würtemberg—Christmas at Louisburg||133|
|Departure from Louisburg—Paris—Coronation of Charles X.—London—The Princess Charlotte’s Monument—Anecdotes of Charles X.—Return to Germany||148|
|Paris and London—Death of the Queen-Dowager of Würtemberg—Homburg—The Landgrave and Landgravine—Life at a German Court—Return to Louisburg—Baden||165|
|Genoa—The Pallavicini Family—Character of the Genoese—Return to England—The Royal Family at Brighton—London—Gloomy Retrospect.—Anecdotes||183|
|Anecdotes—Talleyrand—Charles Albert—Masséna—Ferdinand of Spain—Lord Wellesley—Alfieri—Charles X.—Death of Miss Knight||202|
EXTRACTS FROM MISS KNIGHT’S JOURNALS.
|Consecration of a Catholic Bishop—The Grand-Duke Paul of Russia—Princess Dashkoff—Père Jacquier—Joseph II. of Austria—Gustavus of Sweden—Alfieri—The Countess of Albany—The Piozzis—General Acton—Arrival of Admiral Nelson||214|
|Miss Knight’s Settlement at Windsor—Gaieties at Court—Lord St. Vincent—Rejoicings at Windsor—Death of Princess Amelia—State of the King’s Health—Princess Amelia’s Funeral—Progress of the King’s Malady–The Regency Act—Conduct of the Regent||260|
EXTRACTS FROM MISS KNIGHT’S ANECDOTE BOOKS.
|James Boswell—Madame Piozzi—Lord Nelson—The Queen of Naples—Sir Thomas Troubridge—The Bronté Estate—Admiral Barrington—Cardinal de Bernis—Italian Anecdotes—The Princess Dashkoff—Louis Philippe—The Emperor Joseph II.—Miss Knight’s last Records—Her Religious Faith||285|
|Exclusion of the Princess of Wales from the Queen’s Drawing-Room||343|
|Death of the Princess Charlotte||349|
MISS KNIGHT’S NARRATIVE OF EVENTS ATTENDING THE RUPTURE OF THEORANGE-MARRIAGE—DISMISSAL OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE PRINCESSCHARLOTTE—LETTER TO THE REGENT—MISS KNIGHT’S PENSION.
[The following additional narrative of the transactionsrelated at the close of the first volume, wasdrawn up by Miss Knight for the perusal of a femalefriend:]
Princess Charlotte having had a long discussionwith respect to residence in Holland, of which allthe papers were preserved by her Royal Highness,it was at length granted by the Regent’s confidentialservants that an article should be inserted in themarriage contract to prevent her being taken orkept out of England against her own consent andthat of the Regent—at least, this was the meaningof the words.
The Prince of Orange had always appeared toprefer an establishment in England to one in Holland,and had always said that when his father’s2consent to the insertion of such an article came, hewould look out for a house, and take one, in caseone was not provided by Government.
This consent came, and the article was prepared;but the Regent wished Princess Charlotte even thento waive it as a compliment to the House of Orange,but her Royal Highness persisted in claiming thearticle. Nearly a fortnight passed after everythingappeared to be arranged, and her Royal Highness,seeing the Prince of Orange daily in presence ofMiss Knight, often asked him what preparationswere making with respect to a house, establishment,&c. He always answered that nothing hadbeen said to him, appeared to be ignorant, and didnot then talk of taking a house himself.
While the Prince of Orange was at Oxford, aletter came from one of Princess Charlotte’s aunts,who is very intimate with the Regent, to say thatshe understood he meant, as soon as the Emperorand King of Prussia were gone, to write over forthe Oranges and have the marriage celebrated assoon as possible. This alarmed Princess Charlotte,and she said she resolved to enter into a clear explanationwith the young Prince to avoid disputesafterwards.
The morning after he returned from Oxford thisexplanation took place, and it appeared evident toMiss K., who was present, that they thought itcould not go on; that the duties of the Prince of3Orange called him to Holland, and Princess Charlotte’sto remain in England, and that neither ofthem chose to give way; that in that respect theaffair stood nearly as at the setting out in December,and that no preparations were made for a residence inEngland. They, however, parted, agreeing to thinkit over till night, when Princess Charlotte promisedto write to the Prince of Orange. No letter camefrom him during this interval, and about eleven atnight her Royal Highness wrote him a letter breakingoff the marriage, and desiring he would informthe Regent of it. This letter went on Thursday (Ithink the 16th of June); all Friday no answer. OnSaturday her Royal Highness received a note froma friend who had been dancing at a ball the nightbefore with the Prince of Orange, and who said hehad told her he had not informed the Regent of thebreaking off the marriage, and did not intend toinform him. Princess Charlotte immediately wrotean affectionate and respectful letter to her fathertelling him this circumstance, and her horror at thedelay. About three came the answer from thePrince of Orange, which was literally as follows,her Royal Highness having allowed me to copy it:
I found the night before last your letter, and have lostno time to acquaint my family with its contents, but I cannotcomply with your wish by doing the same with regardto the Regent, finding it much more natural that you should4do it yourself; and it is, besides, much too delicate a matterfor me to say anything to him on the subject. Hoping thatyou shall never feel any cause to repent of the step youhave taken, I remain,
Hereditary Prince of Orange.
Her Royal Highness sent the original of thisletter to the Regent, with the copy of a note sheordered Miss Knight to write that day, after thereceipt of his letter to the Prince of Orange, to askfor her portrait and letters. The portrait and someof the letters were a little while after sent back toMiss Knight by the Prince’s aide-de-camp, and thepacket of letters sealed by the same.
Some time elapsed, and no further notice wastaken; no communication from Carlton House(except a short note on the 18th from the Prince toPrincess Charlotte expressing his concern), no visitfrom any of the family. The Duchess of Leeds sentin her resignation.
In the beginning of July the Bishop of Salisburyhad a conference with Princess Charlotte, which shementioned to Miss Knight, who was not present atit. Her Royal Highness said it was to induce herto write a submissive letter to the Regent expressingher concern for having offended him, andholding out the hope that in three or four monthsshe might be induced to renew the treaty with thePrince of Orange. Her Royal Highness added, that5the Bishop had said, if she did not write this letter,arrangements very disagreeable to herself wouldtake place.
Miss Knight wrote to the Bishop desiring to knowwhat these arrangements were, saying, as she wishednothing more than a reconciliation between PrincessCharlotte and her father, she begged to know whatarguments she might use to enforce the step hedictated, only observing she did not flatter him witha hope that Princess Charlotte would marry thePrince of Orange, or any one who had a right tosovereignty.
Of the Bishop’s answer the following is an extract:
[N.B.—The Bishop was at the time in the habitof seeing the Chancellor, and, I believe, also LordLiverpool.]
“Having heard from three different quarters thatthe Regent was most severely wounded and deeplyafflicted by his daughter’s conduct, and that anarrangement was making for the Princess Charlottewhich might not be according to her wishes; havingalso a hint given to me that probably a dutiful, respectful,and affectionate letter from the daughterto the father might soften the Prince’s mind, andtend to lessen the rigour of any measure he mighthave in contemplation, I felt it incumbent on meto state all this to the Princess, and I did moststrenuously recommend to her Royal Highness to6write such a letter. I did also go further, andventured to tell her, that as the intended matchwith the Prince