Saturday, August 4, 2007

Princesses (Book #75)

Did you know that George III and his queen had fifteen children, six of them daughters? If you didn't, it's because by royal standards--I take that back, by ANY standard--those daughters led dull, restricted lives. Because of that, Princesses: the Six Daughters of George III (Flora Fraser, 2004) is a strange read--compelling, but depressing. The novelist in me wants to find a way to write the girls out of their predicament--which, basically, is that they reached marriageable age just as their father's grip on sanity was loosening and the long upheaval of the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars got going. Since George III didn't approve of his children marrying even a little bit below royal rank, they had no opportunities to marry in England. For the most part, they were conventional young women who wanted families, and they just didn't get a chance. Though four of the six eventually married, they married late and left no legitimate descendants. (One of the two who never married gave birth to an illegitimate child by a commoner lover while a young woman.)

Anyway, it was an informative read, if you need information on British court life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

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