The preliminary work on the Timelines of the Regency Era has now been presented. 50 years of happenings, events, births and deaths of prominent figures. It is not over. There are probably a good thousand more events to be recorded. In fact, at this point only those details through 1802 have been added into the Timeline.
The rest takes a great deal of editing, as well as searching and placing the graphics. The first years of 1787 to 1801 can all be found at Regency Assembly Press’ Timeline page
There are a lot of pictures shown there. It will add to your visualization of the Regency. But now, what to include in my daily posts. For months now we have had something new every day, and by the number of hits we are not getting, there is a small following.
Soon we will have an Edwardian Timeline, but for now, Regency Personalities is something I have thought to start on.
Over the next few days I thought it might be useful for me to have a guide.
Amongst other royalty and notables will be:
Lady Caroline Lamb
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Charles James Fox
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
John Phillip Kemble
Wellington (the Military man)
General Banastre Tarleton
Patronesses of Almacks
Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
Mrs. Drummond Burrell
Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador
Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
Today, the next personality of our period, Maria Fitzherbert, mistress of George IV. Much of this is work I have done for the English Historical Fiction Authors, of which I am a member of.
Maria Anne Fitzherbert
July 26th 1756 to March 27th 1837
George IV’s mistress/wife Maria Fitzherbert from 1785 to 1794, and then from 1798 to the 1820’s, though he was married to Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.
We all should know that George did not like the bride he took to secure the payments of his debts (600,000 pounds or about 1.2 billion in todays reckoning) and achieve the allowance he desired, a woman to whom he was only dedicated for a few short years until the birth of his beloved Charlotte. Three days after which he wrote a new will giving all to Mrs. Fitzherbert. And separating from Caroline forever after. (Later in life George was to say that he only had sex with Caroline three times.)
For over 30 years Mrs Fitzherbert and the Prince were together, and when asked directly if she had ever had children of the Prince and King, she coyly changed the topic of conversation to something else. And never would she sign a statement saying she had not had children.
Maria had been married twice before she met and married George. It is fairly well documented that now she had proof that she and George did get married secretly on December 15th, 1785. Her uncle and brother were witnesses to the ceremony performed by the Reverend Robert Burt. Burt’s debts were paid by George and the reverend was released from the Fleet Prison to perform the ceremony.
The marriage was illegal for several reasons. As a royal prince, he had to first have approval. Further, if he had sought approval, then since Maria was a Roman Catholic, George would have been removed from the succession. (This was the problem that came with Charles the 1st. Head of the Church marrying a Roman Catholic and having two Roman Catholic sons for Kings. Caused all sorts of problems. At least Charles II had the good sense to act as the Head of the Church of England, James II lost the throne over his religious scruples, proving once again that Politics and Religion don’t mix!)
She was the granddaughter of a Baronet and niece of an Earl. Her first husband was Edward Weld who died 3 months after the marriage and left her with nothing. (The money all going to Weld’s young brother whose son became Cardinal Weld.) She had to remarry quickly and then did marry Thomas Fitzherbert who died in 1781, but left her with 1000 pounds (about 2 million dollars) and a town house in Park Street, in Mayfair. (That is a very nice location.)
The legality of the marriage is an interesting conundrum. But the reality is the two acted as if they were married for a number of years. They were devoted to each other. They lived together. And George, once with Maria, only broke from her and had other mistresses a few times. (Unlike his younger brother William who once with Dorothea Jordan, took no other woman, until he had to search for a wife for the Matrimonial Marathon and then took Adelaide and again, did not stray.)
Thirty of more years, with the minor interruption of Princess Caroline. An interruption that began with a letter on June 23rd 1794 and then ended with a reconciliation during the summer of 1798. Their final separation came in the early years when he began to reign as George IV. At his death though, it was discovered that George had kept all her letters.
From 1804 till her death in 1837 she resided at Steine House in Brighton. It has been suggested that she had children with George. In her wills, and after her death, claimants were named or came forward.
William IV, finding the truth in the assertions of the marriage, offered to make Mrs. Fitzherbert a Duchess, but instead she just asked to wear widows’s weeds and dress the servants in royal livery. She died in 1837.