Princess Amelia was born on 7 August 1783, at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte’s fifteen children, as well as the only of her siblings born at Windsor Castle. Called “Emily” by her affectionate father, Amelia was born after the early deaths of her two elder brothers: Octavius (23 February 1779 – 3 May 1783) and Alfred (22 September 1780 – 20 August 1782). The death of these two princes left a gap of almost six years between Amelia and her nearest surviving sibling, Princess Sophia. She was twenty-one years younger than her eldest sibling George and nearly seventeen years younger than her eldest sister Charlotte.
Amelia was christened at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace by John Moore, The Archbishop of Canterbury, on 17 September 1783. Her godparents were The Prince of Wales (Amelia’s eldest brother), The Princess Royal (her eldest sister), and The Princess Augusta Sophia (her second eldest sister). Compared to the carefully planned education that Charlotte, Augusta, and Elizabeth had been given, the education given to Mary, Sophia, and Amelia was based solely on what had come before. Amelia was only five years old when her father suffered his first bout of madness As a consequence of her father’s declining health, she never experienced the closeness and affection that had characterized the family during her eldest sisters’ early years.
Being the fifteen child, Amelia was never “healthy.” She spent much of her childhood at Worthing with a tubercular knee. In 1801, Amelia was left at Weymouth for the sea air. With her was her governess, Miss Jane Gomm, and the King’s equerry, Colonel the Honourable Sir Charles FitzRoy, a descendant of Charles II. FitzRoy was 39 and Amelia only 18. A lover of romantic novels, the princess fell in love with the man. Mary tried to counsel her sister, but Amelia would have none of it. FitzRoy even lent Amelia 5000 pounds. Her letters regarding the affair survive. She takes full responsibility for pursuing the man.
Most people believe that although rumors exist of a secret marriage, FitzRoy was careful to keep his position. Amelia, however, began to sign her letters with “Amelia F.R.” and even had those initials engraved on her silver. In 1807, the King became aware of the rumors. Miss Gomm took much of the blame for “looking the other way.” Reportedly, the Queen had agreed to the match “the moment the King was dead.” The correspondence between Amelia and FitzRoy continued.
By 1808, Amelia was making inquiries into how to thwart the Royal Marriage Act. She would have to wait until she was five and twenty before she could act. That or pray that her father would go permanently mad and George IV would permit her to marry her beloved. She drafted letters to both the Privy Council and to the Prince Regent. She said, “I would never marry where I could not give my affections, and General FitzRoy possesses all my affection.” However, the letters were never sent.
Amelia’s health deteriorated, and she convinced herself that her mother wanted her to die because the Queen forbade Amelia from telling the King about FitzRoy. In 1809, leaving FitzRoy behind, she returned to Weymouth for her health. During her time at Weymouth, Mary refused to give her sister the comfort of speaking of FitzRoy. Eventually, she was brought home to Windsor to die.
Amelia settled with Mary at Augusta Lodge in Windsor. As she had only repaid General FitzRoy one thousand pounds, Amelia wished to make him her heir. Amelia wrote to Prinny and asked him to intercede with the Queen, who wished for Amelia to leave her wealth to the Ladies of the Castle. She was in great discomfort when Princess Augusta arranged for FitzRoy to visit with Amelia.
Amelia had a special keepsake made for her father. It was mourning ring with some of her hair sealed within and the inscription “Amelia” and “Remember Me” on the back. Amelia died at the age of seven and twenty (1810). Prinny had difficulty carrying out her will: she had left her jewels to FitzRoy and had made him her residuary legatee. The Prince of Wales finally convinced FitzRoy to give the jewels to Mary. The general wrote of Amelia, “She was the adored and departed angel.” He married eventually.
If you enjoyed this series, try Laura Purcell’s “Which Daughter of George III Are You?” Quiz. Visit http://quizilla.teennick.com/quizzes/22967157/which-daughter-of-george-iii-are-you