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THE GERMAN INFLUENCE ON THE ENGLISH MONARCHY DURING THE REIGNS OF KING WILLIAM IV AND QUEEN VICTORIA BY MARIE VAN CAMP A THESIS Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the de gree Bachelor of Arts SARASOTA, FLORIDA MAY 2011
ii Contents List of Figures iii Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Family 13 Chapter 2: Virtue 30 Chapter 3: Work Ethic 48 Conclusion 62 Appendix 1: Hanoverian Family Tree 69 Appendix 2: Saxe Coburg Family Tree 70 Appendix 3: Meiningen Family Tree 72 Bibliography 72
iii List of Figures 1. Windsor Castle in Modern Times by Edwin Landseer (1841 1845) 2. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York by Johan Zoffany (1764)
1 Introduction The wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011, is a matter of great public interest in Britain and the United States. A t the top of the official website of the British monarchy is a picture of the couple that links to the official wedding website about their wedding. Under another picture of the two, the first thing on the official website is a link about the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund. In lieu of a gift registry, Prince William and Miss Middleto n have created a fund benefiting five charities through the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Henry. The website assures readers that the charities have been personally chosen by the couple : Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have created a charitable gift fund to help celebrate their wedding. The fund will focus on assisting charities which support the five causes chosen by the couple. These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far. Having been touched by the goodwill shown to them since their engagement, they have asked that anyone wishing to send them a wedding gift consider doing so in the form of a donation to the fund. 1 This is only one recent example of the emphasis that the modern day British royal family puts on charity. In fact, c harity is one of the major ways that the British monarchy demonstrates its usefulness to society. According to the official website of the British monarchy abo ut 3,000 organisations list a member of the Royal Family as patron or 1 The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, The Prince William & Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, n.d., http://www.royalweddingcharityfund.org/ (accessed April 13, 2011).
2 president. 2 The queen alone is the official patron of over six hundred charities The emphasis on the charitable work of the royal family suggests that charity is one of the unofficial ways that the British royal family legitimizes their position in Britain today The question of the relevance of the British monarchy is an interesting one. A monarchy is officially a form of government, yet the British sovereign has very litt le governmental power. The official website for the British monarchy claims that the sovereign is both the head of state for Britain and the head of nation. As the head of state, the sovereign is required to sign acts of Parliament, meet with the Prime M inister, and entertain visiting heads of state. As the head of the nation, the sovereign provides a focus for national identity, unity and pride; giving a sense of stability and continuity; recognizing success, achievement and excellence; and supporting service to others, particularly through public service and the voluntary sector. 3 T he sovereign s more symbolic role as the head of the nation has become far more important in legitimizing his or her position in today s society than his or her role as th e head of state. In fact, the sovereign s role as head of state has become almost entirely symbolic. By British law, the sovereign is required to give his or her assent to any bills passed by Parliament and the sovereign must remain neutral in all politics. 4 It is remarkable that the monarchy should have lasted into the present day when the political power of the 2 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the British Monarchy, Charities and Patronages, 2008, http://www.royal.gov.uk/CharitiesandPatronages/Overview.aspx (accessed April 14, 2011). 3 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the British Monarchy, The role of the Sovereign, 2008, http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/HowtheMonarchyworks/TheroleoftheSovereign.aspx (accessed April 14, 2011). 4 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the Br itish Monarchy, Queen in Parliament, 2008, http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/QueenandGovernment/QueeninParliament.aspx (accessed, April 14, 2011).
3 sovereign has been almost completely stripped away. It is only because of the sovereign s role as the head of the nation that the monarc hy has survived. The image of the monarchy as a representation of national unity rests on its ability to provide both a ceremonial mystique and a domestic image to which people can easily relate. The need for an image that subjects can easily relate to has persisted from the early nineteenth century through the present Specifically, t he evolution of the monarchy from the primary agent of government into a more symbolic national figurehead experienced its most drastic moment of change in the early nineteenth century during the reigns of King William IV (r. 1830 1837) and Queen Victoria (r. 1837 1901) During this period, the monarchy had to revise its image in order to ensure its continuance. One of the aspects contributing to this change were the Germans who intermarried with the royal family Members of the English royal family often married Germans because they had to marry Protestant members of the nobility, and because the House of Hanover had originally been German. Although these Germans integrated themselves into English society, they retained some of their own cultural ideas and practices which had an influence on the changing image of the monarchy. Although other factors certainly contributed to the change in the monarchy s image and role, Adelaide (wife King William IV) Leopold (uncle of both Queen Victoria and her husband) and Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) helped the English royal family form a more domestic image, a revitalized se nse of virtue, and a new sense of work ethic ; all of these were more in line with the values of England s rising bourgeois class than with the landed aristocracy. Prior to the nineteenth century, the aristocracy had dominated the power structure of English politics and society wi thout question However, that began to
4 change as advances in technology revolutionized the manufacture of goods. The politics and social values of the aristocracy during the eighteenth century were dictated in large part by the Whig party, who did not ch erish values governed by self control like the English middle classes. Traditional aristocratic activities such as g ambling large sums of money, drinking to excess, and indulging in extramarital affairs soon gave way as more middle class values became dominant. Norman Gash describes the qualities of the middle classes, in particular the industrial class, as materialistic, selfish, snobbish, and having the disposition to look above for leadership, jealousy and sectaria nism at their own level, and an excessive emphasis on outward morality. 5 These values were born out of a competitive culture in which status depended on the success of business rather than on birth and a changing social structure in which the spheres of home and work divided into separate entities which changed the relationships between men and women, particularly husbands and wives. T hus values of hard work, deferring to a higher power, and an emphasis on family life as distinct from business life came to dominate English culture during the reigns of William and Victoria. As the culture of England changed in response to the Industrial Revolution the monarchy was forced to change with it to ensure that its subjects did not try to depose it and set up a more republican form of government. By adopting an image similar to its bourgeois subjects, the monarchy made itself less foreign to its subjects. If the monarchy had rejected the changing nature of their subjects, it would have distanced t hem from those subjects in such a way that could have prompted their subjects to revolt against them. Even in the 1990s, directly after Princess Diana s death, when the queen did not 5 Norman Gash, Aristocracy and People: Britain, 1815 1865 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1979), 24.
5 produce the sort of response that the populace thought was appropriate, the monarchy s public image suffered. According to the Chicago Tribune, more than half of the British population, after Diana s death, thought that the country would be better off, or at least no worse off, as a republic. 6 This is just one example of h ow the monarchy s image today is still required to reflect the culture and values of the British populace in order to maintain its position. During the nineteenth century, this meant that the British monarchy had to adapt to the bourgeois values of hard w ork, living virtuously, and depicting itself as having the same sort of familial structure as that of its subjects. The three ways in which German spouses helped the monarchy changed their image to reflect a lifestyle more in tune with those of their sub jects were brought about mainly through Adelaide, Leopold, and Albert. However, their contributions were not a concerted effort. There was no master plan in creating this new image ; rather changes were made piece by piece. The change in the monarchy s image was not limited to the German influence, but the German influence played a definite role in way in which the monarchy developed its new image. Likewise, t he evolution of the monarchy s image extends before and after Adelaide, Leopold, and Albert ; ho wever the most drastic moment of change occurred during the reigns of William and Victoria. Most historians of the British monarchy pass over William and Adelaide as having any part in changing the image of the monarchy. Rather, m ost attribute the proj ection of a more bourgeois lifes tyle to Victoria. However, she was one monarch removed from the regency and reign of George IV (r. 1820 1830) whose lifestyle 6 Ray Moseley, Remaking Old Image is Key to Kingdom, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997 09 03/news/9709030090_1_death of princess diana charles and diana saint diana (acce ssed April 28, 2011), 1.
6 embodied the seeming lack of values from which subsequent monarchs sought to distance themselves. This was done to ensure the survival of the monarchy Thus even before Victoria, William and Adelaide began the process of changing the monarchy s image. Philip Ziegler and Mary Hopkirk disagree regarding the extent of Adelaide s influence on William. In his biography, King William IV (1973), Ziegler mostly mentions Adelaide s influence on William as minor in comparison to William s experiences in the Royal Navy and his position as the third son of King George III in causing Wi lliam to change the projected image of the monarchy from that of his brother 7 By contrast, Hopkirk s biography of Queen Adelaide posits that Adelaide s marriage to William fundamentally changed William s lifestyle and in doing so, changed the public imag e of the court. 8 Although many authors pass over Adelaide as having anything to do with the changing image of the monarchy, some argue that there are overarching trends which go back farther in history than King William IV. Simon Schama and David Craig have analyzed the image and position of the monarchy during Victoria and Albert s reign with reference to the reigns of George III, George IV, and William IV. Schama discusses Victoria and Albert particularly in terms of royal portraiture. He focuses on how presenting themselves as a normal couple helped Albert and Victoria to relate to their ever more powerful bourgeois subjects. He analyzes the shift in royal portraiture in depicting the source of a sovereign s power, noting that when the Hanoverian dy nasty took power in England in 1714 they were not depicted as absolute monarchs, but as monarchs whose power was intrinsically linked to Parliament 9 The reason that the 7 Philip Ziegler, King William IV ( Trowbridge: Redwood, 1973). 8 Mary Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide ( London: Lowe and Brydone, 1950). 9 Simon Schama, The Domestication of Majesty: Royal Family Portraiture, 1500 1850, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 17, no. 1 (Summer, 1986): 155 183.
7 power of the Hanoverian dynasty was linked to the Parliament was first because Georg e I (r. 1714 1727) became king because of the Act of Settlement passed by Parliament in 1701 which decreed that only Protestant heirs could take the crown. This demonstrated the power of Parliament in determining the succession. When his predecessor Que en Anne (r. 1702 1714) died without children the crown went to George I because he was the first Protestant in the line of succession. George I would never have become the king of England if Parliament had not passed the law that favored George over Cath olic heirs with stronger claims to the throne. Secondly, George was personally dependent on Parliament for all matters of government in England because he did not speak flue nt English ; this set a further precedent for parliamentary power. 10 Craig on the other hand, focuses more on the political climate in England during Victoria s reign and how the changing social climate relative to the changing political climate necessitated a change in the way the monarchy presented itself than on the transformation of the English monarchy s demonstrations of power 11 Instead, he analyzes the rise of republicanism during the first half of the nineteenth century and what effect it had on the monarchy. He discusses the power of the monarchy in terms of its limitations, s pecifically during Victoria s reign. In fact, t he major change in the image of the monarchy during the nineteenth century is often attributed to Victoria s gender and society s gender roles of the time Authors such as Margaret Homans attribute the domes tication of the monarchy to Queen 10 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the British Monarchy, The Hanoverians: George I, 2008, http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensoftheUnitedKingdom/TheHanoverians/G eorgeI.aspx (accessed April 23, 2011). 11 D avid M. Craig, The Crowned Republic? Monarchy and Anti Monarchy in Britain, 1760 1901, The Historical Journal 46, no. 1 (2003): 167 185.
8 Victoria focusing on Victoria s gender and the strict gender roles of the period. 12 In Royal Representations: Queen Victoria and British Culture, 1837 1876 (1998), Homans discusses the role of the monarchy and particularly the role of a female monarch. She explores the question of whether a reigning queen has a passive ( traditionally female ) or an active ( traditionally male ) position. David Cecil also writes about Victor ia in terms of her gender in his biography of Lord Melbourne entitled simply Melbourne (1954). 13 In the sections pertaining to Victoria, Cecil argues that her home life growing up, the tyranny of her mother, John Conroy s position in her mother s househ old, and her virtual seclusion from society all had a great effect on her court and her reign. However, he also writes about Victoria s need for someone the implication is a male to guide her in her position, and his own gender bias is evident throughout his work. 14 More recently, Gillian Gill s book We Two (2009) has a n interesting interpretation of the part that gender roles played in the transformation of the monarchy. She argues that Albert s understanding of gender roles and his position as both a husband and as the spouse of the British sovereign were two of the major factors contributing to the monarchy s increasing emphasis on philanthropic work. 15 Although some authors claim, sometimes indirectly, that their respective German background s affected the influence that Albert and Adelaide had over their spouses, most focus on a specific sovereign and thus do not consider German influence as an overarching trend. Craig and Schama observe broader social tren ds that factor into the monarchy s change in purpose, such as a changing class structure and the rise of 12 Margaret Homans, Royal Representations: Queen Victoria and British Culture, 1837 1876 (Chicago: University of Chica go Press, 1998). 13 David Cecil, Melbourne (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1954). 14 Ibid 309 and 316. 15 Gillian Gill, We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals (New York: Ballentine Books, 2009).
9 republicanism in government. John Raymond, the editor of Queen Victoria s Early Letters (1963) clearly demonstrates th r ough his selection of correspondence between Victoria and Leopold, the influence that Leopold had over Victoria while David Duff in Victoria and Albert (1972), establishes Albert s determination to remain culturally German and to assert his influence over Victoria. 16 Hopkirk most clearly demonstrates Adelaide s influence over William and her determination to fit into English society, while still helping William reform his lifestyle according to her notions of propriety. To be sure, the influence of the ir German spouses on British monarchs was not the only factor in the change of the monarchy s role in the early nineteenth century The evolution of the middle classes, the Industrial Revolution and parliamentary politics were also significant in the evolution of the monarchy s image from the reign of George IV to that of Victoria. This thesis therefore engages in a larger argument about the chang ing role of the British monarchy during the nineteenth century, but it is limited to the effect that the German nobles who married into the royal family had on the monarchy s appearance and actions during the reigns of William IV and Victoria. To that end, the thesis focuses on three themes and is divided into three chapters: Family, Virtue, and Work Ethic. Chapter one discusses the familial image displayed by the English royal family in the first half of the nineteenth century It discusses how cultural influences such as P ietism, cameralism, and traditional theories of virtue may have affected the behavior and habits of German nobles who married into the English royal family These cultural influences of the Germans helped form an image of the monarchy to which English subjects could more easily relate The values that were 16 John Raymond, ed., Queen Victoria s Early Letters (London: B. T. Batsford, 1963) ; David Duff, Victoria and Albert (New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1972).
10 projected by the royal family had a significant effect in the rising importance of the sovereign s role as head of nation rather than head of state. T he lifestyle changes that William made as a resu lt of his marriage to Adelaide prior to becoming king and Albert and Victoria s determination to demonstrate a traditional marital dynamic despite the political realities were major factors in changing the values that were projected by monarchy during th e early nineteenth century. Chapter two, Virtue, discusses the importance of the moral values that Germans such as King Leopold of Belgium Queen Adelaide, and Prince Albert brought with them from Germany. Germany has had a long history regarding the manife station of virtue in human beings ; for example t he idea that nobles gained their position in society by way of their inherent virtue was a popular philosophy in Germany prior to the eighteenth century 17 It meant that virtue was effectively limited to nobility and thus created a powerful and lasting link between virtue and the nobility in Germany However, as ideas originating from the Protestant Reformation gave rise to other Christian reforming movements in conjunction with rise in the belief that the nobility held power because they were the landowning class and not because they had an inbred sense of virtue ideas about virtue and its manifestation changed dramatically. This had a major effect on many Germans relationship with virtue and piety. Pietism and cameralism were two movements in Germany that had an effect on the way that German nobles were taught to view the society. Pietism was one of the Christian reforming movements that rose out of the Protesta nt Reformation because its proponents did not believe that the Reformation went far enough. They believed that the Reformation had not succeeded in changing the 17 William D. Godsey, Nobles and Nation in Central Europe: Free Imperial K nights in the Age of Revolution, 1750 1850 (New York: Cambridge University, 2004) 49.
11 way people lived their daily lives, and advocated a stronger sense of inner piety and strict adherence to a Lutheran code of morality 18 Cameralism was an economic theory that centered around the idea that the state existed for the prince, and that therefore the subjects and their achievements existed to strengthen the prince s wealth. This theor y extended into the idea that the best way to ensure prosperity for the prince was to ensure prosperity for the people. 19 The values and virtues that Adelaide Leopold, and Albert may have extracted from these movements had a definite influence in bringing the monarchy into a position to which their middle class subjects, who were rising in power during this period could more easily relate Chapter three discusses a sense of royal work et hic that was funneled more into the social rather than the political domain during the reigns of William IV and Victoria. The sense of social and personal responsibility that the royal family developed during this period is crucial to the current royal fa mily s position in Britain A monarch s purpose can either be the head of the government like a head of state, a cultural figurehead more like how the British monarchs today are called the head of nation, or a combination of both. As the English sovereign became less the primary agent of government and more a unifying cultural figurehead, one of the most important ways that the royal family justified and manifested its relevance to the nation was through public patronage and charity. 18 George Becker, Pietism s Confrontation with Enlightenment Rationalism: An Examination of the Relation between Ascetic Protestantism and Science, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 30, no. 2 (1991): 148. 19 Albion W. Sma ll, Some Contributions to the History of Sociology. Section VIII Approaches to Objective Economic and Political Science in Germany: Cameralism, The American Journal of Sociology 29, no. 2 (1923): 158 165 See also Keith Tribe, Cameralism and the Scienc e of Government The Journal of Modern History 56 no. 2 (1984): 263 284.
12 The domestication of the image of the monarchy, its revitalized sense of virtue, and especially the royal family s new work ethic were major factors in ensuring the continua tion of the monarchy in England, especially during a period of revolution and drast ic changes of government throughout the western world. These changes were brought about in part by Germans who married into the English royal family in the early nineteenth century. This thesis thus contributes to the broader understanding of how the British monarchy adapted in order to survive the changes of European society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The changes in focus for the British monarchy that occurred during the reigns of William IV and Victoria from primary agent of go vernment to unifying cultural figurehead help to explain the role and continuance of the British monarchy today.
13 Family As Parliament gained more and more control over policy making and increasingly overshadowed the sovereign in terms of the day to day running of the country, the English monarchy became more focused on creating a domestic setting for itself. As mentioned i n the introduction the Act of Settlement Parliament passed in 1701 put restrictions on who could inherit the crown but also required consent from Parliament for the monarch to leave the country or wage war By British law, the sovereign is required to g ive Royal a ssent to any bills passed by Parliament; and the A ct of Settlement reinforced the principle that government was undertaken by the Sovereign and his or her constitutional advisers (i.e. his or her Ministers), not by the Sovereign and any personal advisers whom he or she happened to choose. 1 The fact that the monarchy is an inheritable position may help explain, in part, why it became increasingly family oriented as the prominence of the nuclear family blossomed 2 ; during the nineteenth ce ntury, however, the English monarchy became more outwardly domestic as a way to relate to its ever more powerful bourgeois subjects. The monarchy cultivated a closer relation to the bourgeoisie than it had before William and Victoria to encourage bourgeo is compliance during an era full of revolution and republican sympathies. The bourgeois lifestyle became more important to the social atmosphere in England as increasing industry brought wealth and power to the English middle classes The reigns of King George IV (r. 1820 1830) King William IV (r. 1830 1837) and 1 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the British Monarchy, The Act of Settlement, 2008. http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensoftheUnitedKingdom/TheStuarts/Ma ryII WilliamIIIandTheActofSettlement/TheActofSettlement.aspx (accessed April 25, 2011). 2 158.
14 Queen Victoria (r. 1837 1901) coincided with the Industrial Revolution. 3 As the methods of production changed, relationships between employers and employees, and merchants and customers change d. F amily owned and operated businesses were in decline and were being replaced with manufacturing companies. Just as a family business is generally kept in the family, a monarchy functions similarly in that the next monarch is the closest descendent to the previous monarch. For example, when a monarch has no children, the crown will pass first to his or her next living male sibling 4 as it did when William inherited the throne from George IV. The n ext in line for the throne is usually educated from birth to take over the role of his or her predecessor, in the same way that a parent would teach a child to be able to take over a family business after the parent is no longer capable of running it. As the business of government increasingly became the responsibility of Parliament the royal family had to revise its role. In order for the royal family not to seem redundant, it was expedient that they present a domestic image separate from government. However, it is important to note that the sovereigns of the time were not merely figureheads, but maintained a governmental role separate from the Parliament similar in that a business owner is not part of the labor force in his factories, yet cannot be s aid to be useless to the business. 5 English monarchs in the nineteenth century wielded two kinds of power: formal political power and informal political influence. Due to the nature of an unwritten 3 The Industrial Revolution can be defined as the period of time during which industry expanded due to new inventions of machinery to such an extent as to fundamentally change the structure of society. This is the first period of time during which the midd le classes in England were able to control the means of production. 4 During the nineteenth century, some countries such as Hanover prohibited women from inheriting the throne, whereas others, such as England, only stipulated that males had primacy over fe males in the line of succession. Victoria inherited her position because she was the only child of the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III (William was the third son). 5 157.
15 constitution, these distinctions often changed with th e prime minister of the day. The role of the monarch during this period was a complex and fluid one. He or she had to support whatever party was in power in Parliament manifested in the selection of a prime minister, regardless of his or her personal po litical opinions. Although Parliament was the government body that created policy for the monarch to make into law, some prime ministers such as Sir Robert Peel believed that the king or queen had the right to choose their own ministers which gave the monarch a lot of power over how legislation should be created and interpreted. 6 In this period, most members of the English royal family found their spouses in German noble families. English law prevented sovereigns from marrying commone rs and Catholics. Royal marriages were also a matter of dynasty building, and required the approval of the reigning monarch or regent. Th us the English theory was that the more familial connections a royal family had with members of other royal families, the more political connections it had with other royal families. However, the little German states provided more potential spouses that fit the requirements of being both Protestant and nobility, than other, more advantageous dynastic connections. In G ermany, t he traditional concept of nobility was that virtue could be passed down from parent to child, like certain physical traits, thus both parents had to be noble to ensure the theoretical continuation of a virtuous line. As a result, the nobility had been a rather closed caste because, in order to maintain pure bloodlines, the nobility had to be passed down from both the mother and the father. Throughout the nineteenth century, the German nobility was facing a rising nationalism, which caused many no bles to have to rethink how the nobility could continue to hold the elevated place in society that they had 6 Craig, 176.
16 enjoyed for centuries. German nationalism grew tremendously during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Those involved most heavily with the movement, namely intellectuals and the upper middle classes, called for a Germany that was united politically through a sense of cultural unity instead of a Germany divided by politics which had little to do with ordinary Germans. The shift in s ocio political philosophy meant that the German nobility had to find a way to fit themselves into the new nationalistic ideology. The rising nationalism in Germany threatened to make the nobility obsolete. In Nobles and Nation in Central Europe William D. Godsey argues that the German nobility shifted from being based on class based bloodlines to nationally based bloodlines. He marks two great shifts in the conceptualization of nobility. The first was that a disconnection developed between the assumed virtue passed down through the generations and the reality of the situation. This is when the nobility became seen primarily as a landowning class instead of a class distinguished by inherited virtue and moral superiority. The second shift came a s the idea of a pure lineage came to depend on nationality rather than on rank. 7 Thus, it became better for a German noble to be able to trace his or her lineage without having any foreign relatives than to have a family that never married outside of its family s socio political status. Both conservative and liberal nobles came to this conclusion, although they differed in their views of why the nobility ought to occupy an elevated status relative to the common people. The liberal view was that the Germa n nobility was nothing more than the wealthier landed class of families of the people, of the free and wellborn. 8 The conservative viewpoint took the old idea of 7 Godsey, Nobles and Nation in Central Europe 64 8 Godsey quotes Johann Christian Maier, 63.
17 nobility and updated it; Carl Ludwig von Haller, a conservative German aristocrate wrote t hat the nobility [is] not a privileged caste, not a separate people ( Volk rather the most excellent, outstanding part of the people ( Volk ), its adornment, its glory. 9 German conservative aristocrats asserted their Germanness over their elevated ran k in order to remain legitimate Germans. Prince Albert for example, demonstrated his commitment to his nationality several times over before and after marrying Queen Victoria. He described himself as ein treuer Deutscher, Coburger, Gothaner zu sein in a letter to his family express ing his determination always remain a loyal German, despite being married to the English q ueen. 10 Likewise, David Duff devotes several pages to Albert s resistance to becoming Anglicized in his book Victoria and Albert, c oncluding that in the way that he dressed and talked, rode and shot, even in the way that he shook hands, he remained foreign. 11 German nobles had to increasingly emphasize their Germanness over their nobility to maintain a sense of legitimacy for their social position. Whether their parents were conscious of it or not, Adelaide and Albert would have been exposed to these ideas about what it means to be a German noble. The need to reassert national relevance carried over to England during this time as members of the German nobility intermarried with members of the English royal family. The allure of the nobility in the new German sense came from the idea that the nobility was the best of the people. It was this idea that was infused into the education of the German nobles in the nineteenth century. This philosophy was at complete odds with the behavior of several prominent members of the English royal family in the same period. Before marrying Princess 9 Godsey quotes Carl Ludwig von Haller, 61. 10 David Duff, Victoria and Albert (New York: Taplinger 1972 ), 22. 11 Ibid, 23.
18 Caroline, in 1785 the future King George IV had married Maria Fitzherbert, a wealthy English woman from a Roman Catholic family who had been widowed twice. He was forced to abandon her, however, and declare their marriage void because she was a Catholic and because his father had not given his approval for the match before it had taken place. Ten years later, George III persuaded his son to marry Caroline of Brunswick, but the two quickly became estranged. They were completely unsuited for each other in terms of personality and George had no interest in his marriage to Caroline beyond the money that his father gave him for it. Perhaps Caroline did not fit into the English court culture because, as Mary Hopkirk writes: Frances, Lady Jersey, a bishop s daughter and a grandmother to wit, accompanied the ill matched couple on their honeymoon as sole lady in waiting upon the bride; malicious and ruthless as she was, she made it her business to ensure that it was not a success. She encouraged poor, trusting Caroline to make every kind of mistake. She advi sed her how to dress, making sure that the suggestions offered were inappropriate or unbecoming; she arranged that she should ride badly broken horses; and even put spirits in her tea. 12 George IV increasingly tried to prevent Caroline from seeing their da ughter Charlotte as their daughter grew older. Perhaps in order to spite him for his cruelty, she went gallivanting around Europe without seeming to care if she flouted propriety, and gave a bad impression of the English royal family on the Continent While his wife was abroad, the king publicly took mistresses. The English royal family became notorious for their behavior which affected their image with other royal families abroad. For example, 12 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide 20
19 Hopkirk notes how the Duchess of Meini n gen and her daugh ter Adelaide were aware of the unfortunate treatment to which the wives of George III s sons had been subjected when she married her daughter Adelaide into the Hanoverian family, but the marriage had the advantage of possibly placing Adelaide s children in to the line of succession and Adelaide was already in her mid twenties with few political advantages to attract a better match. 13 For the majority of British subjects, official appearances were the only contact that they ever had with their sovereign oth er than what they heard about them in the newspapers or via rumor. The press often discussed the sexual adventures and gambling habits of George III s sons, which did not go over well with the majority of ordinary citizens. 14 Royal appearances or function s were envisioned as increas ing the perceived splendor of the monarch, and thus more emphasis went into the demonstrations of power and glory that occurred in the southern and eastern areas of London because there was couraged social cohesion among the poorer classes, but that the upper classes were impervious to it. 15 Most members of the aristocracy and upper middle classes neither required nor desired the expense and extravagance of the sovereign required by state ap pearances and events, especially when the expense that went into maintaining the majesty of the monarchy was undermined by its reputation in the press. In his extensive journals, Lord Greville (1794 1865) periodically took the time to describe important or influential people of the time. Lord Greville actually wrote in his journal about King William IV s funeral: 13 Ibid 13 14 Craig, 179. 15 Ibid, 171.
20 [It] is a wretched mockery after all, and if I were king, the first thing I would do should be to provide for being committed to the earth wit h more decency and less pomp. A host of persons of all ranks and stations were congregated, who loitered through the lofty halls, chattering and laughing, and with nothing of hu ng with black and adorned with scutcheons and every sort of funeral finery, was like a scene in a play, and as we passed through it and looked at the scaffolding and rough work behind, wit was just like a goring behind the scenes of a theatre. A soldier s funeral, which I met in the morning the plain coffin slowly borne along by his comrades, with the cap and helmet and sword of the dead placed upon it was more impressive, more decent, more affecting than all this pomp with pasteboard crowns, and heral ds scampering bout, while idleness and indifference were gazing or gossiping round about the royal remains. 16 In this passage, Greville complains about the obvious lack of sincerity in the court s mourning of William s death. At this point a sovereign s fu neral was still a ceremony designed to proclaim the magnificence of the deceased sovereign and the royal family in general, instead of an opportunity for the family and friends of the deceased to sincerely mourn the passing of their friend or family member and hopefully gain some sort of closure. Greville even describes the sort of funeral that he would prefer to see for sovereigns L ike other members of his class according to David Cr aig, he did not appreciate the ceremonial splendor and did not believe that it enhanced the dignity or importance of the monarchy. This passage demonstrates that at least some members of 16 Lord Charles Greville, The Greville Memoirs e d. Henry Reeve Vol. I, II vols (New York: D. Appelton and Co, 1885 7 ), 5.
21 the aristocracy were in favor of a more domestic image for the monarchy, or at least a more pri vate and dignified one. William and Victoria and their respective spouses found that, in this period, creating and demonstrating a more familial image allowed their subjects to identify with them rather than allowing ceremony and scandal to be the only wa y for the people to connect to the sovereign, which could create a distance that might encourage revolutionary tendencies. Victoria and Albert often used paintings, photographs (a relatively new technology), and the press to manipulate the public s image of themselves and their family. 17 There were still grand ceremonies to proclaim and reaffirm the power and glory of the royal family in Britain; however, a twofold presentation of the royal family through ritual and through familial depictions allowed Engl ish subjects to see their sovereigns both as people they could relate to and as figureheads they could respect. Emphasizing the familial element in the royal family made them seem less foreign; maintaining distance between themselves and their subjects vi a ceremony upheld their majesty. There was a delicate balance between portraying the royal family as a normal, private family who m people could relate to and portraying the sovereign as a figurehead of the state and thus not an ordinary citizen. People such as Queen Adelaide introduced the concepts of living simply and within one s means as well as an emphasis on familial love to the English court which appealed to the bourgeois standards of living of non noble English subjects. Adelaide brought over her understated style of living from Meinigen and reformed her husband to match it. For example, as Philip Ziegler relates, she was raised 17 Craig, 173.
22 in a small provincial German duchy in the middle of what is now modern day Germany west of the Th u ringian Forest, and had a clear vision of how life ought to be run and no idea of modifying her view to suit an alien land. 18 Once William s elder brothers had both died, Greville wrote that Queen Adelaide was by no means delighted at her elevation. She likes quiet and retirement and Bushy [the Duke of Clarence s private 19 He contrasts William with the previous sovereign George IV : his attention to business, his frank and good humored familiarity, and his general hosp itality, were advantageously compared with the luxurious and selfish indolence and habits of seclusion in the society of dull and grasping favorites. 20 William s upbringing had been very different from that of his elder brothers because when he was thirte en, he was put into the Royal Navy, and thus grew up with men from all different backgrounds far less prestigious than his own. 21 William and Adelaide preferred to live simple lives more in tune with the middle classes than the rank they inherited. Prior to his marriage to Adelaide, for example, William had had ten illegitimate children with an actress named Dorothea Jordan. When Adelaide accepted William s marriage proposal, there was some interest about how she would interact with William s childr en. William and Mrs. Jordan had lived together with the children for a while, and their children resided at Bushy, William s estate. Adelaide came into the marriage expecting to accept William s illegitimate children as part of William s family, although many people, including William s mother, did not approve of her intention. Queen 18 Ziegler, King William IV 123. 19 Greville, The Greville Memoirs Vol. II 361. 20 Ibid, 3. 21 Ziegler King William IV Chapters two and three
23 Charlotte told her in their first interview that she was not to recognize William s children as stepchildren at all. Adelaide disregarded this advice entirely and accepted William s children into her household as her stepchildren. 22 Adelaide s actions promoted the idea that members of the royal family could try to have a semblance of a normal family dynamic. In Adelaide s view, if William treated his children like ordinary family without any discrimination against them for their parents unofficial union, then she would accept them as her step children. Queen Charlotte and the Duchess of Kent felt otherwise. They both considered William s children as mere byproducts of his affair with Dorothea Jordan. Prior to becoming king and queen, William and Adelaide lived a very subdued, domestic life as the duke and duchess of Clarence and continued to do so as much as possible after their accession to the throne Greville says o f William that, the custom he introduced of giving toasts and making speeches at all his dinners was more suitable to a tavern than to a palace. He was totally deficient in dignity or refinement, and neither his elevation to the throne nor his associatio n with people of the most distinguished manners could give him any tincture of the one or the other. 23 It seems as though William viewed the dinners he hosted more as gatherings of friends and acquaintances rather than as excuses for members of the aristo cracy to see their king. Later, Greville claims that William had no desire to throw off the habits and manners of a country gentleman to become king. 24 Most historians mention that Adelaide was the one to reform his life style by encouraging him paying off and preventing debt so that they could live peaceably and respectably at home. Hopkirk quotes Colonel Wilbraham, a friend of William s when he 22 Hopkirk, 28. 23 Grevill, Greville Memoirs Vol I 4. 24 Grevill, Greville Memoirs Vol I, 361.
24 was still just the Duke of Clarence, as saying, wife has entirely re formed him, and instead of the polisson [naughty] manner of which he used to be celebrated, he is now quiet and well behaved as anybody else. 25 William clearly had a reputation for impolite and raucous behavior that he had earned prior to marriage and which disappeared for the most part after his marriage to Adelaide Although the Duchess of Kent and Adelaide were both German, and had a similar religious education, they did not necessarily agree when it came to familial matters. Adelaide believed that it was her duty to accept William s family as her own, and, as he thought of his illegitimate children as his family, she sought to do the same. However, according to Henry Fox of Holland House, the issue of William s illegitimate children was the sp ark of the lifetime feud between the Duchess of Kent and King William because she would not recognize them as the King s children as Adelaide did 26 The Duchess of Kent behaved as though William s children did not merit her attention because they were livi ng proof of William s immoral ways and could not inherit the crown. In fact, she would not let Victoria play with William s grandchildren because they were children of William s illegitimate children 27 When Adelaide gave a ball for Victoria s birthday, the Duchess of Kent refused at the last minute, to let her attend, giving as a reason that since her brother Leopold, King of Belgium, had just lost an infant ,s that they were in too deep a mourning to attend. 28 Although David Cecil claims that the Duchess of Kent did not want her daughter to fall under the influence of King William, it is hard to tell whether she thought of him as a bad influence on her daughter, 25 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide 43 26 Abraham D. Kriegel ed., The Holland House Diaries 1831 1840 (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977) 53. 27 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide, 123. 28 Ibid, 137.
25 or whether she was afraid that he would prejudice her daughter against her and thus ruin any i nfluence she might have whenever her daughter took possession of the throne. 29 It is probable that she justified one with the other. The Duchess of Kent and King William had a nearly lifetime active animosity towards each other. The Duchess of Kent woul d take her daughter out and about in public places and insist on her right to have the Royal Standard saluted for her because she was the mother of the next Queen of England. 30 William eventually forbade her from doing that At one of his birthday dinners he took the opportunity to express his feelings regarding the Duchess publicly and candidly in a speech at the dinner table: I trust in God that my life may be spared for nine months longer, after which period, in the event of my death, no regency would take place. I should then have the satisfaction of leaving the royal authority to the personal exercise of that young lady [pointing towards Victoria] the heiress of the Crown, and not in the hands of a person now near me [implicating the Duchess of Kent] who is herself incompetent to act with propriety in the station in which she would be placed. 31 This speech was, understandably, very embarrassing to the Duchess who, Hopkirk assures us, would have left the castle immediately if not for the intervention of the queen. William s impetuous temper was the main reason why Adelaide s efforts in pursuit of domestic harmony were frequently thwarted. Adelaide had tried to create a tra nquil familial setting for the royal family because it was the sort of environment she felt most comfortable in, but Victoria and Albert took it a step farther and tried to use that image to their advantage in public relations. Queen 29 Cecil, Melbourne, 11. 30 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide, 134. 31 Ibid, 156
26 Victoria and Prince A lbert actively cultivated a domestic aura around the royal family. Victoria certainly did not try to cultivate the picture of monarchi c majesty projected by monarchs such as George IV and Louis XIV of France (whose court was full of such strict etiquette that there was no privacy for the royal family), or even try to cling to it as had her grandfather, George III of England. By Victoria s time, monarchic majesty manifested itself a little differently than the absolutism of the past. There were still para des and processions to proclaim the glory of the monarch, but most of the portraits they had painted of themselves were designed to emphasize their familial bond rather than their monarchic glory. The familial structure was more pronounced under Victoria s reign because she was the sovereign, and thus sovereign over Albert, while at the same time she was his wife, which, during the time period, dictated that she ought to occupy a secondary role in relation to her husband. S he balanced the two by cultivati ng a very domestic setting for her family, rather than portraying her position merely as a seat of power. For example, Victoria preferred royal funerals and weddings to be as private and family oriented as possible. 32 In 1841 to 1845, Edwin Landseer pain ted a portrait of Albert and Victoria which depicts them, not as royals, but as a married couple (see figure 1) Albert sits more towards the middle of the painting with his face towards the viewer. Victoria stands in profile to the viewer speaking to Albert and in front of the couple are Albert s hunting dogs, game, and their eldest child Victoria, usually called Vicky, who stands at the edge of the painting As Simon Schama points out, this vision of the domestic virtues, and of family piety, is completed by the distant prospect of the queen s mother, the Duchess of 32 Craig, 172.
27 Kent, being solicitously wheeled about the park in a bath chair. 33 The painting is more about Albert as a husband and provider than it is about Victoria at all. It seems t o capture a moment in married life completely unrelated to their royal station. This painting demonstrates the family simplicity that the royal family assumed in the mid nineteenth century as opposed to the sort of paintings popular the century before, su ch as Johan Zoffany s The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York ( 1764 ) (see figure 2) This painting of the prince and the duke as children was both an affirmation of the royal family s dynastic lineage and an attempt to show the children as normal aristocrat ic children Zoffany s painting of Victoria s uncle King George IV and his brother as children has two very clear portraits of King George III and Queen Caroline in the background to remind the viewer of the children s lineage despite the more r elaxed setting. Although Landseer s painting has some semblance of truth to it because Victoria and Albert were sincerely fond of each other, the addition of Duchess of Kent in her wheelchair suggests that either the painter was appealing to some ideal th at he or Queen Victoria held regarding family or that it was a conscious decision to complete the domestic felicity with the q ueen s mother despite the tension between them. 34 For most of Victoria s childhood, the Duchess of Kent used her daughter s positi on as heir to the throne as leverage to boost her own position in society and the court. If the painting had been intended to convey the majesty or lineage of Victoria as queen Landseer might have included a figure such as King George III in some way. A s it stands, the only lineage the painting promotes is Victoria s connection to the Saxe Coburgs her husband s family 35 33 156. 34 Cecil, Melbourne, 314 315. 35 See Appendix 2, Saxe Coburg family tree.
28 Although one cannot doubt the sincerity of affection between Albert and Victoria, at least in the beginning of their marriage, it is hard to ignore the fact that almost all images of the pair depict them as an ordinary married couple instead of a royal couple with an uneven political and social relationship. Victoria s and Albert s marriage existed totally counter to the gender norms a t the time. Traditionally, the husband was supposed to occupy the position of power while the wife remained within the domestic sphere. Despite the fact that Victoria and Albert did not have a normal marital power structure, they commissioned images that emphasized a power structure that would be deemed acceptable to the middle class or gentry at the time, which made it easier for ordinary subjects to relate to the royal couple. However, although Albert and Victoria may be the most obvious example of th e familial bonds that were emphasized, they were not the first. George III enabled a transformation of monarchi c al popularity by serving as a focus of ritual splendor and a model of ordinary domesticity. 36 A s more representative forms of government came into fashion t he politics of the nation no longer revolved around the nobility. The monarchy, therefore, had to adapt against the threat of nationalism and republicanism that was sweeping across Europe. There was a delicate balance between preserving t he majesty of the royal family and creating such a spectacle of splendor that it alienated the ordinary people, encouraging them to seek alternative forms of government. Therefore the ostentation of the early eighteenth century became outmoded and a new e ra of domesticity was ushered in as the monarchs slowly became more national figureheads than political entities. 36 Craig, 172.
29 The image of the English royal family became more domestically focused as the times necessitated and as the German influence throu gh marriage persisted. The changing nature of the nobility and its place in society in Germany influenced the English monarchy with which it intermarried. A setting of domestic felicity and the depiction of the sovereigns and their spouses as living live s similar to their own gave the royal family a new human element. When a monarch is presented in a more domestic setting, less attention tends to be paid to the governmental side of monarchy. A royal family that appears to live in the same style and adhe re to the same behavioral code as their subjects may make for a less salacious read in the gossip columns, but also reduces a potentially antagonistic us versus them mentality. The caution and culture of the German spouses of the English royal family he lped usher in a new era of family oriented domesticity and royal family popularity.
30 Virtue The shifting image of the English royal family to a more bourgeois domesticated image brought with it a renewed emphasis on virtue rooted in the Protestant faith. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Leopold, Adelaide, and Albert all came from German lines of nobility, where it had been believed for centuries that nobles were noble, and therefore deserving of their place in society because of an inherent sense of virtue. Although that idea became outmoded during the eighteenth century, the fact that it had been a part of German history pervaded the discourse surrounding the role of nobility in Germany. 1 When political and philosophical theories began to challenge the established social order, the nobility had to defend their privileged position, especially as republican and nationalistic theories became more popular. As William D. Godsey reminds us, Nobles, after all, had traditional claims to being the nation and the government. 2 Nobles then had to hinge their claim to status on being the best example of a German, rather than belonging to a separate caste that nobles from all countries belonged to in opposition to all commoners from all countries; according to Carl Ludwig von Haller (1768 1854) : the nobility [is] not a privileged caste, not a separate people ( Volk rather the most excellent, outstanding part of the people ( Volk ), its adornmen t, its glory. 3 Virtue can be measured in various ways by different cultures and societies and is often taught through religious practices and beliefs. The most commonly accepted virtues of the Christian religion are chastity, temperance, charity, dilige nce, patience, kindness, and humility; though many denominations of Christianity may differ on which 1 Godsey, Nobles and Nation in Central Europe 49 2 Ibid, 2. 3 Ibid, 61.
31 ones ought to be emphasized over others, and some have a much more comprehensive list. These are the kinds of values that the Germans who married into t he English monarchy tried to embody due to their Lutheran upbringing. On the surface, of course the English royal family had the same values, but rather their practice or manifestation of these values in their actions was not always clear, and often decid edly obscure Further, although both England and most of the German states were Protestant, their religious histories were very different. The Protestant Reformation in Germany gave birth to Lutheranism, which became the state church in many German stat es, including Prussia. England became a Protestant country in the sixteenth century when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church to achieve his own ends, and declared himself the head of the Church in England, giving birth to the Anglican Church. 4 In both countries, similar religious movements formed in order to reform their respective state churches in the seventeenth century : the Puritans in England and the Pietists in Germany. Both sought to bring religious observance down to a very personal, emotional connection with God campaigning against adherence to ritual without sincerity of conviction, which they believed rampant throughout their state churches. Puritanism however, embraced the Enlightenment philosophy of rationalism, whereas Pietism saw it as a threat to religious conviction. Another difference was in the political stances of the two movements: Puritanism developed an anti absolutist attitude, whereas Pietism supported absolutism, which naturally made Pietism more acceptable to to German rulers than 4 Henry sought an annulment of his marria ge to Catherine of Aragon, but was denied by the pope. Henry s justification for the annulment was that she had been married to his elder brother before becoming a widow, which was against church law. The pope sided with Catherine, who claimed that the m arriage to his brother had never been consummated partly for political reasons. Under the short reign of Henry s son Edward, the Anglican Church persisted as the recognized church in England. Few sovereigns after Edward were Catholic, and eventually Prot estantism was made a requirement for a sovereign of England.
32 Puritanism was to English ones 5 Thus Pietism or at least Pietist cultural norms became more mainstream in Germany whereas Puritanism was marginalized in England. Most Pietists believed that the purpose of education was to further religious understanding, and that therefore, knowledge had to display a distinctly religious connection or else be given a false and dangerous independence. 6 Any education that did not have a clear connection to theology or religious conviction was considered dangerous and likely to lead students down the path of sin. At the same time, Pietists sought to implement a practical sort of Christianity, meaning that they desired people to put their religious lessons into practice; they believed that the Reformation did not extend far enough because it had not spark ed a revolution in how people structured their daily lives 7 They advocated Bible readings in small groups and the renunciation of sinful diversions, by which they meant that all divers ions ought to reaffirm and uphold religious conviction and maintain a sober demeanor. 8 Pietists believed that orthodox Lutheranism was too dogmatic and intellectual. Instead, the Pietists promoted the idea of Herzensreligion translated as religion of t he heart which was an inward and intensely emotional state of mind, as well as an engaged or practical religiosity. 9 Herzen s religion encouraged a rational orientation toward social problems and the conception of good works 10 Charity or service to one s neighbor was a virtue that was strongly emphasized in the Pietist movement. 11 5 Becker, 140. 6 Ibid, 144. 7 Ibid, 148. 8 Richard L. Gawthrop, Lutheran Pietism and the Weber Thesis, German Studies Review 12, no. 2 (1989), 241; Becker, 145 9 Becker, 148 10 Ibid 11 Gawthrop, 241; Becker 148
33 Although Pietism is generally considered to have occurred in Germany in the seventeenth century and waned in the eighteenth century, many scholars expand the movement int o the nineteenth and even the twentieth centuries. The justification for this is that Pietism in a much broader sense continued to influence modern Protestantism, culture, and society 12 This justification situates Pietism into an international climate of Protestant reform alongside English Puritans and the Dutch nadere Reformatie or further Reformation 13 Given the emphasis on charity and sobriety, it is probable that the court of Meiningen in which Adelaide grew up was influenced by Piestist philosop hies. However, Pietism was not the only social movement in Germany during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is probable that cameralism had much to do with the German nobles sense of social welfare. Cameralism is an economic theory that was most popular between 1555 and 1765. 14 Cameralism is the theory that a government is strong enough to function when it has the means to pay its expenses, and that the best way to ensure that it can keep up its treasury in order to do is maintain the welfar e of its people. Cameralist theory revolves around the idea that the point of government is to maintain the prince, but that the best way to do so is to maintain the people, because if the people are rich, then money will flow into the coffers of the prin ce. 15 Cameralism was particularly popular in the smaller German states where rulers were close to the people they ruled, and thus felt more of interdependence with each other than in larger states like Prussia One side effect of cameralism is state philanthropy. Albert s philanthropic measures were probably more motivated by this theory than by religious considerations. 12 Jonathon Strom, Problems and Promises of Pietism Research, Church History 71, no. 3 (2002), 542. 13 Ibid, 538. 14 Small, 159. 15 Ibid, 160 164, see also Tribe.
34 As important as education and cultural values are, personality is a major factor in what cultural values are absorbed a nd transferred. Adelaide had a rather reserved nature, as we can infer from some of Greville s journal entries about her. 16 Adelaide did not like entertaining or large parties, especially for people she did not consider immediate friends or family. In a book written about thirty years after her death, Agnes Strickland wrote that from her earliest childhood Adelaide was remarkable for sedate deportment 17 Adelaide s reser ved nature and tendency to prefer intimate company most likely made her more prone to adhere to such Pietist values as maintaining a sober lifestyle, devoid of heavy drinking, lechery, and heavy spending. The amount of influence that a person can have on their spouse often has more to do with how receptive their spouse is to being influenced ; this may partly explain why the German Lutheran influence did not manifest itself in the English monarchy prior to William IV. Although George IV married Princess Ca roline of Brunswick who came from the same German background as Adelaide, Leopold, and Albert George IV was not receptive to the idea that he might need to change his behavior to reflect his wife s cultural values, nor was he welcoming to his wife in g eneral. In fact, he was notorious for having mistresses, and refused to live with his wife. As regent he not only forbad e her from attending state functions but discouraged others from accepting her company by making it clear to them that to call upon her would be regarded as a personal insult by the Regent. 18 16 Greville, Greville Memoirs Vol. I, 362. 17 Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England From the Norman Conquest, e d. Caroline G. Parker. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1881), 667. 18 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide, 21
35 The small court in the duchy of Meiningen had a much different atmosphere than the morally indifferent atmosphere with the English aristocracy After her husband died in 1803, the Duchess of M einingen, Adelaide s mother, ruled over the duchy as a regent for her young son. According to the Imperial Magazine of 1832, Queen Charlotte the wife of King George III, was so impressed with the way the Duchess of Meiningen handled the French Revolution and Napoleon s consequent invasion into what is now Germany, that she: could not help signifying her admiration of it in a letter which opened a correspondence that was continued for some years with increasing satisfaction on both sides. But what gave p eculiar pleasure to her Majesty was, the accounts she received from various sources, of the moral character of the little court of Meiningen. 19 The accounts of the court of Meiningen circulating in Europe in the early to mid nineteenth century describe it as a very small, liberal court with a heavy emphasis on a strong Protestant morality that guided the actions of the ducal family there. Thus Adelaide grew up to exhibit, a strong repugnance to the laxity of morals and contempt of religious feeling with w hich the French Revolution had infected all the German courts. 20 Napoleon s invasion of Germany brought with it the ideology of the French Revolution, which challenged the established social order and religious observance Its ideas stressed the Enlight enment idea of reason, and denounced much of Christianity as superstition. The court of Meiningen was never invaded by Napoleon and thus the people of 19 Samuel Drew, ed. The Imperial Magazine; and, Monthly Record of Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical, and General Knowledge; embracing Literature, Science, and Art Vol. II (London: Fisher, Fisher, and Jackson, 1832) 10. 20 Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, 667.
36 Meiningen were never drafted into Napoleon s service. In this way, the court of Meiningen probably reta ined much of its Pietist infused culture such as the very strong religious feelings of its members ; and because of its small size, it probably retained many aspects of cameralism such as an emphasis on charity Prior to her marriage to the Duke of Clarence and moving to England Adelaide was very active in forming and superintending schools for the education of the children of the lower orders; and in providing raiment for the aged and destitute. 21 In Feminism and Motherhood in Germany, 1800 1914 Ann Taylor Allen provides a philosophical connection between motherhood and the female exhibition of virtue. 22 Motherhood was considered a virtue in and of itself that gave a sense of value to women, and she argues that public charity was seen as a form of public motherhood. Public charity was one way that upper class women could appropriately manifest their virtue. 23 As seen in the previous chapter, virtue was, for centuries, linked to nobility, first because it was believed that nobles maintained their position because they were inherently virtuous, then as one form that conservative nobles could work for to re legitimize their position in society. Whether or not Adelaide s public charity in her home court was genuine, probably religiously based, goodw ill, a method for legitimizing her elevated social position if only for herself, or a little of both, she brought that sense of morality to England with her when she married the Duke of Clarence. When she became queen, areas in economic distress would wr ite to her for her assistance after they learned what she had done for the Spitalfield weavers Adelaide and 21 Drew, The Imperial Magazine, 11. 22 Ann Taylor Allen, Feminism and Motherhood in Germany, 1800 1914 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991), 6. 23 Ibid, 1.
37 William often gave money to the Anglican Church for charity work because most charities of the time were organized and promoted through it. While investigating the situation of the clergy in the east end of London, Adelaide found out about the economic difficulties faced by the Spitalfield silk weavers. 24 Due to the Spitalfield Acts passed by Parliament in the previous century, the silk trade in London was a severe disadvantage compared to silk weavers in other parts of the country and abroad. The Spitalfield Acts passed in 1773, 1792, and 1811 were intended to solve disputes between journeymen and master silk weavers regarding wages; instead, t hey effectively prevented the London silk weaving industry from being able to adapt to the demands of the market. Fixed wages meant that weavers were hired while there was demand and fired when the demand dropped, thus resulting in widespread unemployment 25 The Acts were repealed in 1823, but their effects on the stagnation of the industry persisted long after. When she discovered the economic difficulties of the Spitalfield weavers, a major silk manufacturing area in London, she hosted a ball where the dress code stipulated that all costumes had to be made from Spitalfield silk. 26 Adelaide is often credited with causing her husband, the Duke of Clarence, to change his behavior to accord more with her own quiet ways. Prior to his marriage to Adelaide, Wi lliam, the Duke of Clarence, had been famous for his unrestrained lifestyle. He ran up debts with his creditors, and was far from discre et regarding his love affairs. The wife of the Russian Ambassador to the English court found his manners and 24 Adelaide was concerned that there were neither enough clergy there, nor enough resources for the clergy to adequately do their jobs. 25 Page, William, ed., Industries: Silk weaving, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2: General; Ashford, East Bedfont with Hatton, Feltham, Hampton with Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton, British History Online. n.d. http://www.british history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22161 (accessed April 5, 2011). 26 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide 153
38 conversat ion quite vulgar. He was also more liberal in his drinking and swearing than most of his social peers possibly due to his service in the Royal Navy, which started when he was only thirteen 27 Greville describes the Duke of Clarence as living in miserabl e poverty with a numerous progeny of bastards who was ridiculous from his grotesque ways and little, meddling curiosity. He notes that most people meaning people of the aristocracy or gentry did not find it necessary to honor him with [a] mark of attention or respect before the Duke of York died, making William, the Duke of Clarence, the next in line to the throne. Greville points out that the Duke of Clarence received more notice after Lord Canning made him the Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, but that he only distinguished his position by making absurd speeches, by a morbid official activity, and by a general wildness which was thought to indicate incipient insanity 28 These were the types of obstacles that Adelaide had to overcome in o rder to make William into a respectable husband and to improve his standing in the eyes of society As Hopkirk relates Mr. Lyttelton after having dined with William describes William s behavior as contrary to what he had expected to find: to our aston ishment, [he] behaved perfectly well, was civil to everybody, even gentlemanlike in his manner, did not say a single indecent or improper thing. 29 It is clear from the statement that Mr. Lyttelton either knew William before he reformed his behavior or had been led to expect him to exhibit wild or improper behavior. As seen in the previous chapter, t he Duchess of Kent tried to use the history of William s bad behavior as an excuse to keep his influence away from her daughter, the heir to his throne, as much as she could. In doing so, Adelaide and William, as well as 27 Greville, Greville Memoirs, Vol. I, 358. 28 Ibid, 357 358. 29 Ibid, 43 and 51.
39 many other English relatives, were kept as distant from Victoria as possible. In consequence, most of the people that Victoria was able to see or have contact with were her German relatives, most notably her Uncle Leopold, who became the King of the Belgians in 1831 Leopold was the Duchess of Kent s brother and the widower of Princess Charlotte, the only daughter of King George IV. Victoria and Leopold kept up a regular correspondence throughout her childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. He advised and encouraged her about her studies giving recommendations on what books were appropriate, and suggesting where she ought t o focus her energies. In his letters, he is very sensitive to Victoria s moral education as well: I must, however, say that I have given orders to send you Sully s Memoirs. As they have not been written exclusively for young ladies, it will be well to h ave Lehzen [Victoria s German governess] to read it with you, and to judge what ought to be left for some future time. 30 Although he is recommending a book for her to read for her historical education, he is concerned that there might be some information contained in it that is not appropriate for her age or gender. His main focus in her education, however, was the development of her moral character and its particular importance for a sovereign. When Victoria was just thirteen, Leopold wrote to her, By the dispensation of Providence you are destined to fill a most eminent station; to fill it well must now become your study. A good heart and a trusty and honourable character are amongst the most indispensable qualifications for that position. 31 The the me that an honorable character is essential for a monarch comes up quite often in Leopold s letters to Victoria. He is writing from a very Lutheran point of 30 Raymond, 10. 31 Ibid, 8.
40 view in that a good person will produce good works and will not have to try to appear good. The h onorable character that Leopold wrote about corresponds to the idea of a good person who has cultivated an innate sense of right and wrong, rather than having an external third party acting as his moral compass. Indeed, four years later Leopold wrote to Victoria about King William inviting the Prince of Orange and his sons to court. William hoped to persuade Victoria to marry one of the sons of the Prince of Orange, while Leopold s first choice for her husband was his own nephew Albert one of the tw o princes of Saxe Coburg In his letter to Victoria, Leopold tries to use this circumstance to convince Victoria that the Prince of Orange is not a respectable person and expresses his indignation at the conduct of your old Uncle the King; this invitation of the Prince of Orange and his sons, this forcing him upon others, is very extraordinary. It is so, because persons in political stations and champions of great political passions cannot put aside their known character as you would lay your ha t upon a table. 32 Here Leopold is simultaneously prejudicing Victoria against William s first choice of a husband for her by making the Prince of Orange sound like undesirable company, and making a lesson in behavior out of his depiction of the Prince of Orange. He is teaching her that once one s character is publicly established, it is very difficult to set that character aside and behave differently. Thus if you are a genuinely bad person, it is much harder to make it seem as if you are a good person; whereas if you are a genuinely good person, that inherent goodness will come out. Leopold makes a very long argument about the sin of hypocrisy and the importance of being true to your character in a letter to Victoria just after her confirmation: 32 Ibid, 12.
41 There i s one virtue which is particularly Christian; this is the knowledge of our own heart in real humility Hypocrisy is a besetting sin of all times, but particularly of the present and many are the wolves in sheep s clothes. I am sorry to say, with all my affection for old England, the very state of its Society and politics renders many in that country essentially humbugs and deceivers ; the appearance of the thing is generally more considered than the reality ; provided matters go off well, and opinion may b e gained, the real good is matter of the most perfect indifference Defend yourself, my dear love, against this system; let your dear character always be true and loyal; this does not exclude prudence worldly concerns are now unfortunately so organised that you must be cautious or you may injure yourself and others but it does not prevent the being sterling and true. From your earliest childhood I was anxious to see in you this important virtue saved and developed and Lehzen when others may tremble to have at last their real character found out, and to meet all the contempt which they deserve, your mind and heart will be still and happy, because it will know that it acts honestly, that truth and goodness are the motives of its actions. 33 Here Leopold warns Victoria about the dangers of being false to her character assuming she has developed a virtuous character. He is making the argument that if she never does anything that can cause re proach, she will never have to fear having her reputation being ruined. Thus, if she is careful to cultivate a respectable, good character from the outset, she will be able to trust her own judgment to make decisions that will not cause reproach. He part icularly mentions England as a place where hypocrisy is rife, and where it was 33 Ibid, 11.
42 more important to appear good than to actually be good. He claims that this attempt is doomed to failure because people who practice this sort of behavior must constantly ensur e that they are upholding a faade. In a letter to Victoria regarding William s imminent death in 1837, Leopold reminds her again that she must cultivate always a genuine feeling of right and wrong, and be very true and honourable in your dealings; this gives great strength. 34 Leopold s insistence that Victoria demonstrate genuine honor and goodness is meant to teach her to become a monarch without unsavory secrets to hide. He wants her to cultivate a truly Lutheran perception of goodness in that peopl e who have an innate virtue will do virtuous things, because making the right choices will come naturally from their instincts Advice from older relatives often goes unheeded by the young, yet Victoria wr ote back to her uncle with thanks and reques ts for further advice or commentary on current social events. At age 15, she wrote, you cannot conceive how happy you have made me, by your very kind letter, which, instead of tiring, delights me beyond everything. I must likewise say how very grateful I feel for the kind and excellent advice you gave me in it. 35 In a letter to Leopold in 1837, Victoria wrote to Leopold about an incident between Whigs and Tories, I think that great violence and striving such a pity, on both sides, don t you dear Uncle? They irritate one another so uselessly by calling one another fools, blockheads, liars, and so forth for no purpose. I think violence so bad in everything. They should imitate you, and be calm, for you have had, God knows! enough caus e for irritation from your worthy Dutch neighbors and others. You will, I fear laugh at my politics but I like telling you my feelings, for you alone can put me right on such 34 Ibid, 19. 35 Ibid, 8.
43 subjects. 36 Throughout their correspondence, Victoria seems to embrace Leopold s advice to the point that she claims that only he can direct her in politics and morality. In fact, these two subjects are intrinsically linked throughout their correspondence. Leopold concerned himself with Victoria s moral development because of the Lutheran belief that a virtuous person will naturally make virtuous decisions without difficulty, and the assumption that quality in a sovereign will make him or her a successful ruler. Leopold and the Duchess of Kent had planned on uniting Victoria and Al bert in marriage from the time that they were children and the Duchess of Kent under Conroy s influence, had trained [Victoria] to prize moral purity. 37 Therefore, in order to ensure that Victoria would choose their candidate for her hand in marriage ove r William s (who favored the Prince of Orange), they had to ensure that that Albert would demonstrate a sense of morality compatible with that of Victoria. Albert and virtue have often been connected, especially after his death. David Duff claims that Albert s legendary goodness was based on four platforms: he was moderate in his drinking habits ; he never cheated on his wife ; he had a very strong work ethic ; and he died full of faith and prepared to meet his Maker at the end of a race well run. 38 Duf f then goes on to explain how the legend of Albert s goodness is based on false principles; however, this image of Albert is what was presented to the public both before and after his death. The two virtues that modern authors tend to focus on when discus sing Albert s virtuousness are his his faithfulness to Victoria and his work ethic 36 Ibid, 14. The great violence that Victoria was writing about specifically was an incident in which Mr. Hume referred to Sir Robert Peel and s ome other Tories as the cloven foot 37 Gill, We Two, 130. 38 Duff, Victoria and Albert, 18.
44 Gillian Gill has several theories as to the source of Albert s fidelity. First she claims that Prince Albert was the avowed heir and disciple of three native Coburgers: his father, his uncle Leopold, and Christian Stockmar and that Albert would be their man, a man in their own image in all things but one. Albert would be virtuous, he would be clean, and he would be monogamous ; that would require him to create an idealized memory of Coburg without the vices of his three mentors. 39 There is an extensive discussion in Gill s book about how morally corrupt Leopold and Albert s father were mainly because of their various extramarital aff airs. Extramarital affairs for men were quite common during this era, because there weren t really an y consequences when a man had extramarital affairs. Arguably, t he relationship between a husband and his wife was more unequal in Germany than in England during this period because women had fewer rights in Germany than they had in England. In Germany, women could not inherit property or s eats of power the same way as women could in England. 40 Gill argues that this formed the way in which Albert related to women, and caused him to feel useless in relation to his wife or that he was occupying the female role instead of the male role as he existed as a part of Victoria s household than she existed as a part of his household. Gill also frequently claims tha t the reason that Albert was faithful to his wife was because he was a misogynist, and therefore felt that women were beneath his notice. 41 However, this theory seems to be entirely unfounded. Albert came from a highly patriarchal culture where men were prized over women. This does not necessarily mean that he therefore hated women. Gill then posits the idea that Albert never cheated 39 Gill, We Two, 109. 40 The kings of England, from George I onwards were also kings of Hanover; however, Victoria could not inherit the Hanoverian throne in Germany because she was a woman ; thus it went to her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland. 41 Gill, We Two, 96.
45 on his wife because he was secretly a homosexual and therefore had no desire to pursue woman outside of his marriage. 42 S peculation aside, the most likely source of Albert s fidelity was probably a combination of personality and training by Leopold to become the perfect spouse for Victoria. The second virtue that modern authors tend to focus on is Albert s work ethic, whic h probably stems from two sources: the remnants of cameralism and the effect of a reversal of gender roles when he married the sovereign of a powerful country. Although cameralism was fast becoming old fashioned by the time Albert married Victoria, Alber t exhibited the sort of paternalistic behavior that seems consistent with its basic principles. As will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter, Albert involved himself in many societies that existed to make conditions better for the working class in England. Part of his work ethi c probably stemmed from his displacement as the head of the royal family. He was relegated to what was typically a female role, being married to a reigning sovereign, and thus occupying a lower status than his spouse. The English Whigs and Albert came f rom very different political and moral perspectives. Not only had the Whig supremacy worked to limit the powers of the royal sovereign over the past century, t he typical English Whig gentleman exhibited the sort of vices that are born out of a lack of s elf control. It was not out of the ordinary for them to gamble with enormous sums of money, drink themselves under the table, or to have mistress upon they lavished expensive gifts and a luxurious lifestyle. 43 It was so usual for Whig gentleman to have mi stress in fact, that an unmarried man was thought unpleasantly quer if he did not keep under his protection some sprightly full bosomed 42 Ibid, 136. 43 C ecil, Melbourne, 20.
46 Kitty Clive or Mrs. Bellamy, whose embraces he repaid with a house in Montpelier Square, a box at the opera and a smart cabriolet in which to drive her down to Brighthelmstone for a week s amorous relation. 44 Albert on the other hand, came from the same German noble family as Leopold, the Saxe Coburgs, and had been given a moral education by Leopold that would be deemed acceptable by Victoria. The beliefs of both Albert and Adelaide sharply contrasted with Lord Melbourne, a prime example of the typical Whig aristocrat : Queen Adelaide found his views on religion lax and his conversation disagreeably paradoxical. Many of her subjects agreed with her 45 Albert appears to have asserted his morality more strongly than Adelaide : not only did the Prince s views strike him [Melbourne] as intolerant, but, considering the free and easy morals of the Englis h aristocracy, they seemed likely to get the Queen into disfavor with some of her most influential subjects. 46 These influential subjects were the powerful Whig aristocrats. Albert and King George IV thus serve as the bookends to the process of change r egarding the relative importance of morality and virtue at the English court. King George represents one end of the continuum with Albert at the other. King George s extramarital affairs were common knowledge and he was often described as a rake or a c ad He was estranged from his lawful wife and took not one, but many mistresses over the course of his life. By contrast, Albert is described as a highly virtuous person, whose legendary virtue was probably bolstered by Victoria after his premature death After William succeeded his brother George IV and the image of the court began to change, the regency and reign of George IV was contrasted in a negative fasion to William s reign. 44 Ibid, 21. 45 Ibid 262. 46 Ibid, 386.
47 Cecil claims that Lord Melbourne was still associated with the image the monarchy had during George IV s regency and reign in that he had a disquieting whiff of the R egency about him 47 Having been brought up in Germany where the Protestant faith was quite strong among the nobility, a nd where for centuries it had been believed that nobles were nobles because of an inherited virtue that placed them above the rest of the German people, Adelaide, Leopold, and Albert helped usher in a new appreciation of morality and virtue to the English court. People like King Leopold, Queen Adelaide, and Prince Albert helped to shape William s and Victoria s world view, and thus the character of the English court. It is this shift in attitude that makes the Victorian era so distinct from the Regency. 47 Ibid 262.
48 Work Ethic As the English monarchy exhibited a more domestic image and the royal family moderated their behavior with Lutheran principles, the royal family s reputation shifted from idle dissipation to assiduous industry. The ways in which members of the royal family passed their time became less centered on self gratification and more focused on the idea that the sovereign and his or her immediate family ou ght to demonstrate their usefulness in other ways as the monarch was no longer the primary agent of government. This shift did not start out with grand social programs, but with small changes in the ways royal family members employed their time, slowly ev olving into using their position more explicitly for the betterment of society. As seen in the previous chapter, Adelaide came from a very strong religious background, and did not approve of excessive drinking or the gambling of large amounts of money. She believed that being idle was an opportunity for misconduct. Unlike previous q ueens, Adelaide was often seen occupied with needlework and Bishop Burnet was quoted in the Imperial Magazine in 1832 as saying that it was a new thing, and looked like a spectacle, to see a queen work so many hours a day on needlework because she consi dered idleness as the great corrupter of human nature. 1 Burnet claims that the example of the Queen s work ethic motivated people to copy her, so that it became in her time as much the fashion to work, as it had been to sit idle 2 This is one of the rare instances in which Adelaide had a direct influence on the monarchy s public image that was not the result of her influence on her husband. 1 Drew, The Imperial Magazine, 14. 2 Ibid.
49 Adelaide happened to have a rather reserved personality by nature and so did not take pleasure in hosting la rge social events, as was a usual pastime for wealthy or prominent members of the royal family or the aristocracy in general. Greville recounts a gathering in which the wives of William s ministers were presented to her: The Queen came to Lady Bathurst s to see the review and hold a sort of drawing good manners, and did all this (which she hated) very well. She said the part as if she was acting, and wished the green curtain to drop. 3 It is clear from this account that Adelaide found the task of hosting parties onerous, and it was obvious to Greville that she had such a dislike of hostess duties that she was not able to be very sincere in her pleasantries. However, despite her dislike of hosting large parties, she sometimes did so for charitable causes such as benefit events to promote the business of certain manufacturing areas like the Spitalfield silkweavers in London. As discussed in the previous chapter, Adelaide sought to decrease their economic difficulties by promoting their business through organizing a ball with a dress code of Spitalfield silk Adelaide generally sought to wear clothes made of English materials, and she established a trend among upper class ladies to do the same. 4 Queen Adelaide s charity work was not re stricted exclusively to the British. She also revitalized a fund for distressed Germans and other foreigners of character by organizing a bazaar for their benefit in 1833. Greville recorded in his journal that the Queen s stall was held by Ladies Howe and Denbigh, with her three prettiest Maids of Honour. They sold all sorts of trash at enormous prices and made four or five thousand 3 Greville, Greville Memoirs Vol. I, 362. 4 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide 153.
50 pounds. 5 Adelaide s charitable work was important to her and was treated seriously as part of her social position. Ro yal charity was not new to the monarchs of England ; however, the practice of royal patronage began with early, German Hanoverians; the first recorded official royal patronage of a charity was King George II (r. 1727 1760). 6 The renewed work ethic demonstrated by the royal family during William s reign was not entirely Adelaide s doing. William was accustomed to treating his position as a career due to his previous experience in the Royal Navy. Because William was King George III s third son and di d not expect to inherit, he had been made an officer in the Navy in his youth to give him something to do. William was accordingly placed on a royal naval ship around the age of thirteen in order to learn the profession. His father specifically requested that he ought to be treated as any other midshipman would have been, and he consequently had chores and commands that he was required to obey just like any other midshipman. 7 The one difference between his routine and any other naval boy s routine was tha t his father had assigned him a personal tutor, the Reverend Henry Majendie, who was responsible for teaching him religious studies, Latin, English composition, history, and French which he learned in addition to the lessons usually taught on naval ships such as cooking, rigging, and any other jobs an officer could assign a young boy while he learned about navigation and commanding a ship by experience. 8 William became a lieutenant in 1785, eight years after his father had first sent him to a ship to be a midshipman, which was a relatively long time for a gentleman s son to 5 Ibid, 134. 6 The Royal Household at Buckingham Palace, The Official Website of the British Monarchy, Charities and Patronages, 2008, http://www.royal.gov.uk/Charit iesandPatronages/Royal%20involvement%20with%20charities/Royal%20in volvement%20with%20charities.aspx accessed April 25, 2011. 7 Ziegler, King William IV, 28 30. 8 Ibid, 27.
51 remain a midshipman before being promoted. He had spent two of those years on land with various members of his family. He was assigned to the ship Hebe which had been a French war s hip before it was captured. William was in the habit of providing charity to those he encountered personally long before he became king. He was inclined to give money to unemployed sailors; and he even took in poor children who had few options before the m and trained them on his ships as midshipman and eventually got them commissions in the Royal Navy. 9 William was made a captain in 1786 and given the command of the ship Pegasus which was bound for America. Ziegler quotes both Lord Nelson, who was favor ably disposed towards William, and Joseph Yorke, a future admiral who was not a friend of the prince, as implying that William was a competent naval officer. 10 As a captain, William was highly demanding. He required the hammocks the men slept in to be com pletely taken down and put away by six in the morning; and, al though midshipmen were not allowed to leave his ship, officers were required to sign a leave book with their name and reason for going ashore. 11 William went on his last cruise as an active sailor in 1788 to Jamaica. In 1827, William was made the Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, the same year that his brother the Duke of York died without children. King George IV s only legitimate daughter had died in childbirth with her child in 1817, and since George was estranged from his wife Caroline, William became the next in line on the Duke of York s death. The post of Lord High Admiral was revived for William as a way to replace Lord Melville as cabinet representative of the Adm iralty without firing Lord Melville from the 9 Ibid, 55. 10 Ibid, 59. For a full account of William s naval career, see Ziegler s biography of William chapters two, three, four, and eleven. 11 Ibid, 60.
52 Admiralty because he refused to work with Lord Canning who had just become the prime minister. 12 Ziegler claims that the post of Lord High Admiral was a crucial one for William because it served as a dress rehe arsal for the monarchy. It allowed him to make forget. 13 Lord Canning, the prime minister, had intended for the position to be nominal; William s experience in the Royal Navy h owever, had left him with some very strong opinions regarding real changes that he felt would benefit real sailors. Far from simply authorizing papers drawn up by the council created to do the work for him, William proved his determination to investigate the state of the royal navy himself: at yard early the next morning, inspecting the offices, examining the books, visiting every part of the storehouses and keeping an elaborate record of all h is criticism. One of his main aims was to improve the standard of naval gunnery. 14 William had lived his life in relative obscurity prior to becoming the heir presumptive 15 and therefore was not as accustomed to a leisurely court life as George IV and hi s court. Although he only reigned from 1830 to 1837, William brought the sense of duty that he learned as a professional sailor to his role as king. Once he became king, he rose at six every morning and expected any messengers from the government to att end him at 12 Ibid, 133. Canning became prime minister when Lord Liverpool died because, as Ziegler claims, a new government could not have been set up without Canning, but Canning refused to w ork under anyone. Therefore the only option was to make him the prime minister. However, many people refused to work for Canning, including Melville. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid, 134 and 136 15 The heir presumptive is the person who is next in line to the throne, but whose accession to the throne could be prevented by the birth of a nearer heir. In this case, if George IV had married again and fathered another child, or if the Duke of York s wife had given birth to a child up to nine months after his death, William wo uld no longer have been the next in line for the throne.
53 that hour; Wellington, Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury 16 claimed that he had done more business with him in ten minutes than with [King George] in as many days. 17 William set the tone of a monarch who treated his position as a ca reer and Adelaide set the precedent of a queen who refused to be idle. Like William, Albert was more inclined to treat his position as a career. Like Adelaide Albert was not the sovereign, but the spouse of the sovereign. During a time when husbands we re supposed to be the dominant figure in a marriage, being the husband of a sovereign could have an emasculating effect. In order to retain his sense of masculine duty, Albert had to find a purpose for himself in his new position. In German states women could not inherit positions of power at all. Although the kings of England from George I to William IV had been both kings of England and Hanover, Victoria had to give up the Hanoverian seat of power to her uncle, Ernest Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland. Growing up in an environment where women had no power outside of their home and little, if any, power inside th eir home, and then being married to the most powerful woman in the British Empire put Albert in an awkward position. H e had been raised with the idea that men took the lead and women followed, but he was then thrust into a position that was absolutely con trary to that notion. Leopold and Albert came from the same highly sexist background, and doubtless Leopold may have thought that Albert would basically be able to rule through Victoria Leopold s name is often connected to Albert s in discussions regard ing Albert s political background or influences. Craig states that, it has been argued that the major influences on Albert were his uncle 16 Lundy, Darryl, ed, Person Page 10256, October 28, 2010, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10256.htm#i102559 (accessed March 25, 2011). 17 Hopkirk, Queen Adelaide, 85.
54 Leopold, king of the Belgians, and their mutual adviser Baron Stockmar. 18 It is reasonable to assume that Leopold th ough that he would be able to use his relationship with the both of Albert and Victoria to his political benefit. In addition to encountering a reversal of gender roles, Albert had grown up after the Napoleonic wars and married Victoria eight years befo re the 1848 revolutions in Germany, Hungary, and France. These revolutions were a symptom of nationalistic and republican trends that grew out of the French Revolution. Nationalism and republicanism were threats to the monarchic system of government. Mi chael Hughes claims that the predominant form of government in Germany became reforming absolutism after the Seven Years war. 19 Reforming absolutism is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exists for the benefit of the people. There is an implied contract between the sovereign and the people in which the sovereign s responsibility is to promote the happiness, security, and or der of their subjects. 20 This is very similar in effect to cameralism. As previously discussed, cameralism is the economic theory that the definition of a strong state is one with a wealthy prince. This eventually came to mean that steps should be taken by the prince to ensure the wealth or happiness of his or her subjects in order to increase the wealth of the prince. The only difference is that reforming absolutism does not necessarily center around the treasury of the prince. Regardless of whether or not Albert s father Ernest I, the Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha and the brother of King Leopold and the Duchess of Kent practiced reforming absolutism within his domain, this theory combined with the push to unify Germany along cultural lines and the pr ecarious 18 Craig, 176. 19 Michael Hughes, Early Modern Germany, 1477 1808, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1992), 145. 20 Ibid, 146.
55 position the revolution in France had placed all sovereigns may explain why Albert chose to try to improve standards of living and promote cultural achievements in England as the husband of the queen. Albert came to his marriage to Victoria wit h definite ideas about how he thought the monarchy ought to function and what it ought to be; Leopold and Baron Stockmar agreed with him. They hoped to turn the monarch s position into a permanent president of the cabinet of ministers who would take preced ence over the prime minister. Albert believed that the monarch should be above party politics and should function as a mediating force rather than backing whichever party had won the most recent election. He thought that the monarch should have a say in all government decisions, recommend and veto appointments, and make dismissals when necessary. 21 His vision for the role of a sovereign was one that would be very involved in the day to day business of government. However, al though he was not able to ma ke his vision for the monarchy come true, he was able to find a way to make himself useful in England. Albert manifested a desire to be useful throughout his married life. In a memorandum, Mr. Anson, Prince Albert s private secretary, quoted Lord Melbour ne as saying that the Prince is bored with the sameness of his chess every evening. He would like to bring literary and scientific people about the Court, vary the society, and infuse a more useful tendency to it. 22 Although the court had become more family oriented and domestic replacing a court full of courtesans and heavy drinkers Albert wished to take it one step further and discuss topics that he felt could be beneficial to public policy or society. 21 Craig, 176. 22 Raymond, Early Letters, 45.
56 The problem was t hat Victoria was very reluctant to include him in discussions about policy publicly because she feared domestic disturbance if they should disagree about something; and because she was the sovereign, it would disturb her ideal of marriage in which the wife ought to take direction from the husband. Anson recorded a conversation he had with Melbourne regarding the issue in which Melbourne reported that he had : spoken to the Queen, who says the Prince complains of a want of confidence on trivial matters, and know it was wrong, but when she was with the Prince she preferred talking upon s mind is the fear of difference of opinio n, and she thinks that domestic harmony is more likely to follow from avoiding subjects likely to create difference. 23 In the beginning of her marriage to Albert, Victoria was very reluctant to seek his advice on any political matters. Albert resented that she seemed to distrust his opinion and did not allow him to be of use to her in that regard. Eventually Albert found projects in which he could channel his desire to be productive In 1847, for example, h e became the president of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. 24 The society organized competitions and prizes for various industrial designs. He also became the president of the Society for Improving the Conditions of the Labouring Classes; and as such was heavily involved with coming up with a design for apartments that working class families could afford. Each had two small bedrooms and one larger one, a living room, a water 23 Ibid, 43. 24 Liza Picard, The Tale of a City 1840 1870: Victorian London (New York: St. Martin s Griffin, 2005), 214.
57 closet, and a scullery. The real genius of the plan was that they were designed to be ea sily adapted to repeat in a building either side by side or up and down. 25 In 1852, Victoria wrote in her letters to Leopold and her half sister Feodora about how busy Albert was with his work : It will give some idea of the multifarious nature of the Prin ce s pursuits, if we mention briefly a few of the subjects that engaged his attention within a few days of his return to Windsor Castle on the 14th of October. The next day he distributed the prizes of the Windsor Royal association. On the 16th he meets Lord Derby [the Prime Minister], Lord Hardinge, Lord John Manners, the Duke of Norfolk, the Dean of St Paul s, the Garter King at Arms, and the Secretary of the Office of Works, to settle the complicated arrangements for the funeral of the Duke of Wellingt on. On the 19th he is busy with negotiations for the purchase by the Exhibition Commissioners of land at Kensington. Next day finds him engaged with Mr. Edgar Bowring in making the final corrections in the Report of the Committee of Commissioners, as to the disposal of the Exhibition Surplus, a very elaborate and masterly document. The same day he had to master the general results of the Cambridge University Commission s report and to communicate them in his capacity of Chancellor to the authorities of t he University. On the 22nd he settles with Mr. Henry Cole and Mr. Redgrave the design of the Duke of Wellington s funeral car. Two days afterwards, in a personal interview with Lord Derby, he goes into the details of the Government measures, which are to consist of an acknowledgement of Fee Trade, Lightening 25 Ibid, 46.
58 of the burdens of Manufacture and Agriculture, Reduction of the Malt Tax, of the 26 Albert involved himself in as many committees as he could, and sought to do as much as he was allowed to do to influence politics without a crown of his own. In his appeal to Lord John Russell justifying his request for a larger financial allowance, the Prime Minister in 1849, Albert wrote that, the calls which are made upon a lady (as the Queen Consort) by the Public are only of two kinds: Religion & Charity. These two paramount duties are equally binding upon the Consort of the Queen, but upon him are very fairly made in addition the claims of Literature, Science, Art & Industry, which ought to find a pr otector & Patron in the Husband of the Sovereign, the more so as the Sovereign, being a Lady, cannot give the same attention to them which a King could, whilst the fostering Patronage of the throne is almost a necessity to the 3 first at least. 27 Presumably, Albert meant that Victoria could not give the same attention to the patronage of the arts as a king could because she was not only the sovereign with all the responsibilities of that role, but also the means by which the next generation would b e born and thus often pregnant 28 and becau se Albert assumed that he, as a man, would be more capable of understanding the intellectual pursuits of literature, science, and art. As president of the Society for Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, Albert was heavily involved in the organization of the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in 1851. There is some dispute as to whether Prince Albert or Henry Cole, a 26 Gill, We Two 282. 27 W. Menzies Whitelaw, ed. The Financial Plight of a Queen s Consort, The American Historical Review 42, no. 4 (1937), 693. 28 During this period, women during the last stages of pregnancy went into a pseudo isolation called a lying in period. During this time, they were usually from doing many of their usual day to day acti vities.
59 member of the Royal Society of Arts (The abbreviated name for the Society for Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce), was the one to come up with the idea for the Great Exhibition but both generated the initiative which produced it. 29 The Great Exhibition was an enorm ous exhibition in Hyde Park of raw materials, industrial design and new inventions which in turn would lead to improvements in public taste and in technical education. 30 The exhibit was supposed to demonstrate the transition of raw materials into finishe d products, and in so doing demonstrate the genius of industrial design. Prince Albert was the president of the Royal Commission responsible for organizing the project. The Great Exhibition was a huge success, and was arguably the cultural event of the century. Throughout his marriage to Victoria, Albert always had a desire to feel useful, particularly in a way that would distinguish him from one of his wife s lad ies in waiting. Because of the reversal of the traditional gender roles in Albert s and Victoria s marriage, Albert found it difficult to be happy without something to do. Gillian Gill writes in her dual biography of the couple that Victoria, while prof essing to idolize him, treated him more like a gigolo than a husband. 31 While this statement goes perhaps a little too far in demonizing Victoria, it does hint at one of their main problems as newlyweds. Albert had been taught from childhood that men wer e the ones who were politically and economically active, and that men were supposed to conduct matters of business whereas women were supposed to remain in the domestic sphere. It is no wonder then that Albert was bored and craved something to do rather t han be forced into what he considered a female role because his wife had to fulfill a typically male role as part of her birthright. 29 Picard, The Tale of a City, 214. 30 Ibid, 215. 31 Gill, We Two, 163.
60 Thus, Albert became heavily involved in philanthropy work which gave him a purpose and something to do beyond his marriage to Victoria. Victoria exhibited the same desire to be useful and was consequently heavily involved in the day to day business of government ; she even expected not just to be informed, but to be debated with, to express an opinion, and even to reject a dvice. 32 Like her aunt Adelaide Victoria believed that public charity was very important. If charity was one way that women could publicly demonstrate their motherly virtue, then philanthropy was a way for monarchs to publicly demonstrate their sovereig n interest in their subjects. Victoria and Albert were diligent in their philanthropic endeavors, which were essential to the transformation of the monarchy into a popular institution. 33 Victoria and Albert continued her Aunt Adelaide s custom of giving royal support to the Spitalfield silk weavers by promoting the sale of English silk, when Victoria and Albert gave a fancy dress ball, it was not just for fun, but to encourage the London silk weavers, because everyone had to wear English silk, and Engli sh silk became a popular fabric for the interiors of carriages. 34 In the 1850s, Albert and Victoria worked with the prime minister of the day, Lord Derby to set up a school for orphaned children of military officers. Wellington College was given a royal charter in 1853, and opened in 1859. 35 Victoria valued her charit able works over her ceremonial duties, and Albert came into the public eye in large part because of his philanthropic work. 36 Under William and Victoria, the English monarchy demonstrated a much more prominent work ethic than during the regency and reign of King George IV. Their 32 Raymond, 177. 33 Craig, 173. 34 Picard, The Tale of a City, 86. 35 Wellington College, History, n.d., http://www.wellingtoncollege.org.uk/history (accessed April 4, 2011). 36 Craig, 173.
61 subjects embraced this quality in their new sovereigns because it helped legitimize their position in society. As republican philosophies permeated intellectual discourses all over Europe, the image of the royal family as demons trating bourgeois standards and values and a willingness to use their position to improve social welfare kept the monarchy from being reviled by the people. During Victoria s reign, the monarchy was sometimes criticized for how much money went into mainta ining it. Victoria and Albert countered this criticism by claiming that critics deliberately ignored the range of public activities that they were engaged in. 37 Adelaide, William, Victoria, and Albert all demonstrated a desire to use their positions po sitively for the good of society. They occupied much of their time in ways that made them feel and seem productive. In addition to encouraging productive pastimes for ladies such as needlework, Adelaide continued to practice the same sort of charity that she had practiced in Germany, which may have stemmed from a combination of the remnants of cameralism and Pietism. Albert came from a very German perspective regarding government. Absolutism was more popular among the German states than constitutional m onarchy. In an absolutist state, the head of state would have far more control over the government than the British sovereigns did. Thus, it is not surprising that Albert sought out projects to work on after marrying into a relatively powerless position Adelaide and Albert reinforced the burgeoning work ethic of the English monarchy as a result of their German background and together with their spouses, sought to use their positions to affect social welfare 37 Ibid, 180.
62 Conclusion During the first half of the nineteenth century, the English monarchy experienced a period of drastic change in its function and role in society. This change occurred as a result of a number of factors including, but not limited to, a quickly changing social structu re, domestic and foreign politics, and new medi a in news and entertainment mediums As so many members of the English royal family married Germans, there was a definite German presence in the English royal family, particularly from the House of Saxe Cobur g. The German nobles who married into the English monarchy had had to combat similar problems in their own states, and they transferred those solutions, either by design or by habit, to the English monarchy. The three ways in which Adelaide, Leopold, an d Albert helped facilitate the continuance of the English monarchy during this period of time were through cultivating a domestic, familial image for the English royal family, projecting a revitalized sense of virtue, and applying a work ethic in the socia l sphere rather than the political sphere. Adelaide and Albert, in very different ways, helped the monarchy take on a more domestic or familial image. Throughout her marriage to William, Adelaide reformed her husband s lifestyle to conform to her idea of acceptable behavior, and she accepted William s illegitimate children as though he had been married to their mother. Albert, on the other hand, helped bring about a more domestic image for the monarchy because of his frustration about his position at cou rt relative to his wife s. H aving been raised in a country where women could not inherit land or titles, Albert s marriage to Victoria forced him into a position that was the reverse of how he had been raised. He even had to wait
63 for Victoria to propose marriage to him instead of the other way around. In order to balance out the political structure of power in their relationship, Victoria and Albert intentionally depicted themselves in the traditional gendered roles of husband and wife. The traditional gender roles Albert and Victoria projected fell in line with the revitalized sense of virtue that infused the English monarchy during this time. The traditional familial structure that they projected enhanced the sense of virtue that Adelaide, Leopold, a nd Albert brought with them to England. Adelaide, who had been raised in the small Meiningen court, had been raised with values that were more closely aligned more with the bourgeoisie in England than with the aristocracy. She persuaded her husband Willi am to act with more decorum and put aside some of the wild behavior he had learned as a teenager in the Royal Navy. She convinced him to start living less extravagantly in order to avoid debt. Similarly, Leopold kept up a regular correspondence with his niece Victoria in which he advised her about the virtues that a person, but more specifically a sovereign ought to have to be successful. Many of these virtues stem from a Lutheran point of view, and may have had a Pietist influence. Leopold strongly adv ocated the union between his niece Victoria and his nephew Albert. To ensure this union, he made sure that Albert would be virtuous enough to be appealing to Victoria. The two virtues that modern authors comment most on are Albert s fidelity to his wife and his very strong work ethic. During the mid nineteenth century, a sense of work ethic manifested itself in the royal family. However, this work ethic was applied primarily in the social sphere, rather than solely in the political sphere. Adelaide ch anged the way that the court society thought about idleness and leisure; as we see from Bishop Burnet s assertion that she
6 4 brought working on needlework into fashion. 1 Adelaide s actions in conjunction with the sense of work ethic her husband practiced as a result of his experiences in the Royal Navy changed the image of the monarchy. D uring Victoria s reign, Albert took this image of a non idle monarchy further. I n his need for action and the relative powerlessness he felt in relation to his wife, Albert focused his energy on social issues or projects. It is under Albert that the strong emphasis on charity that the monarchy still demonstrates today emerged. In fact, t he mona rchy today owes its continua tion and sense of purpose in large part to the German influence s it experienced during the first half of the nineteenth century. This period was crucial for many European governments due to the enormous ramifications of the Fre nch Revolution. The issue of republicanism and the possibility of revolution forced the English monarchy to reassert its value to its subjects. However, the German influence on the monarchy during William and Victoria s reigns was not the only factor tha t had an effect in helping the monarchy survive. The familial image, revitalized virtue, and work ethic that Adelaide, Leopold, and Albert brought to the monarchy helped them forge this revised image and contributed to the continuance of the English monar chy. The nineteenth century was a crucial point of change for European society. It is during this time period that the Industrial Revolution swept across Europe, changing the very structure of society. It can be argued that during this century, the que stion of whether monarchies all over Europe should give way to more republican forms of government came to the forefront of international politics and social movements. With other monarchies facing similar issues, it might be argued that there was an evol ution in 1 Drew, The Imperial Magazine, 14.
65 purpose for monarchies around Europe. It seems as though many societies were questioning whether people exist for the government or whether the government exists for the people. The answer to this question determined the style of monarchy that a country would have. The British sovereigns have become a monarchy that exists for the people, and justifies that existence through charity and the claim that as the head of nation, the sovereign represents the culture of the British people. Further re search into the survival of the British monarchy throughout the nineteenth century would provide a more thorough understanding of why a monarchy still persists in Britain today. Over centuries, England s constitutional monarchy has a history that far predates the restraints on William and Victoria s power. England s Parliament has demonstrated an enormous amount of government power in relation to the sovereigns that many other countries similar governing bodies did not have. It is probable that havi ng this sort of check on the monarchy s powers shaped the way the English people envisage their sovereigns. Factors such as the spread of education and religious reform movements in England might give insight into how or why the way English subjects envisa ged their sovereigns changed. The evolution of public relations between sovereigns and the ir people and the dissemination of information regarding political and national leaders should not be underestimated. The evolution of informational technologies su ch as photography, printed material, and now the internet and social networking websites have certainly had an effect in organizing information and creating public opinion regarding government and other public figures. Since the nineteenth century, the q uestion of relevance has pervaded the discussion about how the monarchy functions. The fact that the British Parliament is the
66 primary agent of government challenges whether the monarchy really is essential to the British government. Even today, people a rgue about whether the English monarchy ought to continue or whether it has become a living anachronism. The study of the ways in which the monarchy survived political and social movements that challenged its existence gives new understanding to the curre nt British monarchy and its purpose. It creates a starting point for discussing the relevance of having a monarchy continue into and through the twenty first century.
67 Figures Figure 1 Edwin Landseer, Windsor Castle in Modern Times (1841 1845). Royal Collection, United Kingdom
68 Figure 2 Johan Zoffany, The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York (1764). Royal Collection (Buckingham Palace, London, UK?).
69 Appendix 1: The Hanoverian Family Tree
70 Appendix 2: The Saxe Coburg Family Tree
71 Appendix 3: The Saxe Meiningen Family Tree
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