Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Sophia Charlotte; 19 May 1744 – 17 November 1818) was Queen of Great Britain and of Ireland as the wife of King George III from their marriage on 8 September 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. As George's wife, she was also Electress of Hanover until becoming Queen of Hanover on 12 October 1814, when the electorate became a kingdom. Charlotte was Britain's longest-serving queen consort.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781
Queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland,
Electress/Queen consort of Hanover[lower-alpha 1]
Tenure8 September 1761 – 17 November 1818
Coronation22 September 1761
Born(1744-05-19)19 May 1744
Unteres Schloß, Mirow, Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Holy Roman Empire
Died17 November 1818(1818-11-17) (aged 74)[1]
Kew Palace, Kew, England
Burial2 December 1818
Spouse
(m. 1761)
Issue
Names
Sophia Charlotte
HouseMecklenburg
FatherDuke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg, Prince of Mirow
MotherPrincess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
ReligionProtestant

Charlotte was born into the royal family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a duchy in northern Germany. In 1760, the young and unmarried George III inherited the British throne. As Charlotte was a minor German princess with no interest in politics, George considered her a suitable consort, and they married in 1761. The marriage lasted 57 years, and produced 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. They included two future British monarchs, George IV and William IV; as well as Charlotte, Princess Royal, who became Queen of Württemberg; Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria; Prince Adolphus, grandfather of the British queen consort Mary of Teck; and Prince Ernest Augustus, who became King of Hanover.

Charlotte was a patron of the arts and an amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens. She introduced the Christmas tree to Britain, after decorating one for a Christmas party for children from Windsor in 1800. She was distressed by her husband's bouts of physical and mental illness, which became permanent in later life. She maintained a close relationship with Queen Marie Antoinette of France, and the French Revolution likely enhanced the emotional strain felt by Charlotte. Her eldest son, George, was appointed as prince regent in 1811 due to the increasing severity of the King's illness. Charlotte died in November 1818 with her son George at her side. Charlotte's husband, who was likely unaware of her death, died a little over a year later.


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