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A German Princess’ visit to Windsor Castle – Royal Central

A German Princess’ visit to Windsor Castle – Royal Central

I first encountered Princess Louise Henriette Wilhelmine of Anhalt-Dessau (1750-1811) in Wörlitz, on an tour from Berlin as a part of a cultural journey programme in 2009. The English panorama gardens have been the primary cause for the Englandreise, or journey to England undertaken by the younger Princess Louise and her husband, the reigning Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) in the summertime and autumn of 1775. The backyard at Whitton close to Twickenham options as a wall portray within the Garderobe Room at Schloss Wörlitz as do views of the panorama backyard at West Wycombe, a unprecedented sight to discover in Saxony-Anhalt. The good panorama backyard kingdom that surrounds the palace of Wörlitz was one of many first and largest English panorama gardens to be created in Germany and the significance of that is instantly obvious to any English customer.

I used to be notably to learn whether or not Louise visited any of the British royal palaces, as her journey to England, in fact, passed off in the course of the reign of King George III. I questioned whether or not there is perhaps any materials comparable to the journey letters of Leopold Mozart, who recorded his experiences of the Mozart household’s journey to London in fascinating element, such because the visits paid to the Queen’s Home [later Buckingham Palace] shortly after their arrival in April 1764 after which every week later, of strolling in St James’s Park when ‘the King [George III] came driving past with the Queen [Queen Charlotte]: and although we were wearing different clothes, they still recognised us… the King opened the window, leant out and, laughing, greeted us and especially our Master Wolfgang as he was driving past…’ (cit., ed. Cliff Eisen, Mozart: A Life in Letters, 36).

The distinctive journal written by Princess Louise – the only account written down on the journey – paperwork the experiences and emotions of a cultured and very well-read (royal) lady on the time of the Enlightenment and allows us to encounter a Europe on the street, which we glimpse by way of her travels, rendered all of the extra recent by the truth that her observations have been recorded on a journey that was undertaken incognito. The unquestionable socio-political content material of such a report, apart from its wealthy historic worth also needs to be thought-about alongside the very actual significance that the journal represents, as a personal journal written down by a lady of Louise’s rank and emotional complexion, who clearly responded each intellectually and behaviourally to the century during which she lived.

Her journal data her curiosity about her surroundings and the locations she visited and the identical enquiry appears – maybe unconsciously – to be additionally directed at herself, once more, typical of the age through which she lived. Fittingly, this similar journal describes a gathering with the good thinker Rousseau in Paris, en route again to Germany. She loved and located fulfilment within the friendships of her feminine contemporaries and admired particularly, the work of the celebrated artist, Angelica Kauffmann, who painted her in 1796, some twenty one years after the English journey. Later journeys took Louise to Switzerland (1802) and to Italy.

Princess Louise of Anhalt-Dessau, portrait by Angelica Kauffmann, 1796. [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Princess Louise’s diary of her England journey has by no means been translated into English as a quantity; it was skillfully transcribed in 2007 and its publication made attainable by the Bernhard F. Rohe Fonds of the Society of the Pals of the Dessau-Wörlitz Backyard Kingdom e.V . I translated passages for Stowe Faculty from entries made while Princess Louise and her husband have been staying at Stowe as friends of Richard Grenville, 2nd Earl Temple; these shed sudden mild on the character of Earl Temple, displaying him extra sympathetically that hitherto held perceptions of him. Equally, the Dessau-Wörlitz Cultural Basis kindly permitted me to translate passages from the diary which the Princess wrote in Tub once I was writing an article about Princess Louise within the metropolis, A German Princess in Tub. Subsequently, extracts from her unique journals between 1795 and 1811 have been transcribed into German and revealed in 2010. I proceed to return to the diary, with an purpose to translate passages and apply them to themed articles as a part of ongoing analysis.

The Englandreise journal can presently be learn solely in German transcription. The invention of this journal in 2007 was for me, a exceptional one. Contained inside it are many desirable observations of socio-historical significance, all of the extra fascinating as a result of they’re written down by an writer who encounters the England of George III by way of recent eyes as a newcomer and data their impressions with out indigenous information. These extraordinary observations have been documented as they have been encountered, thereby bringing new life to an expertise written down so way back.

The journal of Princess Louise can also be distinctive in the best way that not solely is it that of a royal feminine’s personal observations of her experiences and feelings throughout her travels, it additionally reveals a kind of one-sided dialogue inside a wider didactic. One senses that Louise is educating herself about herself, maybe an unconscious train, while merely recording her ideas. This dialog with herself acts subsequently as a written mirror and was completely retaining with the philosophical examination in addition to the sensibility of the age.

However this self-dialogue was additionally maybe for a sensible objective; it was additionally a type of stimulation and firm. Princess Louise knew subsequent to no English on the time of the England visit, and we glimpse, subsequently, social loneliness and exclusion within the journal alongside a rising sense of alienation, notably in Tub, the place she stayed for a number of months with Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz, who was additionally taking the waters within the metropolis. Not solely was most of trendy Tub society not then in season, however there have been few ladies with whom she was in a position to converse, because the Prince was surrounded by solely male firm and the Prince knew English, while she didn’t. Seldom was she in a position to discover a feminine from amongst Tub society who might converse together with her in French. Princess Louise’s frustration over the lack to talk was additionally compounded by the truth that a instructor in Tub was engaged to instruct her, who himself, knew no German. Princess Louise wrote the journal of her England journey in a German Gothic script whose language is essentially colloquial; this additional contributes to the impression when studying it, that the Princess is speaking not to herself, however moderately, with herself.

The chief purpose of the England journey of 1775 was to visit the various celebrated English panorama gardens of their unique type, the additional affect of which might be taken again to Dessau-Wörlitz, the place their results can nonetheless clearly be seen at the moment. The relief of the strictly formal baroque backyard which sought to form and impose energy on the panorama regularly shifted in favour of pure design, through which the panorama ‘gardened’ itself. This discovered a direct echo in Neo-Classicism, the place Palladian structure laid down the rules for perfection within the simplicity of its strains and proportions. We’d add to this the necessary proven fact that with the decision for social reforms and the century’s notion of ‘liberty’, panorama design turned extra naturalised – a unique sort of political gardening to say, the gardening of Empire at Kew.

While in England, Princess Louise visited numerous essential panorama gardens, akin to these at Oatlands, Stowe, Stourhead and Rousham, while additionally visiting parks and decorative farms reminiscent of Wooburn. Princess Louise and her husband additionally stayed in London, the place they rented dwelling quarters in Previous Bond Road. Her journal paints a vibrant paper portrait of London cultural life within the mid-1770s, with a visit to the British Museum and the favored pleasure gardens of Vauxhall and Ranelagh, the place the boy Mozart had visited while in London, slightly below ten years beforehand.

George III was the primary of the Hanoverian monarchs to stay at Windsor together with his household, and the remaining royal residences in any other case related to George III and Queen Charlotte are, in fact, the Queen’s Home, Frogmore and Kew. The Queen’s Home was the London residence of George III and the Royal Household and had been the place Queen Charlotte gave delivery to all however considered one of their fifteen youngsters.

I sifted the journal of Princess Louise for references to any of the British royal palaces. There’s all the time particular anticipation in doing this with an account (comparatively) just lately transcribed as a result of its content material has in all probability not been learn by an English-speaking viewers. The English journal has up to now, been of nice curiosity to German readers as a cultural journey diary of the interval. Studying it in German as an Englishwoman is, subsequently, a considerably distinctive expertise.

Princess Louise of Anhalt-Dessau, by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein, 1794. [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Though Princess Louise doesn’t personally meet King George III, there’s a temporary, intriguing entry in her diary for 28 July 1775, the place she data a drive together with her husband to St James’s Park: ‘As it was Court Day, the King [George III] had to be transported from his house [Queen’s Home?] to the Castle [Windsor]. I stayed subsequently with Erdmannsdorff and Raumer, strolling up and down. The Prince [typically, this is how Louise always refers to her husband] distanced himself with Morgan. The King quickly got here – or moderately, the post-chaise, by which he sat. He had, nevertheless, leant again thus far that I couldn’t glimpse him. From there we went to [see] the elephants of the Queen…’ (cit., ed. Johanna Geyer-Kordesh, Die Englandreise der Fürstin Louise von Anhalt-Dessau im Jahr 1775, 94).

These elephants have been presumably unique presents introduced to Queen Charlotte for causes of political diplomacy; I ponder whether they could have been stored someplace close to St James’s, probably on the Queen’s Home. The Princess can’t imply the menagerie at Windsor Nice Park at Sandpit Gate, as a result of a visit to Windsor Castle is handled individually and the menagerie at Windsor was not established for George III however was the place extra famously, George IV stored the unique animals that got to him by numerous pashas and sultans. The Windsor menagerie was, nevertheless, already in existence in 1775, because it was established for George II’s son, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (Elizabeth Jane Timms, The Misplaced Royal Zoo at Windsor, Royal Central, 2018). Equally, though Charles II fed geese at St James’s Park, there isn’t a point out of elephants that I can discover at St James’s. The birds introduced to the Park weren’t given till 1837, the yr of William IV’s dying and Queen Victoria’s accession. London Zoo didn’t open till 1828, whither the animals remaining within the Tower of London’s menagerie have been transferred. An elephant was among the many political presents given to an English – not British – monarch, as soon as on the Tower of London, however this elephant was to anticipate the reign of George III by over 5 hundred years.

Of specific curiosity is Princess Louise’s visit to Windsor Castle on 24 September 1775 – her twenty-fifth birthday. This report is of especial worth I consider, given the truth that Windsor Castle is so intently related to George III and his household, with the interior royal residences past the Terrace, often known as the Queen’s Lodge and Decrease Lodge respectively. Louise visits Windsor Castle earlier than the thorough remodelling of the Castle made within the 1820s underneath George IV together with his architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville however after Charles II’s transformation of the Castle’s interiors. She describes the strategy: ‘We drove on to Windsor. The closer one approaches this place, the more the region resembles ours. At midday, around 2 o’clock in all probability, we arrived there, climbed out on the Castle after which went on the Terrace, from which one has a fairly wonderful view. The Thames weaves itself by way of the inexperienced panorama in little curves. We additionally climbed up the Castle Tower [Round Tower], the place one can see astonishingly far spherical about, most of which is all flat plain’ (cit., Ibid, pp. 190-191).

Louise continues: ‘After this, we viewed the Royal Apartments, the Chapel and Gallery where the Knights of the Garter gather and eat after the ceremony [installation] which is performed in the great Church [St George’s Chapel]. There are some excellent work by Rubens and numerous Italian painters. The Flats are all giant, appropriately organized for courtly festivities, as they have been in all probability used on the time of Charles II. Additionally, there’s a cupboard of portraits of many lovely ladies who he had at his courtroom [the Windsor Beauties] – however all of this has a depressing impact, because the King seldom comes right here…’ (cit., Ibid, 191).

The Windsor Beauties hung on the Palace of Whitehall after the dying of Anne Hyde; they have been later moved to Windsor, the place they hung within the Queen’s Bedchamber in the course of the reign of Queen Anne. The Beauties have been recorded at Hampton Courtroom Palace by the reign of William IV (Elizabeth Jane Timms, Wanting on the Ladies behind the Windsor Beauties, Royal Central, 2017).

‘The chatelaine, who guided us around had probably shown so many what she showed us and thereby learnt her script so entirely by heart – which she with monotone tone up to 3 or 4 times repeated to us and so miserably relayed – that one could get quite dizzy and sleep because of the effect. Afterwards, we went to the Church [St George’s Chapel] the place Charles I is claimed to lie buried…’ (cit., Ibid, 191).

Charles II had ordered designs to be made in 1678 for a mausoleum for Charles I, however the undertaking was by no means realised. The coffin of Charles I remained in its unique place of burial since 1649 – the vault of King Henry VIII and Queen Jane Seymour, within the Quire at St George’s Chapel – till its discovery in 1813, while preparations have been been made for the burial of Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick (Sophia Dicks, The King’s Blood, 7). Princess Louise visited St George’s Chapel, subsequently, at a time when the situation of the King’s burial website was as but nonetheless undiscovered.

Princess Louise’s visit to Windsor ends with the next few strains: ‘Afterwards we drove through the Park [Great Park] – which was known to me already through Pope – beautiful it is and vast – but our woods, our forests are far more beautiful. After five we came to Staines, where we ate, my health was drunk, I wrote in this book and drank tea and went to bed…’ (cit., Ibid, 191). The reference to Pope alludes to his poem Windsor Forest; it might have been contained inside the volumes of Pope’s full works, which have been stored within the Palace library at Wörlitz and subsequently accessible to Princess Louise as studying materials (Ibid, 265).

These temporary passages open a window to us, nevertheless small, on British cultural historical past, politics and society, as encountered by a traveller whose phrases have hitherto remained, hidden in transcription.

©Elizabeth Jane Timms, 2019