Sunday, 11 August 2013

going back in time - what happened next?

Where were we?  
'Queen' Augusta, Ruling Britannia
Augusta by Angelika Kauffmann,
1767; 
Royal Collection, London
(the baby is probably her eldest son, Karl)


We were imagining what the royal family in Britain might have looked like if George II had changed the rules of succession to stop them being sexist.  Queen Augusta was ruling Britannia, while the next Augusta in line was meeting a sticky end.

Queen Augusta would have ruled from 1760 - 1813 (only seven years short of the real reign of her brother, George III), and on her death, would have been succeeded by her grandson, William.  He would have been William IV, and would be been 31 when he became King.  In real life, William did become a King - King William I of Württemberg (in Germany) in 1816.

When he became our imaginary British King in 1813, William was on his first marriage, to Princess Charlotte of Bavaria.  But they would divorce in 1814, because William had fallen in love with his cousin, Catherine, who was the daughter of Emperor Paul I of Russia.  The two would marry in 1816 and have two daughters: Princess Marie, and Princess Sophie, before Catherine died in 1819, from an infection.

William I of Württemberg.
Our 'King William IV'.
Don't know who did this drawing,
but I got it from Wikipedia
William didn't waste any time in getting remarried.  He married another cousin, Pauline of Württemberg in 1820.  However, by this time, he had taken up an affair with an actress, and he and Pauline's marriage was unhappy.  The extent of their estrangement was revealed when William died in 1864 (age 82), and Pauline was excluded from inheritance.  However, the couple did manage to have three children, the eldest of whom was Princess Catherine, of whom more later.

William would have reigned 1813-1864.  To put this into context, in the real world this covered the reigns of George IV, the real William IV, and part of the reign of Queen Victoria.

When William died, his daughter, Marie, then 48, married to Count Alfred von Neipperg (although surely if she'd been next in line to the throne she'd have had a better class of spouse), and childless, would have succeeded to the throne.  She would remain Queen Marie until 1887, when she died (aged 71).  At this point, as she was childless the next in line would have been her younger sister Sophie.  But sadly Sophie had died in 1877.  Sophie had married very well, becoming the Queen of the Netherlands, however, she didn't think a lot of her husband, and when she died she chose to be buried in her wedding dress, as she felt that was the day her life had ended!  That said, she had of course done her duty, and had three children.  Sadly, only two survived to adulthood, neither had children, and they both died before Queen Marie.


The throne then would pass to the next sister - Catherine, who would become Queen Catherine I (there have been lots of Queen Catherines, but none of them regents).  Catherine would have been 66 at the time, married to her cousin (it was the in thing), Prince Frederick of Württemberg, and mother to just one son.  It was this son, William, who would have succeeded her when she died in 1898.  At that time he would have been 50.  Although I wonder if she might not have abdicated and passed the throne onto him earlier.  What do you think?  William would have been King William V if all this had happened.  As it was, he was King William II of Württemberg (until the monarchy was abolished in 1918).  William was very keen on yachting so would no doubt have enjoyed being King of Britain more than of landlocked Württemberg (although he did form a yacht club there anyway).  William had faced a series of tragedies in his family life.  His first wife, Marie, had died giving birth to their stillborn third child, less than 18 months after the death of their second child, who was their only son.  Although his eldest daughter, Pauline, survived, and he remarried, he never recovered, and had no more children.  William died in 1921, at which point he would have been succeeded by his daughter, Princess Pauline, who was 44.

Pauline - our Queen Pauline
Don't know the photographer,
but what a dress!
Aren't you hoping that Queen Pauline can cheer things up a bit?  Maybe have a happy marriage?  Be a good person?  At least have a good outfit?  Well the good news is that Pauline was a great supported of the Red Cross.  The bad news is that Pauline would have reigned from 1921-1965, and considering that she was a German Princess at the time in real life, it's not going to look good for her is it?

At the time of her ascension to the throne Pauline was married to William Frederick, Prince of Wied.  They had two sons, however their older son died during the Second World War, and in 1948 Pauline herself was indicted by the US for concealing senior Nazis.  She admitted she had, and one was her husband, who had been an SS General.  She is reported to have said to authorities that she didn't know if Hitler was still alive, but "as long as he lives in the hearts of his followers, he cannot die."

Of course, if she'd been the British Queen, Pauline would not have been in Germany, and if she did agree with Hitler, she'd have no doubt had the good sense to keep it to herself, so it's unlikely she'd have been indicted, and very unlikely she'd have been married to an SS General.  What do you think?  Would Pauline have been pro-Hitler if she'd been Queen Pauline?  Would she have kept her mouth shut about it?  Would the US have indicted her if she was Queen?

It was really hard to find a picture of
our 'King Carl' but here he is at the
Rhenish Shooting Federation
Pauline died in 1965, outliving her eldest son.  The throne would therefore pass to his eldest son, Friedrich Wilheim.  He would have been 34 when he became King Frederick (I think it would be King Frederick I - is that right?), at which point he was divorced, and the father of two sons.  He did marry again in 1967.  He and Princess Sophie of Stolberg-Stolberg had two children together.  Frederick himself died in 2000, passing his titles on to his eldest son, Prince Alexander.  However, Alexander renounced the title, so the second son, Carl, would have become King Carl I.  Carl would still be on the throne now.  In 1998 Carl married Princess Isabelle of Isenburg, and the two have four children.  FYI the next in line to the throne would be young Maximilian of Wied (born in 1999).

Have you noticed a German theme in these alternative routes for the monarchy?

My friend, Lucy, has suggested that one of the Henry's wanted his daughter to succeed him.  I'm going to look into that, and see what I come up with.  See you soon.