Enlightened Princesses dives into the world of three German Princesses who married into the British royal family. Caroline of Ansbach, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz became either Queen or Princess of Wales (Augusta’s husband predeceased his father, so she never became Queen) and in their respective roles, they became committed patrons of the arts and sciences.
Caroline of Ansbach (1683 – 1737) was the daughter of Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and his second wife, Eleanore of Saxe-Eisenach. She was orphaned at a young age and spent her youth at the court of Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg and his wife, Sophie Charlotte of Hanover. She married the future George II in 1705. Her mother-in-law, Sophia of Hanover, encouraged her to pursue her interests and she quickly learned English and developed an interest in politics.
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744 – 1818) was born as the second daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg, Prince of Mirow and Elizabeth of Saxe-Hildburghausen. She received a well-rounded education and developed a passion for languages. She married George III in 1761, and they had 15 children. His mental illness was of great distress to her, and she energetically supported him publically during his remission from his illness.
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719-1772) was the 13th child of Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha and his wife, Magdelena of Anhalt-Zerbst. After her marriage to Frederick, Prince of Wales, she joined her parents-in-law in their involvement in the arts. Her husband’s sudden death in 1751 meant that she would never be Queen. Her eldest son succeeded as King George III.
Together, the three Princesses left their mark on the world, with the use of wide-reaching philanthropic projects in health and social welfare, exotic plants and birds to create spectacular gardens, educational programs for their children and they were champions of inoculation.
Their interests are brought together in almost 200 objects at Kensington Palace, including 63 items lent by Her Majesty The Queen.
Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World will run from 22 June to 12 November 2017. The exhibition is included in the entrance ticket for Kensington Palace.