More info on Sophia and Amelia
Posted by The Mysterious H.C. on September 16, 1998 at 14:51:22:
In response to Illegitimate child, written by Constanza on September 07, 1998 at 15:51:59
From Usenet:From: "John Carmi Parsons"
Subject: Re: George III's daughters
Date: 11 Sep 1998 08:10:02 -0700
Lucille Iremonger, _Love and the Princesses_ (New York: Crowell, 1958) is the only extended treatment I have seen of Princess Sophia's sad story. Though unmarried, she was the mother of a son known as Captain Thomas Garth; the name was that of his adoptive father, a General Garth who was attached to George III's household in some capacity and agreed to raise the boy. Whether he was the "real" father is disputed; according to Iremonger, present-day descendants of the Garth family deny his paternity of the princess' child, and though they confided to Iremonger the name of the man they held responsible, she agreed to respect the confidence and did not publish the name.
(Her book also deals with the suspicions that young Garth was fathered by Sophia's own brother Ernest, duke of Cumberland, the most unpopular of George III's sons, and the evidence that Garth as an adult was able to blackmail the Royal Family successfully over the embarrassing secret of his birth.)
It is thought likely by many historians (including Iremonger) that Sophia's sister Amelia, a lifelong bone-tuberculosis victim, went through a form of marriage with Captain FitzRoy not long before her death at the age of 27. This must have happened with the connivance of her brother the prince of Wales (later George IV), and the destruction early in this century, at the orders of George V, of masses of unpublished archival material relating to George IV has probably deprived us of the proof necessary to establish that a marriage did take place. (In any case, since it took place w/o the permission of George III, who was still sane at the time of Amelia's death, it would not have been a lawful marriage.)
Whether Amelia had borne any children is extremely doubtful. She was already an invalid by the age of 15, the tuberculosis having badly damaged one knee, and even if the disease itself did not affect her fertility, it certainly would have made it unlikely that she could have survived a pregnancy let alone childbirth. That Amelia required almost constant assistance and attention from nurses would have made it virtually impossible that she and FitzRoy were ever able to carry on anything resembling a conjugal relationship.
As Iremonger notes, others of Sophia and Amelia's sisters, most of them kept unwilling spinsters because George III refused to send them out of England to marry, were suspected of love affairs and illegitimate children. The second sister, Augusta, probably did have a relationship of some sort with an Irish general, Sir Brent Spencer, who was buried with Augusta's miniature on his breast.
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