Princess Sophia Charlotte 200 years ago a black princess, from a German principality married the King of England, George 111(1760-1820). She had become the Queen of England during a time of an expanding English empire with the colonisation of Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and the West Indies. There were also reverses with the loss of the American colonies and problems in Europe with Napoleons advances and the French revolution. Although Charlotte never recorded the events of her time, 444 letters survive which she had written to her older brother and confidant, the Grand Duke Charles 11 of Mecklenburg- Sherlitz (1794-1816) Princess Sophia Charlotte was born on May 19th 1744, the eighth child of Prince of Mirow, Charles Louis Fredrick and wife Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen. In August 1761 her brother and dying mother signed the marriage contract with the then English king George 111 of the house of Hanover. Aged 22 the king had chosen Charlotte then 17 years old to be his bride. The contract written in Latin contained conditions which stated that she should leave for England immediately, join the Anglican church, marry according to its rights and not become involved in politics, all of which she fulfilled. Eight days after her mothers death she left for England never to see her homeland again. On August 28th, 1761 she boarded the yacht ‘Royal Charlotte’ to sail to England. The voyage was so rough her maids were rendered unfit to serve her. She consoled herself by singing and playing the harpsichord. She also began to learn English a language not taught in the court of Newstrelitz. Charlotte was accompanied to England by Mademoiselle Selzer and Madame De Grabow, both German tutors who instructed her in German, French and Italian languages, literature and geography. She was also instructed in the fine art of dancing, drawing, singing and the playing of several musical instruments. Lutheran theologian Gentzmer taught her the basics of religion, natural philosophy, mineral logy and botany. She was awarded the honary title of ‘Queen of Botany’ as a result of her interest and involvement in the enlargement of the Royal Botanical gardens at Kew. In 1773 the exotic ‘Bird of Paradise’ plant was named after her, Sterilize Regina’ by Sir Joseph Banks, Director of Kew Gardens. As Queen of England Charlotte went on to capture the heart of king George 111 her husband and that of the English people.
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