The Midnight Flit AKA the worst husbanding ever (seriously, the worst!!!)

Prince Frederick was – if I’m being honest – a bit of a dick. The oldest son and heir to King George II, he was a constant pain in his parents arse.

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This guy – even the cherubs are rolling their eyes

The newly dubbed Prince of Wales made the most of his royal title; gambling, commissioning great music and of course getting off with as many women as possible (despite supposedly looking like a ‘frog’) …naturally the English loved him for it.

Sadly his parents did not. To say they hated their son would be an understatement; his mum, Queen Caroline, once called Frederick:

‘the greatest ass and the greatest liar and the greatest canaille and the greatest beast in the whole world…and I heartily wish he were out of it. ’

Luckily Frederick wasn’t upset by his Mum actively wanting him dead, because he hated her just as much, if not more!!

But why?

The blunt answer is… fuck knows! Nobody at court could see a clear reason for either sides intense loathing. The Royal family just hated each other.

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Real footage of the Georgian court  via giphy

It soon became time for England’s future monarch to marry. Unsurprisingly Frederick and his parents couldn’t agree on who should be his bride, With each side refusing the others suggestions, because you know, hate etc.

Side Bar: Weirdly, Frederick almost married Lady Diana Spencer, whose parents were offering a frankly enormous dowery (which handily would have paid off all of his gambling debts!) unfortunately for Fred his Dad scuppered the unsuitable marriage at the last minute…but we very almost had a Prince of Wales and Princess Diana 200 years early.

With Diana out of the picture, who would be the lucky lady to marry into this shit shack of a family dynamic?

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Meet Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a real loser in royal blind date

At just 16, Augusta was shipped off (speaking no English, btw!) to become the future Queen of England.

Augusta wasn’t hugely mature; still playing with dolls and not able to notice when Frederick was having affairs literally in front of her. But, somehow, less than a year into the marriage she fell pregnant.

Frederick was thrilled at Augustas news and immediately started plotting ways to ensure his parents stayed out of his child’s life. Because…priorities.

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Freds gonna be such a good Dad…  via giphy

Frederick was adamant that his parents would not be at the birth of his child. To say this was unheard of would be an understatement.

It was protocol for the reigning monarch to be at royal births and doubly expected for senior royal family members to be there…Fred barring his parents was a royal no no.

But Frederick didn’t care about that, he just didn’t want people he hated at the birth of his first born child…which you know, seems fair. Sadly, what happens next is less ok.

On 30th July 1737, Augusta and Frederick were having dinner at Hampton Court Palace (as you do) when Augusta started to have cramps which quickly transpired to be contractions.

It was go time!

Unluckily for the couple, King George II and Queen Caroline lived at Hampton Court Palace; Fredericks plans to block them out of the birth had immediately gone tits up!

But Frederick wasn’t giving up that easily. There was no way his Mum and Dad were wrecking this moment for him!! So he waited until the dead of night and then – whilst trying to keep Augustas cries of pain to a minimum – Frederick bundled the terrified 16 year old into a carriage, which was sent tearing across London for St James Palace.

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Very bad husband-ing Fred! Very very bad!!! via giphy

It was crucial that Augusta only give birth in the Palace – Fredericks heir couldn’t be born on the side of the road!

So though each cobblestone the rickity carriage rode over resulted in a fresh wave of pain and a speedier labour, the teenager would just have to cross her legs until she reached the Palace gates.

And, miraculously Augusta made it to the Palace gates, sans baby between her legs. More miraculously an impromptu high speed midnight dash across London in a rickety wooden box somehow didn’t create a terrible labour and on 31st July Augusta gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Both baby and Mum came out of the labour fighting fit. Great news, right?

Sadly not. See it was a baby girl. Not a boy.  Frederick might not have bothered working so hard to bar his parents from the birth if he’d known it would be a girl (eeew girls)

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Giving birth to girls. not cool. via giphy

Still, despite the gender, when King George II and Queen Caroline  heard that their grandchild had been born without them, they were seriously pissed off.

The royal couple made their way across London to visit the new born, where Queen Caroline earned the title of Grandmother of the year after taking one look at the baby and calling her:

‘poor, ugly little she-mouse’

 

Frederick, Augusta and their new born were promptly kicked out of court. But that didn’t stop Fred from pissing off his parents! He opened a new court; a younger, cooler court (with sex, booze and awesome music)

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I’m not saying its basically this….but it kinda is   via giphy

Frederick and his parents never made up. Queen Caroline died without speaking to her son. Father and son continued their fight (its what Caroline would have wanted) until  Frederick fell desperately ill.

Fred would never get to be the world most petty King. He died in 1751, aged 44. Of course, his eldest born didn’t get the crown (eeew girls) instead, his second eldest George, ascended the throne in 1761, becoming George III …. but thats a story for another day!!

The Princess in the tower, and the skeleton under the floorboards

The excellently named Sophia Dorothea was born in 1666 the only child of the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who ruled the Celle portion of the Duchy of Brunswick. Sophia’s mother was the Dukes long standing mistress Éléonore Marie d’Esmier d’Olbreuse, who he quickly married after Sophia’s birth.

It was a scandalous start to a life that would see Royal coverups, affairs and murder. With Sophia cementing her place in history as England’s lost Queen.

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A miniature of Sophia Dorothea

By the time Sophia reached marrying age she was something of a certified beauty, skilled at a whole host of ‘womanly pursuits’ (i.e music and sewing…) and was funny and smart to boot. Girl was a catch!

Sadly for Sophia, she had no say in who she married. So rather than marrying any of the eligiable suitors who she might have lived happily ever after with, she had to go with her parents first choice -her first cousin George Ludwig.

In addition to being her cousin, George was THE WORST. Rude, loud, and aggressive but not too smart, George was notoriously quick to anger. He was also vindictive and obnoxious.

The only thing going for George was the fact that he was heir to Hanover.

A marriage between George and Sophia would mean that George’s family would rule both Hanover and Celle. So despite the fact that Georges family hated Sophia (due to her low birth) all parties involved were for the marriage.

Well, apart from Sophia. Who when told about the engagement, promptly threw Georges portrait across the room.

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To be fair to Sophia, look at George…wouldnt you want to chuck his portrait?

The marriage, unsurprisingly, didn’t get off to a good start.

Sophia struggled to fit into her new world. Not helped by her new mother in law who constantly called Sophia out and bitching about her with the court.

Sophia’s new husband was not any better (like you were expecting him to be…) he was stand off-ish and spent very little time with his new wife, going away whenever he could.

He also created a network of spies so he could know what Sophia was doing at all times – which is super normal and healthy.

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By the way, this kind of behaviour is a HUGE red flag and sign to get the fuck out

Yet, somehow the pair had not one but two babies, with George (who later became King George ll of England) both in 1683 and Sophia (later, Queen of Prussia) in 1687. With an heir and a spare in the bag, George saw his job as over.

So George started having very public affairs, notably with two women nicknamed The Beanpole and The Elephant.

To add to this, George was physically abusive towards Sophia.  He would beat her in public and on one occasion nearly strangled her, an act of violence that was witnessed by a room full of people.

That was just what George did it public. We don’t know what went on behind closed doors, but we can imagine.

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Sophia with her children

Neglected and isolated, Sophia found solace in an old friend. Swedish Count, Philipp Christoph von Königsmark (try saying that 5 times fast).

The pair had had met in Sophia’s homeland just before her marriage to George. Whilst Sophia had gone to Hanover, Phillip traveled to England, becoming a favourite in the court of Charles ll and creating something of a Casanova like persona – bedding countless countesses (and the odd Duchess).

The rekindled friendship with Phillip was a life line for Sophia. She started to become healthier and happier, something that was noted by Hanovers courtiers. Though they knew George wouldn’t approve of the friendship, the court did. Sophia was overdue some happiness.

But then Philipp and Sophia became more than friends.

The pair were spotted writing each other love messages on the palace windows, and exchanging romantic letters; one notable line from Philipp is:

“I embrace your knees”

This was a very dangerous game. But the pair continued and by 1690 things had gotten serious. With the couple spending as much time together as possible, and using codes and confidantes to communicate when apart.

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Philipp Christoph von Konigsmark

In 1692, George’s Dad, the King of Hanover, was shown the couples love letters. Angry, he promptly sent Philipp away to fight with the Hanoverian army – with any leave request turned down.

But Philipp was not that easily deterred. He abandoned the army and rode to be with Sophia.

At this point, George found out about the affair. He confronted Sophia and shouting quickly escalated into violence. Sophia only survived the encounter thanks to servants who pulled George off her

NPG D11633,King George I when Elector of Hanover,by and published by; after John Smith; Johann Leonhard Hirschmann
George- Future King and notorious dick

Following this terrifying meeting with her husband, Sophia and Philipp hatched a plan to escape Hanover together and elope.

BUT the plan was quickly foiled – word got round to George and his Dad and the lovers plans were put to an abrupt stop.

Philipp was ambushed, and in an attack that would later be covered up, he was murdered.

Several court insiders would admit on their deathbeds to being involved in the death, but none would say how Philipp died or where his body lay.

Popular legend said Philipp’s body was covered in quicklime and buried under the still bloody floorboards of the castle

Hysterical, Sophia was held under house arrest in her rooms.

George managed to divorce Sophia and she was found guilty of malicious desertion.

Then George ordered that his wive be locked away in Castle Ahlden. Her right to see her children was cut and the only visitor permitted was to be her mother.

Sophia remained captive, locked away in her castle, for 30 years. Until she died in 1726.

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But what happened to George? Well George went on and became King of Great Britain and Ireland- King George l, the first of the Hanoverian line.

When he arrived in England he turned up speaking very little English and with his two loyal mistresses in tow- The Beanpole and The Elephant. But rumours of his ill fated wife and her lover continued to swirl. Dogging George until still his dying day.

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