Does anyone else watch the amazingly awesome Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel? I am being completely honest when I say from now until Christmas my TV will be tuned to the Hallmark Channel whenever Rehab Addict is not on HGTV. But while watching one of those amazingly awesome Hallmark channel Christmas movies, I came across a very confusing plot point of a title passing down from the mother’s side of the family. The title being that of “prince.” I had never heard of such a thing happening, but being the first to admit I’m entirely confused by the British monarchy, as I’m sure many are, I googled it. And as I was trying to find one instance of a male receiving the title of “prince” through his mother’s lineage, I became swamped in an incredibly confusing British title bog.
And this, in turn, led me to this week’s blog post.
The footman reached a narrow set of stairs and went up, opening the solid wooden door at the top. Light spilled through the opening, and Margaret drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with fresh air as she rid them of the stale air of the underground caverns. The room into which the footman had led her was a different one than the one she had been escorted to when she had last had occasion to deliver correspondence to Miss Beaupre. This room was more grandly decorated than the last, and Margaret wondered for a moment if the Prince Regent had ordered the rooms in Kensington Palace redecorated. Given his unhealthy relationship with his wife, the only occupant of the palace currently, Margaret rather doubted it.
This paragraph is deceptively simple when in just a few sentences, I managed to wrap up a rather complex relationship between a man and a woman and a question of authority in the British monarchy during the year 1815. And what does any of this have to do with Kensington Palace?
Well, I’m going to start with a question: who lives in Kensington Palace today? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or Prince William and Princess Kate. They are not the ruling monarchs, right?
The tradition of non-ruling royalty staying in Kensington Palace began during this confusing time of British history. And I’m going to summarize this in bullet points to make it easier to understand:
- King George III went mad. (You may have heard of this movie, The Madness of King George? Yes, that was for real.)
- When he went mad, they put his son, George, Prince of Wales, in charge. He’s referred to as the Prince Regent.
- The Prince Regent was forced to marry his first cousin, Princess Caroline of Brunswick.
- At this time, Kensington Palace was used for only minor royalty, and the Prince Regent and Caroline lived elsewhere in London and abroad. (Most notably Carlton House in London.)
- The Prince Regent hated Caroline and had a lot of mistresses and perhaps an illegal second marriage. (To get into this would require another blog post on the matter.)
- While the Prince Regent was fooling around, it was rumored that Caroline was doing the same, and a commission was brought forth to investigate her extramarital affairs. (It was called the “Delicate Investigation.” I can’t make this stuff up!)
- During this time (which happened to be 1815), Caroline was given an apartment at none other than Kensington Palace.
- Hence, the paragraph above.
Now, an author’s note on the matter:
Other members of the royal family did in fact live in Kensington Palace at this time, but I ignored them for the sake of the story. Authors are allowed to do that. I purposely picked Kensington Palace not only for its location in London, but because of its use as the sort of bastard child of monarch homes. So in the paragraph highlighted above, I created an extra element of uncomfortableness by focusing on the Prince Regent’s estranged relationship with his wife to add further tension to the overall narrative.
This for the history –
And this for the absolute entertainment factor –