The Lost Queen: The Life & Tragedy of the Prince Regent’s Daughter  

by Anne Stott

Published by Pen and Sword History

This book poses one of those intriguing “what if?” questions beloved of historians. Had, Princess Charlotte, the only legitimate daughter of the Prince Regent (later George IV) not died in childbirth in 1817, she would have become Queen. We would not have had Queen Victoria and the course of history would have looked quite different.

Born in 1796 into Caroline of Brunswick’s ill fated, desperately unhappy and abusive marriage to the Prince Regent, Charlotte endured a pretty miserable, dysfunctional childhood. Stott’s diligent research reveals a bright girl with an inquisitive mind and, unsurprisingly, given to tantrums. She grew into an awkward teenager whose contact with her volatile mother was patchy and troubled. Her father, meanwhile, seemed to regard her as something of an encumbrance especially in view of her indiscretions and obstinacy.

Then, eventually and against the odds, she found real happiness. A girl in her position was, of course, expected to make a suitable marriage. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was the one she fell for and she was allowed to have her way. Like her niece, Queen Victoria, she found true love in marriage but, in Charlotte’s case, it was tragically short-lived. And, Stott observes, the public was devastated, just as it was 180 years later upon the death on another “People’s Princess”. Reading this engaging biography one wants to reach back through over two centuries and give her a hug: a difficult girl but much more sinned against than sinning. 

Review by Susan Elkin