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African HistoryCharlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz - The First Queen Of England Of African Descent

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – The First Queen Of England Of African Descent

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz originally Sophie Charlotte was the Electress of Hanover and Queen Consort of Hanover. Queen Charlotte’s lineage has been a major topic of historical inquiry and all shreds of evidence suggest that she had African ancestry. She is also regarded as one of the most influential queen consorts in the history of England. It is believed that she descended from Margarita de Castro e Souza, an African noblewoman. Queen Charlotte was the wife of King George III.

Sophie Charlotte was born on May 19, 1744, in Germany, Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a minute north German dukedom in the Holy Roman Empire. Queen Charlotte was the youngest daughter of Princess Elizabeth Albertine Saxe-Hildburghausen and Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, otherwise known as Prince of Mirow. Growing up, she was exposed to proper education, could speak French and German, and later learnt English. She was also interested in natural history and botany. Her education was considered to be less extraordinary.

Queen Charlotte is directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family, related to Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman nine generations removed, whose ancestry she traces from the 13th-century ruler Alfonso III and his lover Madragana. They were moors and thus black Africans.

At the age of 17, a marriage was arranged between Charlotte and King George III of England. At the age of 22, King George inherited the throne after the death of his grandfather. The King’s mother perceived Charlotte to be a great prospect for marriage to her son due to her innocence and the protocols that came with life as a major royal figure. As a result, on September 8, 1761, Charlotte and King George tied the knot, marking the beginning of her remarkable journey as queen consort.

King George III and Queen Charlotte were simply great lovers of German Music. Leopold Mozart published six sonatas composed by Wolfgang, known as Mozart’s Opus 3, that were dedicated to the Queen on January 18, 1765. Queen Charlotte deeply appreciated the arts and became a passionate patroness. She supported numerous artists, musicians, and playwrights, contributing to the flourishing cultural scene in England. Queen Charlotte can be credited with playing a vital role in fostering a sense of national pride in the arts.

On August 12, 1762, the King and Queen welcomed their first child, a son, the Prince of Wales. He would later become King George IV. In total, they had a large family with 15 children. Queen Charlotte played a central role in raising and educating her children, instilling a sense of duty and responsibility in them. She protected her children and ensured that her daughters were kept in close range.

The relationship between Queen Charlotte and her mother-in-law hit rock bottom as the years went by. Her activities were heavily monitored and reported back to Princess Augusta, her mother-in-law. She had little or no influence on political issues. However, one of her virtues is that she was respectful and kind to her workers. She was also more interested in German affairs.

In 1788, King George III had one of many attacks. Due to her husband’s sickness, Queen Charlotte isolated herself from King George III; they slept in separate rooms and didn’t share meals. The Queen was petrified by her husband’s behaviour. The sickness had a toll on her and she drowned in depression. She only sought refuge by moving to a new residence and tending to her gardens.

Given her love for flowers and botany, she became acquainted with new species of plants and flowers. The South African flower, the Bird of Paradise was renamed Strelitzia reginae in her honour.

Queen Charlotte and Queen Marie Antoinette were best of friends. They were pen friends and confided in each other often. Before the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette briefed her about the details. When she was executed, Queen Charlotte grieved her loss.

In 1811, King George III became permanently ill. Consequently, Queen Charlotte was appointed as his legal guardian. Their son, the Prince Regent assumed royal power. Due to King George’s violent behaviour, Queen Charlotte refrained from visiting her husband after 1812.

On November 17, 1818, Queen Charlotte died. King George III died 14 months later. Queen Charlotte was the second longest-serving consort in British history; having served 57 years.

Her eldest son, Prince Regent was bestowed with Queen Charlotte’s jewels. All of her other belongings were sold at an auction. There is a statue of Charlotte in Queen Square in Bloomsbury, London, and at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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