Princess Amelia of Great Britain

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Princess Amelia
Portrait by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, c. 1738
Born(1711-06-10)10 June 1711 (New Style)
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Electorate of Hanover, Holy Roman Empire
Died31 October 1786(1786-10-31) (aged 75)
Cavendish Square, Soho, London, Kingdom of Great Britain
Burial11 November 1786
Westminster Abbey, London, England
Amelia Sophia Eleonore[1]
FatherGeorge II of Great Britain
MotherCaroline of Ansbach

Princess Amelia Sophia Eleonore of Great Britain[2] (10 June 1711 (New Style) – 31 October 1786) was the second daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Queen Caroline. Born in Hanover she moved to England[3] when her grandfather, George I became king. Amelia lived a solitary existence and died in 1786 and was the last surviving child of her parents.

Early life[edit]

Princess Amelia[2] was born at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany, on 30 May 1711 (Old Style).[3] At the time of her birth, her father was Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg, son and heir of the Elector of Hanover. Her mother was Caroline of Ansbach, daughter of Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. She was known to her family as Emily.[3]

Great Britain[edit]

On 1 August 1714, Queen Anne of Great Britain and Ireland died. Princess Amelia's grandfather succeeded her to become George I of Great Britain, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701. Amelia's father, now heir apparent to the throne of Great Britain, was made Duke of Cornwall and created Prince of Wales on 27 September 1714. She moved to Great Britain with her family[3] and they took up residence at St James's Palace in London.

Though comparatively healthy as an adult,[4] Amelia was a sickly child[5] and her mother employed Johann Georg Steigerthal and Hans Sloane to treat her, as well as secretly asking physician John Freind for advice.[6] In 1722 her mother, who had progressive ideas, had Amelia and her sister Caroline inoculated against smallpox by an early type of immunisation known as variolation, which had been brought to England from Constantinople by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Charles Maitland.[7] On 11 June 1727, George I died and her father succeeded him as George II. She lived with her father until his death in 1760.

Amelia's aunt Sophia Dorothea, Queen of Prussia suggested Amelia as a suitable wife for her son Frederick (later known as Frederick the Great).[3] Correspondence, planning and negotiations dragged on for years from 1723, accompanied by numerous intrigues and diplomatic interventions by Austria, but his father Frederick William I of Prussia finally backed away from the plan in 1732 and forced his son to marry Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern instead.[8] In 1724 Amelia and her sister the Princess Royal were among the final four candidates for marriage to Louis XV of France. However as this required her to convert to Catholicism, her father prevented the match.[9]

Amelia greatly enjoyed riding and hunting.[10] She was disliked by artistic fops such as John, Lord Hervey, and Lady Pomfret considered her "one of the oddest princesses that ever was known; she has ears shut to flattery and her heart open to honesty."[4]

Lady Isabella Finch became her Lady of the Bedchamber in 1738 or thereabouts.[11] Finch was successful in interceding on behalf of her boss. She would smooth over any difficulties Amelia might have.[11]

Amelia may have been the mother of composer Samuel Arnold (1740–1802) through an affair with a commoner of the name Thomas Arnold.[3][12]

Later life[edit]

In 1751, Princess Amelia became ranger of Richmond Park after the death of Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford. Immediately afterwards, the Princess caused major public uproar by closing the park to the public, only allowing few close friends and those with special permits to enter.[3]

This continued until 1758, when a local brewer, John Lewis, took the gatekeeper, who stopped him from entering the park, to court. The court ruled in favour of Lewis, citing the fact that, when Charles I enclosed the park in the 17th century, he allowed the public right of way in the park. Princess Amelia was forced to lift the restrictions.

The Princess was generous in her gifts to charitable organisations. In 1760 she donated £100 to the society for educating poor orphans of clergymen (later the Clergy Orphan Corporation) to help pay for a school for 21 orphan daughters of clergymen of the Church of England. In 1783 she agreed to become an annual subscriber of £25 to the new County Infirmary in Northampton.

In 1761, Princess Amelia became the owner of Gunnersbury Estate, Middlesex, purchased from the estate of Henry Furnese. Princess Amelia used Gunnersbury as her summer residence. She added a chapel and at some time between 1777 and 1784, she commissioned a bath house, extended as a folly by a subsequent owner of the land in the 19th century, which still stands today with a Grade II English Heritage listing and is known as Princess Amelia's Bathhouse.

She also owned a property in Cavendish Square, Soho, London, where she died unmarried on 31 October 1786, at which time she was the last surviving child of King George II and Queen Caroline. A miniature of her first cousin, Frederick of Prussia, was found on her body.[13] The great king originally intended for her had died two months earlier. She was buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey.[3]


John Croker's medal of 1732 showing the surviving children of King George II: Frederick, William, Anne, Amelia, Caroline, Mary, and Louisa

Amelia Island in Florida, United States, is named for her, as is Amelia County in Virginia, United States.


On 31 January 1719, as a grandchild of the sovereign, Amelia was granted use of the arms of the realm, differenced by a label argent of five points ermine. On 30 August 1727, as a child of the sovereign, Amelia's difference changed to a label argent of three points ermine.[14]

Coat of arms from 30 August 1727



  1. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 24.
  2. ^ a b [1][permanent dead link][2][permanent dead link][3][permanent dead link][4][permanent dead link]The London Gazette refers to her as "(the) Princess Amelia"[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Panton 2011, p. 45.
  4. ^ a b Van der Kiste, p. 130.
  5. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 82.
  6. ^ Alice Marples, The Princess And The Physicians - Georgian Papers Programme
  7. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 83.
  8. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 118.
  9. ^ Clarissa Campbell Orr: Queenship in Europe 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge University Press (2004)
  10. ^ Van der Kiste, pp. 107, 129.
  11. ^ a b Chalus, E. H. (23 September 2004). Finch, Lady (Cecilia) Isabella [Bell] (1700–1771), courtier. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68377.
  12. ^ Robert Hoskins: "Samuel Arnold", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (accessed 19 February 2009), (subscription access) Archived 2000-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 196.
  14. ^ "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family". Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  15. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 55.


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