Queen Adelaide: A Portrait

Joanna Richardson describes how the prosaic alliance arranged between the middle-aged Duke of Clarence and Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen became at length an extremely happy marriage.

On December 11th, 1849, Queen Victoria, then at Osborne, wrote a letter to the King of the Belgians. ‘I know how you would mourn with us over the death of our beloved Queen Adelaide. We have lost the kindest and dearest of friends, and the universal feeling of sorrow, of regret, and of real appreciation of her character is very touching and gratifying.’

Queen Victoria’s letter expressed genuine regret; it also underlined the fact that the widow of William IV had not always received her due appreciation. And this had been discovered, long ago, by an English artist who painted her portrait. Noticing the redness of her eyes, he had asked her if the light were straining them. ‘It is not that,’ she had replied, in her broken English. ‘It is that I have veept much.’ She had, indeed, deserved a kinder fate.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.