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The Daughters of George III (Hardback)

Sisters and Princesses

British History P&S History Social History Women of History 18th Century Royal History

By Catherine Curzon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473897533
Published: 30th August 2020

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RRP £19.99

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In the dying years of the 18th century, the corridors of Windsor echoed to the footsteps of six princesses. They were Charlotte, Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia, and Amelia, the daughters of King George III and Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Though more than fifteen years divided the births of the eldest sister from the youngest, these princesses all shared a longing for escape. Faced with their father’s illness and their mother’s dominance, for all but one a life away from the seclusion of the royal household seemed like an unobtainable dream.

The six daughters of George III were raised to be young ladies and each in her time was one of the most eligible women in the world. Tutored in the arts of royal womanhood, they were trained from infancy in the skills vial to a regal wife but as the king’s illness ravaged him, husbands and opportunities slipped away.

Yet even in isolation, the lives of the princesses were filled with incident. From secret romances to dashing equerries, rumours of pregnancy, clandestine marriage and even a run-in with Napoleon, each princess was the leading lady in her own story, whether tragic or inspirational. In The Royal Nunnery: Daughters of George III, take a wander through the hallways of the royal palaces, where the king’s endless ravings echo deep into the night and his daughters strive to be recognised not just as princesses, but as women too.

Solid crash course for some royal lives and a generally quick read - good choice for someone interested in an overview of these Princesses' lives.

NetGalley, Courtney Beresheim

As someone who's interested in British history but not very familiar with the details of George III's reign, this book was a great primer about what was going on behind the palace doors. It was interesting to learn more about the princesses, especially their upbringings and thwarted love lives.

NetGalley, Valerie Falkow

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As someone who's read about mad king George and Prinny on numerous occasions, I was still quite ignorant regarding the rest of the family so jumped at the opportunity to read more about them, and this book didn't disappoint. It is laid out really well, starting by showing how the children were brought up and age differences etc, then it branched out to looking at each daughters life in turn, which was great as it allows the reader to follow along easily without getting muddled as to where each was up to which would've happened if the book was in chronological order telling all the stories simultaneously. I gobbled up this book in 1 afternoon, but apparently I am a quick reader and often finish a book in half the time of family and friends so don't think this is a short book. As someone who reads many non fiction historical novels and magazines etc, I can honestly say this way well written and researched, and very enjoyable. I would highly recommend this book and will be looking out for further books from this author.

NetGalley, Saffron Melnyk

I was pleased to receive this book for early review and found that it did not disappoint all of the hopes and expectations I had before reading it! Having always been fascinated by royal lives and the "behind the scenes look" into such fascinating individuals, I devoured this book quite quickly. I particularly enjoyed how each daughter was discussed individually and I was able to learn a lot more about each girl that I previously had heard or read very little about. This book is obviously well researched and it is written in a way that is appealing and easy to read. I recommend this to the fullest!

NetGalley, Larinda Agee

This book will open your eyes to what really went on with these demure, rosy-cheeked women.

Read the full review here

Love British History

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love to find out about the unsung women of history, and I enjoyed this account of the lives of the daughters of George III. Each princess is dealt with in turn, and it's fascinating to find out the different challenges each one experiences throughout their lives, which often took very different turns. The writing style is informal and at times, funny - I would have loved to have seen more descriptions of the scenes but I think that's just personal preference. Very interesting to find out more about these ladies, and there's definitely a lot here to learn, especially if you're interested in women's history.

NetGalley, Jo Romero

Mad King George III and his wife, Charlotte, had 15 children - 6 of them daughters. Educated and trained to be married to royalty, they were for the most part instead confined to stay with their mother, and only allowed to be married much later in life. They still managed to find their own particular talents and occasionally to create their own happiness - or scandal. This is an overview of the lives of the six girls, with additional information on their brothers and parents. Very informative, and a pretty quick read. I knew nothing about this family, for the most part, so I found it interesting, if not completely riveting. I particularly enjoyed learning more about King George himself. If you like British history, or the history of royals, then you should enjoy this book. Many thanks to Netgalley and Pen and Sword History for the e-arc. I always enjoy learning something new! 4 stars.

NetGalley, Lori Hardy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rarely is enough attention given to royal ladies, particularly when they are dwarfed by a father who suffered from a debilitating mental illness and a slew of havoc wreaking brothers! While some might argue that the daughters of George III are.....'just not that interesting'.....I beg to differ.

The power behind Curzon's biographies of the princesses lies in the fact that they were never truly allowed to reach their full potential due to the nature of their upbringing and their tyrannical royal parents. As a reader, we are provided with glimpses of the women whom they perhaps could have become if they were actually allowed to naturally grow into their talents. Instead, we are presented with delicious scandal and heartbreaking monotony in the ways in which the princesses attempt to rebel and carve out a little slice of life that can simply be their own.

Taking you through the trajectory of each royal daughter, Catherine Curzon manages to draw the reader in quite masterfully.

NetGalley, Sydney Harper

A wonderfully detailed and well researched book filled with stories of Royal life in Georgian days. I would strongly recommend it to anybody that loves a trip through history! The sisters’ stories will entrance you.

NetGalley, Linda Clark

This is a really enjoyable read and introduction into the lives of the six daughters of George III.

The writing style is informal and chatty which works well when exploring what is known about the princesses and their (mostly) private lives, particularly the gossip that surrounded them at the time!

A section is devoted to each Princess, providing an overview of their entire life. Impressively, the book remains quite succinct and while the girls lived very interconnected lives there is little replication of details and events.

There were some occasions when a big time jump in the narrative would occur but overall it felt like everything important was covered and I’d rather it stuck mostly to what is known rather than speculation to fill the gaps

Quotes and extracts from newspapers of the time and letters from principle players are scattered throughout the book and were well chosen, adding another layer to the narrative.

Finishing this book, I really feel I have come away with a better idea of the Princesses as individuals. Surprisingly, my opinion of the Prince Regent (future George IV) has also changed somewhat after considering him from the perspective of his sisters rather than his parents which is more commonly explored.

NetGalley, Sophie Reid

I enjoyed the author's sometimes cheeky tone, and she had definitely done her research. I didn't know much about these women beforehand; what a fascinating but sad time to be a royal woman. This was an easy, enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Jennifer Slate

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read all the other books by Catherine Curzon. I have especially enjoyed the books on the Georgian kings and Georgian Queens. Now I have had the pleasure of reading about King George III's and Queen Charlotte's six daughters. George and Charlotte had fifteen children, nine sons, and six daughters. This is truly remarkable because not only did Charlotte survive fifteen births in an age of high maternal deaths but all fifteen children survived infancy and only two died in childhood.
The author starts the books by giving a brief overview of the parents, their early marriage, the early days of the family, and the parenting style of George and Charlotte. The book also explains the spectacular failure of George's sister's marriage in Denmark and the unsuitable marriages of George's brothers. These incidents explains George's extreme reluctance to marry off his daughters. Charlotte wanted to keep her daughters with her as George's mental and physical health declined. After this overview the author gives each daughter her own chapter to tell her own story. Each account is lively, not just dry history. I enjoyed the book. The book is complete with footnotes, a bibliography and photos.

NetGalley, Barbara Schuur

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was expecting to greatly enjoy this book, not to fall in love with it as much as I have come to do. For the size of the book it is, I would normally take on average four days to read through it but this one took me only two days. I'm sure it would have been one day if I could return to my teenage days and build a nest in my bed supplied with food and water.

I love that there is a movement in the historical world to shine a spotlight on the supporting cast of well-known characters. As we all know George III was known for his madness and his wayward sons but what of his daughters? George and his wife had 15 surviving children, a great feat in the Georgian era, and six of them were daughters: Charlotte, Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia, and Amelia. Their childhoods' are all similar, growing up trained to be perfect princesses, with a view to marring highly, into a very loving family. However, as their father's illness begins to flare, their futures are neglected and their mother hangs onto them desperately, to the extent they become prisoners trapped in what they nicknamed “the nunnery”. The daughters might be trapped in “The Nunnery” but it started out from a place of love. George was determined to make sure that the terrible fate of his sister Caroline Matilda never became that of his daughters. Only one daughter managed to escape before the slightly ajar door slammed shut (although she was not a spring chicken) and the other married either extremely late in life or not at all. Curzon explores each princess's life, within which we discover depression, desperation, isolation, illegitimate children, love from a distance, author of published books, illness, and perhaps secret marriages.

Each princess is as interesting as the last and interestingly to me they are the aunts of Queen Victoria. This is of interest because there are similarities that can be made between Queen Victoria and her children and the daughters of George III and their mother. Like Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte was strict with the children, though more tender, but when George became sick as did Victoria after the death of Albert, Charlotte held unhealthily onto her daughters, expecting them to care for her and not to live their own lives. Likewise, each daughter's reaction to this situation can be glimpsed in those of Victoria. For example, we have Victoria's, Princess Louise, who has similarities with the artistic child of Charlotte's Princess Elizabeth that published her works in books, etc.

Curzon has done a fantastic job of creating this highly researched book. Though many events overlap they are not repetitive and as we move from one sister to the next previous backspaces are filled. The princess's voices come across in a very human way. My only quibble would be that every now and again the author's remarks informing the reader that in today's world this would be shocking... but it's personal taste and it certainly isn't enough to downgrade any stars from this book. Please read this book, these princesses are wonderful and their stories are those of survival in extraordinary circumstances. Now I'll have to look out other works by Curzon.

NetGalley, Zoe Pollock

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This historical book was written so well, it was an easy read that took a few hours to read.

We rarely hear about the ladies of the Georgian era, so I definitely loved this.
If you love royals, princesses, or women we don't usually hear about in history, I highly recommend this.

NetGalley, Emy Girard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

King George III was certainly having problems – with the Americans, with his wandering brothers and with his mental health. He was of a nervous disposition and he and his Queen Charlotte believed strongly in decorum and tradition. When both of his brothers married secretly without his permission – and to commoners ! - he banished them. He pushed the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 through Parliament in hopes of keeping his many children in line as well as the rest of his siblings.

He and Queen Charlotte had fifteen children! And they all survived birth. This book discusses their six daughters.

Charlotte, Princess Royal, was not considered to be attractive or pretty, but she was very intelligent. She was quick to anger and had to write out apologies frequently. The princesses were all raised in a closed and insular court, away from their brothers. The years were passing Charlotte by and she still wasn't married. No wonder because the princesses were so overprotected. Her mother was a micro-manager. She did get a rather stubborn and somewhat deranged suitor (in his mind only), named Stone who was a commoner. He wrote the queen, he showed up at the palace...He wasn't even worth consideration, of course. She needed to be out of the palace.

Royal had to wait until she was thirty to finally marry. She was married to Frederick, Duke of Wurttemberg, who recently escaped Russia with his three children, while his ex-wife remained as a “guest” of Tsarina Catherine (the Great). She was very happy with Frederick.

The book then goes on to discuss a similar dilemma with the second daughter, Augusta, and her seemingly dwindling prospects for marriage and so on down the line of all the sisters.

This is a very well written and interesting book. I have never read anything about George and Charlotte's children before and found the material to be both entertaining and enlightening. I am very glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I liked it better than the last one of Ms. Curzon's books that I have read. I also really got a kick out of the little aside comments the author would interject here and there. They were a hoot.

I want to thank NetGalley and Pen & Sword/Pen & Sword History for forwarding to me a copy of this very nice book for me to read, enjoy and review.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

About Catherine Curzon

CATHERINE CURZON is a historian of Georgian royalty. Her work has been featured on the official website of BBC History Magazine, and in publications such as All About HistoryWho Do You Think You Are?, and Jane Austen’s Regency World. She has spoken at venues including Kenwood House, Wellington College, the Royal Pavilion, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House. Her first play, Being Mr Wickham, premiered to sell-out audiences in 2019. 

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, can be found cheering on the mighty Terriers. 

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill. 

Visit her glorious Georgian bubble at www.madamegilflurt.com

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