Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Uncle Leopold's First Wife

Leopold and Charlotte

Frankly, Uncle Leopold, I was shocked by revelations in last week's episode of Victoria on PBS.

Alex Jennings doing a pretty darn good job of looking like
Albert's Uncle Leopold, the King of the Belgians in a
similar toupee.
He's playing it a bit diabolically for my taste, though. 

I've always had a soft spot for Uncle Leopold. He
seems to have had his niece Victoria's and nephew Albert's
best interests at heart when he played matchmaker
and tutor to both.

Wedding of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg & 
Princess Charlotte of England

And I remember his first marriage to Victoria's cousin, Charlotte Princess of Wales. Leopold would have had the same position as Albert as husband to the Queen of England had Charlotte not died in childbirth at 21 years old only 17 months after her marriage. His second wife Louise Marie of Orléans was French royalty. He knew how to parlay marriages into dynasties.

Commemorative jug for the 1816 wedding

He was a handsome young man.
"I marry the best of all I have seen and that is some satisfaction,"
wrote his fiancee who had broken one engagement.

As cute as Lord M., don't you think?

Well, you don't read this to hear me go on about television hunks at Windsor Castle. It's about quilts and fabric. And Uncle Leopold made it into several quilts....

By way of this panel or commemorative medallion,
printed to celebrate the Charlotte/Leopold marriage.

In the inner border:
"Princess Charlotte of Wales Married
to Leopold Prince of Saxe Cobourg May 2, 1816"

Center of a cut-out chintz medallion in the collection
of the New England Quilt Museum.
Pheasants and Portuguese stripes in the border.
This looks quilted with no batting.

The panel was printed as yardage as in this piece from
the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The name of the printer on the tax stamp is 
John Lowe and Co. Furniture Printers, Shepley Hall.

I recently found a photo of a medallion floating around on the internet:
Four royal wedding panels with palm trees and pheasants

And peacocks.

Here's one that looks quite British, sold at Tennant's Auctions last year.

Hearts are a nice addition.

Another one with hearts, mostly pieced, sold ten years
ago at Christies in London.

If you want to know more about the plot and Uncle Leopold's revelations see this link:

More about Princess Charlotte at my blog post here:

And more about commemorative panels here:


  1. That WAS a shocking turn of events on Victoria, I'm still surprised! Although it's pretty remarkable what went on behind the facade of respectability in the monarchy! I do feel bad for Leopold, although he did know how to position himself in society. I just love Victoria. I'm not as enamored with The Crown. Love the background information on these fabrics. Thanks for your research into such interesting times!

  2. This is fascinating stuff. I had never really considered if such prints existed before. As always, your research brings new life to old textiles. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Great post as usual, BB, thanks so much! FYI all: In 2012, Anita Loscalzo published a piece on the coverlets in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum in the British Quilt Studies Group's plublication. It is QUILT STUDIES v. 13 (2012):38-59 “Commemoration and Grief: Two Coverlets and the Death of Charlotte Augusta, Princess of Wales”