Modern day female royals are extremely influential, but this path had to first be paved by the princesses who came before them. From Princess Caroline to Princess Charlotte, these are a few of the princesses that had a huge impact on society in the 18th century, providing a blueprint for future generations of female royalty to follow.
Also known as Caroline of Amsbach, Princess Caroline was a highly sought after bride, and ended up marrying the future King George II. Caroline was extremely intelligent and had a curious mind, outshining her husband in so many different aspects of life. While Caroline contributed to society in numerous ways, she is most remembered for being an incredible pioneer of medicine. Caroline carried out experiments with the smallpox vaccine, first on prisoners and then on her own children, all to favorable results. She was also an avid jewellery collector, and spent a large amount of time curating portraits and other pieces of art, emphasizing the importance of art to society.
Princess Augusta was married to Princess Caroline’s eldest son, Frederick Prince of Wales, but, unfortunately for her, never became queen as her husband died quite young. However, her son, George III, was next in line to be king, and Augusta was absolutely crucial in shaping his reign. George III rightfully trusted his mother and her advice, and bestowed huge amounts of political influence upon him, guiding him to a position from which he could take control of the country on his own.
After Princess Augusta’s husband died, her son, King George III, took the throne and needed to find a wife. A Colonel was sent to Germany to seek out a suitable match, and Princess Charlotte was discovered. Rather than being picked for beauty, she was chosen for her high level of intelligence, as well as her sense of humor. As she settled in to life in England, Charlotte became a huge advocate of the arts, including those by masters such as Bach and Mozart, the latter of whom dedicated six sonatas to the Queen. In addition to also significantly expanding the collection at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Charlotte was also known for being the very first person in the country to have a Christmas tree, thus introducing this tradition to the United Kingdom.
The Enlightened Princesses Exhibition
Each of these three German princesses married into the British royal family in the 18th century, and had a huge effect when it came to shaping the role of the princess in the modern world. In order to bring attention to this, the Yale Center for British Art is hosting an exhibition titled The Enlightened Princesses, which features over 300 pieces that celebrate the influence that these women had. From extravagant court costumes to botanical illustrations and garden designs, to artwork created by royal children, this exhibition highlights how each princess was a huge advocate for the arts, sciences and trade industries, while showcasing the importance that they placed on the health of women and the welfare of children.
Princess Caroline, Augusta and Charlotte were each known for being passionate and innovative, contributing to just about every aspect of society and influencing an international audience. Today’s princesses are known for doing the same thing, but this would most likely not be the case if these earlier princesses had not paved the way for them.