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A group surrounds a harpsichord playing instruments

Many members of the royal family were talented musicians

Philippe Mercier (1689-1760)

'The Music Party': Frederick, Prince of Wales with his Three Eldest Sisters 1733

RCIN 402414

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Frederick is shown here playing the cello in what is probably a sonata, with his sisters providing the accompaniment – Princess Anne (1709–59) at the harpsichord and Princess Caroline (1713–57) on the mandora (a type of lute). The work in question would probably have been scored for keyboard and cello, which would have allowed Princess Caroline to add chords or double the higher notes of the harpsichord.

Cultivation of the arts was generally considered to be an important part of royal and aristocratic life, but there was a distinction between activities like poetry, which were suitable for all classes, and those, like instrument performance, which should be left to the hired professional. Exception to this rule was made for ladies, for whom music was a desired accomplishment.