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Queen Charlotte - try some calligraphy

painting of Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte was the consort of  George III. Born in Germany, she married George in 1761, aged just seventeen. Together for nearly 60 years, they had fifteen children – nine boys and six girls!

Although St James’s Palace in London was their official residence, the couple spent much of their time at Buckingham House, now Buckingham Palace, which George III bought in 1762. In fact, Queen Charlotte was so fond of their new home that it became known as ‘The Queen’s House’. The royal family also enjoyed staying at Windsor Castle, which they restored after a period of neglect. In 1792, Queen Charlotte also purchased Frogmore House in Windsor Park as a country retreat.

Even though she lived more than 200 years ago, we know a lot about Queen Charlotte’s character, family life and interests, such as music, art, reading and botany. This is partly because of the documents relating to her that have been preserved in the Royal Archives, housed in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle. The Royal Archives also contains nine small volumes of Queen Charlotte’s diary as well as many of her letters

Get to know Queen Charlotte by reading about two of her letters and one of her diary entries. If you click on the links below, you can view the documents themselves.

In this letter, Queen Charlotte writes to her husband as ‘Sir’. This seems very formal, especially for a husband and wife. However, this long and informal letter is full of warmth and affection. With the King away briefly and missed by the Queen and their children, Charlotte passes on news of the children’s antics, as well as gossip from London society.

George III and Queen Charlotte created a close-knit family life for their children. Where possible, royal home life was also kept private.

In this letter, Queen Charlotte writes to her son George, Prince of Wales, about the warm weather. She also mentions that she has sent a papier-mâché fan to his pregnant wife, Princess Caroline. The Queen has lovely clear handwriting and uses wonderful flourishes when writing the letters ‘c’ and ‘k’.

Queen Charlotte’s diary

Queen Charlotte kept a diary to record details of her daily life, as well as that of her husband, George III, and their many children. In an entry from November 1789, Charlotte describes spending a stay at Windsor playing the harpsichord, reading, painting and playing a game called ‘Reversi’ with her daughters, while the King is out hunting.

Queen Charlotte’s diaries©

Have a go!

If you click on the links above, you will see examples of Queen Charlotte’s handwriting. It is very neat and elegant. With no computers or mobile phones, people in the Georgian period tended to be more skilled in the art of letter writing.

Calligraphy is the art of beautiful handwriting. Try your hand at calligraphy by downloading our activity sheet. Practise writing out the letters of the alphabet, then try to write a short letter to a friend or family member using your beautiful new handwriting.

Activity sheet

Caligraphy activity

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.