October 8, 2022
Amelia Sophia Eleanor was born on June 10th 1711 in Hanover, Germany. At the age of three, she sailed to England when her grandfather became King George I. Her father ascended the throne in 1727.
Amelia’s aunt Sophia Dorothea, Queen of Prussia suggested Amelia as a wife for her son Frederick (later known as Frederick the Great) – but he married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern instead.
Not only was she not compelled to marry someone else, Amelia’s father made her the ranger of Richmond Park, the largest royal park in London. King George II’s final words, upon falling to the floor in a heap were: “Call Amelia.”
Immediately after assuming control, Princess Amelia closed Richmond Park to the public, allowing just a few close friends and those with special permits. This created controversy that continued until a local brewer took the Park’s gatekeeper to court and won. Princess Amelia was forced to lift the restrictions.
Following her retreat from Richmond Park, Princess Amelia purchased Gunnersbury Estate (close to where Heathrow Airport is today,) undertaking ambitious landscaping and commissioning a bath house that still stands today. She hosted numerous soirees and became involved in political and family rivalries. Amelia refused to dress in traditional attire of the time, preferring masculine riding fashions, which at times included a round hat and German style clothing. Her nephew, who became George III (known to Americans as ‘Mad King George’) called Amelia “that odd and hearty lady.” The Dukes of Grafton and Newcastle were both interested in her, and the three frequently hunted together.
Princess Amelia’s residence on Cavendish Square, now home to a grand French restaurant, was regarded as ill-kept, badly decorated, and often full of dogs.
The Princess donated £100 to the society for educating poor orphans of clergymen to help pay for a school for 21 of these orphaned daughters.
Samuel Arnold, born in 1740 in London, began writing music for the theatre at a young age. He became one of the great British composers and the organist of Westiminster Abbey, where he was buried. It is generally accepted that Amelia was his mother, though it was never officially recognized.
During Amelia’s funeral preparations, the central stones in the nave floor were removed to insert a false floor. The day before the service, an antiquarian, one Mr. Tuffin, bribed a workman to allow him to enter the vault so that he could transcribe some of the coffins’ inscriptions. Unknown to anyone, a soldier had hidden himself down below as well and, while Tuffin was quietly making his notes by light of a wax taper, began to wrench the silver handle from a neighboring coffin. Tuffin tackled the soldier, who quickly escaped. Tuffin returned to his research when, to his horror, he heard the trap door above him being shut, followed by the sound of the chapel’s great bronze doors being bolted. No one heard his cries for help, and he was soon entombed in complete darkness with only the dead for company.
He stayed there until the next morning when the vault was opened, a great surprise to the workmen that we imagine the quirky Princess would have appreciated.
Lady Amelia Windsor, cousin of William and Harry and 42nd in line to the throne, regularly attracts attention for her modeling career, tattoos, clothing choices, and political activism. Today, Amelia is one of the three most popular baby names in the UK.
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