To be fair, the Princess Charlotte had been embroiled in a failed engagement with the Prince of Orange, a failed romance with a Prussian prince (or two, depending on who you ask) and quite possibly (ie, understandably) had her head turned by Lord Byron and his turquoise ring.
In any case, she had no interest in Prince Leopold.
It seems likes a minor footnote, yet the following excerpt leaves one in little doubt as to the prince’s intentions:
“He paid many compliments to Princess Charlotte, who was by no means partial to him, and only received him with civility. ..and when we drove in the Park, he would ride near the carriage, and endeavor to be noticed.”
–from the memoirs of Miss Cornelia Knight, companion to HRH Princess Charlotte.
I mean, look at him! What’s not to like?
In my Notorious series, Vivien and Diana joined in the speculation swirling around the unknown prince and his temerity to ask the Regent for Charlotte’s hand.
“I hear that Prince Leopold is very handsome. Do you suppose Princess Charlotte picked him out when the Allied sovereigns visited last year?” Vivien asked.
Diana snorted. “Not as random as that, my dear. Russian intrigue, I’ll warrant.”
“And how would you know?”
Diana grinned. “I’ve made inquiries. ‘Twas the Grand Duchess of Oldenburg who introduced Prince Leopold to the princess. Putting a spoke in Prinny’s wheel and his plans for the Dutch marriage, so to speak.”
“But the Russians were in favor of the match, I thought.”
“Ah, that’s the intriguing part. You know how Prinny keeps Princess Charlotte all shut up at Warwick House?”
That circumstance never failed to arouse Vivien’s sympathy for the princess. “They say no one is allowed to see her since she broke off with the Prince of Orange.”
“Except the Tsar’s sister.” Diana tilted her head in amusement, the jaunty angle of her shako hat almost arch in manner. “I had it at the Jersey ball. Countess Lieven swore the Grand Duchess prevailed on the Regent to allow her to see the princess–on the assurance she would get Charlotte to reconsider the dutchman’s suit.”
“And her ulterior motive?”
“She was escorted by none other than your handsome calvary officer from Saxon von something or other.”
The Tsar’s sister may have had yet another motive. Her own sister needed a husband. And no one except the Prince of Orange would do.