The Regent’s House or God’s – Part One

Westminster Abbey by Canaletto, 1749

Unlike Prince William, Princess Charlotte did not wed in a church or chapel.  In fact, she is the only heir-presumptive to the English throne that I can think of being married in a secular place.   If there are others, they are few in number.

The Regent was in charge of all the arrangements for his daughter’s wedding and thus ordered the ceremony to take place at his palace, Carlton House.  In part two, we shall see that the plot is nothing as humorous as Father of the Bride.   

But for now, it should be noted that Carlton House was extensively rebuilt and decorated at great expense by the Prince Regent. It was admired for its lavish decoration and derided as being inferior to many hotels in Paris.  In front of the palace there was a curious set of columns which perplexed passers-by and inspired the-then famous ditty:

“Dear little columns, all in a row, What do you do there?  Indeed we don’t know.”

Carlton House (those pillars do look odd)

I’m digressing a bit, but the following observation by a contemporary witness is rather amusing:

Then the Duke of York bas been sent, as it would seem, to the Round House, and the Prince of Wales to the Pillory.”

*gales of laughter*

At times the Regent found the Duke of York somewhat trying.  Especially when he believed his younger brother, fond uncle as he was, would get his niece Charlotte into a scrape, or encourage her natural inclination towards rebellious behavior (I wonder where she got that from?).  The Duke of York had his own palace called York House, which stands today as the Scottish office in Whitehall.  You can see its prominent feature–a drumlike circular hall beyond the entrance vestibule.

York House, now Dover House

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2 thoughts on “The Regent’s House or God’s – Part One

  1. Good Blog article! I think I have seen York House/Dover House and wondered about its function. Is Carlton still standing?

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    • The hardest part about researching public buildings in London is understanding how places like York House initially functioned as a residence before becoming a functional location for government activities. So many royal and noble houses were turned over to the government in the twentieth century and renames to reflect their new functions that many times we assume these palaces no longer exist.

      One of my favorite houses in England is the lovely York Cottage on the grounds of Sandringham House. Now the home for estate offices, the cottage was the first marital home of Queen Mary and her husband, George V. They say that the couple loved it so much they continued to live there after their coronation. But in reality, Mary’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Queen Alexandra, had refused to move out of the larger Sandringham next door!

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