Sometimes it just makes sense to honeymoon close to home.
Kate and Wills went no farther than Anglesey. Vivien, my heroine of Welsh descent in Notorious Vow, would approve. There is much to be said for the privacy afforded by a windswept island off the coast of her family’s native homeland.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold honeymooned just outside London in Weybridge, at her uncle’s estate of Oatlands. The manor had been the site of a royal palace built for Queen Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII, long since demolished. A house remaining on the estate was enlarged and eventually leased by Prince Frederick, the Duke of York. This burned down and a Gothic mansion was erected in its place and became the primary residence of his wife, Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia.
The following is an amusing illustration of what things must have been like at Oatlands:
‘The Duke was used to bring down parties of his friends to spend the week-ends at Oatlands. The Duchess had not the least objection, and without making any change in her own manner of life, entertained her guests in a charming and unceremonious way that endeared her to everyone who knew her. No one was ever known to refuse an invitation to Oatlands, though the first visit there must always astonish, and even dismay. The park was kept for the accommodation of a collection of macaws, monkeys, ostriches, kangaroos; the stables were full of horses which were none of them obtainable for the use of the guests; the house swarmed with servants, whose business never seemed to be to wait on anyone; the hostess breakfasted at three in the morning, spent the night in wandering about the grounds, and was in the habit of retiring unexpectedly to a four-roomed grotto she had had made for herself in the park. ‘
from Regency Buck, by Georgette Heyer
Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold remained at Oatlands until summoned back to London by Queen Charlotte. The princess’ grandmother planned a “drawing-room,” or presentation to receive the congratulations of the nobility and gentry on the marriage. The Asiatic Journal from 1816 further reports that between two and three thousand people were present for the occasion and Buckingham House, as it was then called, was filled with “expecting spectators.”
Their honeymoon must have seemed as remote to the young couple as Wales.
Today, Oatlands is a hotel. You can even have a wedding there!