Augusta of Saxe-Gotha Haiku

The correct widow

Should not carry legacy

Of husband’s jerk mind.

Today on Mothers of Kings Week, we’ll talk about Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, mother of George III.

Augusta was born in Gotha in 1719. At age 16, she married Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II. Freddy went along with this because he’d get a bigger allowance.

Some proposed that Augusta learn English or French, but her mom nixed that. She arrived in England unar to speak to anyone but her in-laws. Her days were spent playing with dolls until her sister-in-law made her stop. Great start. It gets worse.

Frederick’s parents thought him a royal asshole. We can argue about whether this was justified, but it definitely was in his treatment of Augusta. He used his trusting wife as a means of petty revenge on them, like making her enter church after his mom as she would have to push past her on the way to her seat.

The crowning moment of dickery came when Augusta was about to give birth to her firstborn. The queen wanted to see the birth. Fred responded by forcing Augusta to get in a carriage and travel to another palace WHILE IN LABOR. Then she had to give birth on a tablecloth because Fred hadn’t even bothered to make sure the place had a bed ready for her. (Her in-laws knew she wasn’t to blame for any of this shit.)

He had his mistress assigned as her lady of the bedchamber, never told her anything, and kept her in wifely submission. All this time, he constantly whined to Parliament about not having enough cash while also gambling like a demon.

Eight kids later (and a ninth born afterwards), Fred died! Yay! Then his widow gradually lost popularity.

Her bad moves: raising her children in isolation. (Nicholas and Alexandra did this too, to fatal effect.) Allowing herself to be controlled by the disliked Lord Bute. Acting like a shit to her son’s queen, including hiding when he was struck with mental illness so she couldn’t act as regent. Acting like a shit to her other sons’ wives. One would have thought her experiences would have taught her the importance of empathy.

Augusta died of throat cancer in 1772, not as mourned as she might have been.

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