Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

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Princess Augusta
Princess of Wales
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, Princess of Wales by Charles Philips cropped.jpg
Portrait by Charles Philips, upon the occasion of her marriage
Born (1719-11-30)30 November 1719
Died 8 February 1772(1772-02-08) (aged 52)
Carlton House, London, England
Burial 15 February 1772
Westminster Abbey
Spouse Frederick, Prince of Wales
Issue Princess Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick
George III
Prince Edward, Duke of York
Princess Elizabeth
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland
Princess Louisa
Prince Frederick
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway
House Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Father Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Mother Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (30 November 1719 – 8 February 1772) was Princess of Wales between 1736 and 1751, and Dowager Princess of Wales thereafter. She was one of only three Princesses of Wales who never became queen consort. Princess Augusta's eldest son succeeded as George III of the United Kingdom in 1760, as her husband, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died nine years earlier.

Early life

Princess Augusta was born in Gotha to Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1676–1732) and Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (1676–1740). Her paternal grandfather was Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, eldest surviving son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.


At age sixteen and speaking virtually no English, Augusta arrived in Great Britain in order to marry 29-year-old Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George II and Queen Caroline. The wedding ceremony took place almost immediately, on 27 April 1736, at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London.

The marriage seems to have been a happy one. Augusta and Frederick had nine children, the last born after Frederick's death. The birth of their first daughter, Princess Augusta, on 31 July 1737, took place at St James's after Princess Augusta was forced by Frederick to travel from Hampton Court Palace while in labour, simply to prevent his hated parents from being present at the birth.

Throughout their marriage, Augusta went along with her husband's wishes in the feud with his parents.

Augusta as Dowager Princess of Wales, mother of the future king, by Liotard, 1754.

Following Frederick's death, her role as mother of the heir-apparent to the throne became a more important one, and she was named prospective regent, which caused a political controversy. Shortly afterwards, she began to be influenced by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, her son's tutor, and rumours spread that they were having an affair. This was due to her being adamant that Bute was visiting her, and not her son, during his back door visits to tutor the prince. Both were pilloried in the press. Even after George III's accession, Augusta suffered widespread hostility from the public. After she died of cancer of the throat at age 52 at Carlton House, her funeral procession attracted troublemakers who followed the coffin to the grave shouting insults.

Kew Gardens

Princess Augusta enlarged and greatly extended Kew Gardens after her husband's death. Sir William Chambers built several garden structures for her. One of these, the lofty Chinese pagoda built in 1761, still remains.[1]

Titles, styles and arms

Princess Augusta's arms[2]
  • 30 November 1719 – 17 April 1736: Her Ducal Serene Highness Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Duchess in Saxony
  • 17 April 1736 – 31 March 1751: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
  • 31 March 1751 – 8 February 1772: Her Royal Highness The Dowager Princess of Wales


Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick 31 July 1737 23 March 1813 Married, 1764, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; had issue.
George III 4 June 1738 29 January 1820 Married, 1761, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; had issue.
Prince Edward, Duke of York 25 March 1739 17 September 1767 Died aged twenty-eight, unmarried.
Princess Elizabeth 10 January 1741 4 September 1759 Died aged eighteen, unmarried.
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester 25 November 1743 25 August 1805 Married, 1766, Maria, Countess Waldegrave; had issue.
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland 7 November 1745 18 September 1790 Married, 1771, Anne Luttrell; no issue.
Princess Louisa 19 March 1749 13 May 1768 Died aged nineteen, unmarried.
Prince Frederick 13 May 1750 29 December 1765 Died aged fifteen, unmarried.
Caroline Matilda, Queen-consort of Denmark and Norway 11 July 1751 10 May 1775 Married, 1766, Christian VII, King of Denmark and Norway; had issue.


Several places in British America were named in honour of Augusta:



  1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Augusta, Princess of Wales. Retrieved 6 October 2005.
  2. Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999), Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, London: Little, Brown & Co, p. 30, ISBN 1-85605-469-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links