Princesses: the six daughters of George III
From acclaimed biographer Flora Fraser, a brilliant group biography of the six daughters of “Mad” King George III.
Fraser takes us into the heart of the British royal family during the tumultuous period of the American and French revolutions and beyond, illuminating the complicated lives of these exceptional women: Princess Royal, the eldest, constantly at odds with her mother; home-loving, family-minded Augusta; plump Elizabeth, a gifted amateur artist; Mary, the bland beauty of the family; Sophia, emotional and prone to take refuge in illness; and Amelia, “the most turbulent and tempestuous of all the Princesses.” Weaving together letters and historical accounts, Fraser re-creates their world in all its frustrations and excitements.
The six sisters, though handsome, accomplished and extremely well educated, were kept from marrying by George III, and Fraser describes how they remained subject to their father for many years, while he teetered on the brink of mental collapse. The King may have believed that his six daughters were happy to live celibately at Windsor, but secretly, as Fraser’s absorbing narrative of royal repression and sexual license shows, the sisters enjoyed startling freedom. Several of them, torn between love for their ailing father and longing for independence, forged their own scandalous and subversive lives within the castle walls. With a discerning eye for psychological detail and a keen feminist sensibility, Fraser delves into these clandestine love affairs, revealing the truth about Sophia’s illegitimate baby; examining Amelia's intimate correspondence with her soldier-lover; and investigating the eventual marriages of Princesses Royal, Elizabeth and Mary.
Never before has the historical searchlight been turned with such sympathy and acuity on George III and his family. With unparalleled access to royal and private family papers, Flora Fraser has created a revelatory portrait of six fascinating women and their place in history.
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