Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
|Princess of Wales|
Portrait by Charles Philips, upon the occasion of her marriage
30 November 1719|
|Died||8 February 1772
Carlton House, London, England
|Burial||15 February 1772
|Spouse||Frederick, Prince of Wales|
|Issue||Princess Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick
Prince Edward, Duke of York
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway
|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.
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.
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.
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.
Titles, styles and arms
- 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
|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:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.|
- A short profile of Augusta alongside other influential women of her time
- Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, Princess of Wales at the National Portrait Gallery, London