Wife of King William IV: Adelaide of Saxe-Meinigen

Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was born on the 13th August 1792 at Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany to parents, George the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and Luise Eleonore.

Prince William, Duke of Clarence married Princess Adelaide on the 11th July 1818 at Kew Palace.

The marriage had been arranged, following the death of the Princess Charlotte of Wales in 1817, leaving no heir to the throne.  William had been informed by Parliament, to marry and produce an heir, and they would resolve his gambling debts.

On that same day, William’s younger brother Edward, Duke of Kent married Victoria, the Dowager Princess of Leiningen at a combined wedding ceremony.

Princess William and Princess Adelaide, were devoted to each other, but their love was not to produce any children who survived past infancy.

King George IV died on the 26th June 1830 and Prince William became King William IV along with his wife Queen Adelaide of England at their coronation on the 8th September 1831.

The British people liked their new Queen, she was modest and charitable, donating much of her household income to charity.

William and Adelaide treated Victoria niece of William and heiress presumptive to the English throne.

William and Victoria’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Kent, kept Victoria away from court as much as possible.  She had other ideas, prompted by Sir John Conroy, hoping William died before Victoria, they would become the power behind the throne… creating a Regency.

William and the Duchess of Kent didn’t get on, and that’s putting it mildly.

William at his birthday banquet, made a speech, proclaiming it was his intention to live long enough to see Victoria reach the age to rule, thus preventing the Duchess of Kent creating a Regency.

On the 24th May 1837, Victoria reached the age of 18, and on the 20th June 1837 King William IV died from heart failure in the presence of his wife and Queen at Windsor Castle.  He was buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor on the 18th July.

Queen Adelaide left court following William’s death, and moved to Witley Court in Worcestershire.

In 1840 she became godmother to Queen Victoria’s first child; Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise.  In 1849 she laid the foundation stone of the Church of St.John the Evangelist, where the east window was dedicated to her.

On the 2nd December 1849, Queen Adelaide died at Bentley Priory in London.

Her final letter containing her funeral arrangements:

“I die in all humility.  We are alike before the throne of God, and I request therefore that my mortal remains be conveyed to the grave without pomp or state… to have as private and quiet funeral as possible.  I particularly desire not to be laid out in state… I die in peace and wished to be carried to the fount in peace, and free from the vanities and pomp of this world.”

Queen Adelaide was buried beside her husband King William IV at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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