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The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte Augusta

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was the granddaughter of King George III, and the only confirmed child of the Prince of Wales who eventually became King George IV. Charlotte was second in line for the monarchy her entire life. Sadly, that life was cut short when she died in childbirth at age 21.

Charlotte’s pregnancy was the subject of the most intense public interest. Betting shops quickly set up a book on what sex the child would be. Economists calculated that the birth of a princess would raise the stock market by 2.5%; the birth of a prince would raise it 6%.

The mum to be Charlotte spent her time quietly, however, spending much time sitting for a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence. She ate heavily and got little exercise; when her medical team began prenatal care in August 1817, they put her on a strict diet, hoping to reduce the size of the child she was carrying. The diet and occasional bleeding they subjected her to seemed to weaken Charlotte and did little to reduce her weight.

Charlotte's labor lasted for more than two days before she gave birth to a stillborn boy. An article from author Julia Herdman looks at the medical practices of the day, and how Charlotte might have been saved if her accoucheur (a male midwife) and the doctor called to assist had made different choices in her care. -via Strange Company


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This is the *best* way to read about history - learning about the unique individual events that occurred during the big changes you learn about in school. And I'm thinking about a Handmaids Tale when looking at the stock market results rising less than 1/2 of those of a boy's birth.
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