Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (1792–1849)

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Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (1792–1849)

Queen of England. Name variations: Adelaide Louisa Theresa. Born in Meiningen, Thuringia, Germany, on August 13, 1792; died on December 2, 1849, in Stanmore, London, England; buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire, England; daughter of George I, duke of Saxe-Coburg-Meiningen, and Louise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1763–1837); married William, duke of Clarence, on July 18, 1818; became queen of England in 1830 on his accession as William IV until his death in 1837; children: Charlotte Guelph (1819–1819, died day of birth); Elizabeth Guelph (1820–1821, died age three months), and four other unnamed babies who died in childbirth, including twins.

With worries of English succession in the air, the 53-year-old William, duke of Clarence (later William IV), married the 26-year-old Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, considered plain and religious by contemporaries, specifically to bear children—legitimate children. He had already fathered ten children with his mistress, the actress Dora Jordan . Though Adelaide gave birth to six children who did not survive infancy, she proved to be an extremely tolerant wife, accepting without quibble William's other children, who lounged around the castle. She even accepted the arrival of another mistress, Mrs. Fitzherbert .

The reserved and highly moral Adelaide remained in the background. She took interest in the model cottages under construction at Windsor and the children who lived in them, and she

showed kindness to her young niece (and future queen) Victoria whose mother, Victoria of Coburg , was on bad terms with the court. Despite her virtues, Adelaide's reputation was tarnished by her husband's success. Because William was an extremely popular king, the public found it easier to vindicate him and blame the influence of his wife when he did something to offend. Though William died in 1837, the new queen Victoria returned her aunt's kindness and continued to address Adelaide as queen of England. When Adelaide died in 1849, while living at Bentley Priory in Middlesex, she was buried at Windsor by the side of her husband and their baby Elizabeth. The city of Adelaide in Australia bears her name.

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