Lot 3
  • 3

King George IV and Maria Fitzherbert.

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Five letters, comprising:
i) George IV, autograph letter signed ("ever Thine"), to Maria Fitzherbert ("My dear love"), informing her that "I have just receiv'd a Letter from my Sister ... desiring me to come to Windsor, which tho' excessively inconvenient to me ... owing to my being [obliged] to give my annual Regimental dinner on Wednesday, I mean to comply with", 2 pages, 4to, Brighton, 23 June 1794, integral blank, lower portion of blank cut away, possibly removing an address panel, adhesive remains on final verso
ii) Maria Fitzherbert, four autograph draft letters, to George IV as Prince Regent, referring to their marriage ("...the memorable event of our Union ... in the year /85/ under circumstances which made [corrected to rendered] you the only person in this world while life endured that I could ever look up to for protection..."), pursuing the unfulfilled promise of a pension and especially support for the "proper education and maintenance of my beloved Child", 13 pages, 4to, various paper stocks (watermarks dated 1805 and 1811), one letter dated 15 August 1815, with a wrapper ("7 | Letters sealed by the Executors March 31 1837 | G H | from Mrs Fitzherbert to HRH the Prince of Wales"), with remains of black wax seal impression


Sold in these rooms (as "The Property of a Lady from the Portarlington Papers"), 22 July 1985, lot 362 (portion) and 364; (ii) sold in these rooms, 18 December 1986, lot 217

Catalogue Note

RARE SURVIVING LETTERS FROM ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS OF ALL ROYAL ROMANCES. The letter by George IV was originally endorsed by Maria Fitzherbert on a separate slip of paper (no longer present): "This letter I received the morng. of the day the Prince sent me word he would never enter my house (Lady Jersey's influence)." In fact, although the Countess of Jersey did become the Prince's mistress, the main reason for his separation from Mrs Fitzherbert was his escalating debt, which made it necessary to comply with his father's wishes and make an acceptable marriage. This is one of the few letters between George and Maria Fitzherbert that escaped destruction after his death.

The draft letters by Maria Fitzherbert were written after she had been abandoned by the Prince. They are primarily attempts to secure a pension for herself or at least funds to support her daughter; she complains about her financial situation and says she will be forced to leave England. There are, however, moments that recall an earlier intimacy, such as when she writes in support of a longstanding servant called Anderson who had been dismissed from the household. She defends herself with dignity when the Prince's "ear has been frequently assail'd by malignant insinuations against me", pointing out that "there can be no stronger proof of their falsehoods than what you can yourself give, That aware as you are of How Much I have in my power, That power has remain'd entirely unused by me". The great majority of the papers of George IV and Mrs Fitzherbert were destroyed after his death and these papers are from those retained by Mrs Fitzherbert with the agreement of the King's executors and placed in a sealed box at Coutt's bank (details of this history were revealed in a cache of papers sold in these rooms 9 December 2014, lot 28).