[CHAPBOOK] On The Death of the Princess Charlotte. London; Printed and sold by J. Evans and Sons, Long-Lane, sold also by E. Collins, 60, Paternoster-Row and J. Nisbet, 15, Castle-street, Oxford-street, circa 1817.
8vo.; neatly disbound (presumably extracted at some time from a sammelband of chapbooks); printed self-wrappers with wood-engraved vignette to upper panel; pp. 8pp.; wood-engraved tailpiece; a very clean copy with some offsetting of type to type but clearly legible throughout, very scarce.
First, or sole, edition by this publisher, priced One Penny. A highly-charged eulogy, or funeral sermon, published on the passing of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796-1817), the archetypal people's princess, an event which united a nation in mourning, "all faces gathered 'blackness' and all breasts were wrung with anguish".
Princess Charlotte, the original people's princess, was heir to the throne of George III and carried the hopes of a nation amid a wayward and disfunctional royal family. She was the only daughter of the Prince Regent, George IV, and Caroline of Brunswick, and her premature death, at the age of only 21, changed the course of royal history. In 1816 she had wed the eligible Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and the happily married pair moved to Claremont in Surrey. She quickly became pregnant and the nation's well-being seemed assured ("we cherished her as the hopeful Parent of a future race of Kings") until, after enduring 40 hours of labour, in November of 1817, she gave birth to a stillborn son and died herself shortly afterwards. The country was plunged into unrestrained grief as two generations of the royal line were eradicated within hours.
Only 4 copies of this edition located on Copac (Univsities of Oxford and Cambirdge, National Libraries of Scotland and Wales). Other examples with the same title and pagination, published by T. Hoggett, Durham, and G. Angus, Newcastle, with suggested dates of 1817, located in the British Library.