Archive for the ‘#RegencyTrivia’ Category


As you can imagine, county carriages served a different purpose than Town carriages. Serviceability on country roads and lanes was more important than looks. Although, that doesn’t mean one would necessarily give up style completely.

One of the more popular carriages was the gig, a two wheeled vehicle drawn by one horse. The seat rose above the wheels and was wide enough for two people. They were also fitted with a small platform on the back, presumably to carry purchases made in a village or other items. Gigs could also be fitted with thick panes oil lamps known as “gig lamps” for nighttime travel.


Gig 2


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tillburyThe Tillbury

In 1820 the carriage maker Tillbury developed a sporting vehicle by the same name. The Tillbury had no boot, making it unsuitable for carrying anything. It also had a rib-chair body. It was a popular carriage for rough roads as it was supported on seven springs. Unlike a gig, it could be driven with one horse.

If you’re a Georgette Heyer reader, you might remember that in The Grand Sophy, she take her cousin’s new Tillbury for a joy-ride.

As with the other sporting vehicles, a chaperone was not needed.

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #ReadaRegency

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Curricle 2

The Curricle

For those who didn’t feel the need to challenge their driving skills, or wanted a more stable vehicle, there was the curricle. It was light, had only a single axle and two wheels. It was large enough for the driver and one other passenger. Many curricles had cabriolet tops that could be raised in the event of rain. A curricle was typically driven by a matched pair.

Curricle 1

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #ReadaRegency

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High Perched Phaeton
As I mentioned in the last post, both ladies and gentlemen drove sporting carriages. The one thing sporting vehicles all had in common was that they were driven by the lady or gentleman, not by a coachman. Therefore, a lady did not require a groom or other chaperone.
Sporting carriages were divided into two groups, those that were typically driven in the country and those usually driven in Town. We’ll discuss Town carriages first.
The most fashionable, and hardest to drive properly, was the high-perched phaeton. It had no convertible top like many of the other carriages had. The frame was light and hung over two large wheels in the back and two smaller wheels in the front. The distance to the floor of the carriage could easily be five feet. The carriage could be driven by one horse, but if one wished to be known as a “notable whip”, one drove the carriage with a pair. High-perched phaetons were notorious for being easy to tip over, especially when rounding corners.
#RegencyTrivia #Historical #ReadaRegency #RegencyRomance

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Sporting carriages were all the rage during the Regency. Both ladies and gentlemen drove curricles, gigs, and high-perched phaetons.
Driving clubs were quite popular and, of course, the domain of men. The first club was the Bensington Driving Club established in 1807.
The most famous of all driving clubs was the Four-Horse-Club that required their members to own a certain type of carriage and be able to drive a team (4 horses). The club was not only famous for the competence of its drivers, but for it’s famous “uniform.” In order to attend the meetings, which consisted of gathering a spot in London then driving to an inn to eat, every member had to wear “a drab coat that reaching to the ankles with three tiers of pockets and mother of pearl buttons as large as five shilling pieces. The waistcoat was blue with yellow stripes an inch wide, the breeches of plush with strings and rosettes to each knee. The hat should be 3 1/2 inches deep in the crown.”
The dress code was strictly observed, as was the type of carriage, a Vis landau, which seated two (making it more like a barouche) and was painted yellow. The members drove from the box, where a coachman would normally sit. The attempt to force members to all use bays failed.
Below is a drawing of a version of the Vis landau.
Vis Barouche
If the owner of such a vehicle wished to use it to drive his lady around, he’d have to have a coachman, and a chaperone. Why? Because the gentleman was not busy driving the team.
For more information about the four-horse-club, here are two links.
#RegencyTrivia #Historical #ReadaRegency

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We are back in the Regency, but not quite done with royalty. Today we’re going to discuss George Augustus Frederick, oldest son of King George III and his wife Charlotte, and the man who gave the Regency its name.  He was born on 12 August 1762 and died on 26 June 1830. Upon his birth he was given the titles Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. These titles should be familiar to you as the current holder is Prince Charles. A few days later George was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. On 5 February 1811, after his father was declared mad, he became the Prince Regent.

Prinny, as he was known to his detractors, lived a life of extreme excess in everything from food to women to gambling. When he was eighteen, he was given his own household and began his descent into profligacy. Even before he became prince regent Parliament was required to settle his debts. At one and twenty he entered into an illegal marriage to a Catholic commoner, Maria Fitzherbert, violating both the Act of Settlement 1701, that prohibited the spouse of a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, and the Royal Marriages Act 1772, that required he have the king’s consent to the marriage.  Maria in her late twenties and had been widowed twice. She considered the marriage legal but agreed to keep it a secret. The marriage did nothing to curtail George’s extravagant spending and his father refused to cover his debts. For a time he quite Carlton House and moved in with Maria. The short version of what happened next is, like things to, the secret marriage was getting out and Charles Fox, leader of the Whigs was concerned about the scandal the marriage might cause. Parliament was convinced to pay the prince’s debts.

Although, the prince had many mistresses, he always went back to Maria and was said to have had at least one child with her.

In 1794, the king, once again, became involved and refused to support his son unless George married. On 8 April 1795, he married Caroline of Brunswick (a cousin). It was apparently dislike at first sight. I recently read a report that Prinny had his mistress at the time Francis, Countess of Jersey (I use her first name only to distinguish her from Sally who was Francis’s daughter-in-law.) meet Caroline when she arrived in England instead of going himself. It is also said that all the jewels George gave Caroline on the event of their marriage he took back and gave to Francis who was one of Caroline’s ladies in waiting, and that she wore the jewels in Caroline’s presence. He attempted several times, unsuccessfully, to divorce her. In 1814, Caroline had apparently had enough and moved to Italy. Suffice it to say that the war between them had started and didn’t end until her death in 1821. He didn’t even write her about her daughter’s death in 1816.

George became George IV on 29 January 1820, and was even more determined to divorce Caroline. But she returned to England that year and sympathy for her caused her to be extremely popular, as opposed to George who was almost universally detested for his excesses.

On During his early years, the prince was considered by many to be an extremely handsome man. However, hard drinking and over eating eventually took its toll on his health.

He was succeeded by his brother William.

This is a very short account. If you’re interested in learning more about Prinny, Amazon has several listed. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=King+George+IV


Lithograph of Prinny 1821

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Instead about talking about the Regency today, I’m going to discuss the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex and how to address them properly.

Let’s start with a little history. During the Regency (you knew I’d slip it in) the royal house of England and Great Britain was called the House of Hanover. The King of England was also the King of Hanover. However, when Victoria took the throne, she could not be the Queen of Hanover. The title went to her uncle. That said, she kept the name Hanover. When her son Albert became King of England, he changed the name to his father’s house, the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In 1917, due to anti-German sentiments in England (WWI) George V change the name to the House of Windsor. As it is today.

The Royal Surname. The royal surname (that they use only when they have to) was changed to Mountbatten-Windsor. This surname applies to male line descendent of the royal family who do not have another royal title or style. Princess Anne used the surname Mountbatten-Windsor when she signed the register after her marriage.

Here is the part that really seems to confuse people. The queen gave all her sons and her two oldest grandsons deriving from the male line (so not Princess Anne’s children) titles. In order to be called a “Princess) one must have been born a princess. Therefore, the daughters of all of Princess Anne’s brothers are entitled to the title princess. (To be fair, the queen did offer to make Anne’s kids princess and prince, but she turned her down.) None of the queen’s grandchildren use the name Mountbatten-Windsor. The reason for that all their fathers have other royal titles. Here’s the rundown:

The Prince of Wales

The Duke of York

The Earl of Wessex (Edward is another odd one. He turned down the HRH for his kids and liked that title better than whichever duke title was available)

Ever since their birth William and Harry (Henry for the purists among you) have used the last name Wales. Until they were made dukes, their titles were Prince William of Wales and Prince Harry of Wales. Their cousins are Princess Eugenie of York and Princess Beatrice of York.

The change. In order to avoid Kate being titled Princess William, the queen, just like she did with her two other sons, bestowed the royal title of The Duke of Cambridge on William. So he and Kate are properly known as their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Separately, they are HRH the Duke of Cambridge, or Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. If he needs a surname, he now uses Cambridge. Kate is HRH the Duchess of Cambridge. Just to make sure, I contacted Buckingham Palace and verified that Kate cannot be called either Princess William or Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

The same rules apply to Harry and Megan. They are Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. He is HRH The Duke of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Megan is HRH The Duchess of Sussex. As with Kate, she cannot be called Princess Harry or Megan, Duchess of Sussex.

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #ReadaRegency


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