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OTD 20 August 1782

Updated: Mar 1

Prince Alfred of the Great Britain died

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
Prince Alfred, by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782

Alfred was the fourteenth child & ninth son of King George III & Queen Charlotte (are both pictured below)

He became seriously ill after his inoculation against smallpox, it was a major shock for his parents, especially as only six months later Alfred's young brother Prince Octavius died too. It is said that during his later bouts of madness the King would have imaginary conversations with both of his youngest sons.

More about Prince Alfred;

Queen Charlotte gave birth to her fourteenth child & ninth son on 22 September 1780, at Windsor Castle. He was baptised by The Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Great Council Chamber at St James's Palace on 21 October 1780. Among his godparents were his eldest brother (the Prince of Wales, later George IV); his second oldest brother (Prince Frederick) & his eldest sister the Princess Royal.

by Thomas Gainsborough; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
George III (1738-1820) c.1781

His birth brought great joy to his family & he was adored by his parents, he was also a favourite of his older sister Sophia, who, along with their sister Elizabeth reportedly, called the new baby her "grandson".

In 1782, Prince Alfred's life was cut short after he was inoculated against smallpox. The sickness proved too much for the child & in June he was taken to Deal on the south east coast with his governess Lady Charlotte Finch to recover. The family hoped that the sea air, & bathing in the water, would improve his condition.

He returned to Windsor in August 1782, once there his doctors inspected him & realized that he had only weeks to live. After suffering from bouts of fever & continuing problems with his chest, the young Prince died on 20 August 1782, at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, not even two years old.

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018
Queen Charlotte, c.1781 by Thomas Gainsborough

Although the household did not go into mourning (it was not prescribed for royal children younger than fourteen, *a very odd rule I must add!), his parents took the loss severely. According to Lady Charlotte Finch, the Queen "cried vastly" & was "very much hurt by her loss & the King also."

Later in August 1782 the Queen sent Finch a lock of Alfred's hair stating "Receive This ... as an Acknowledgement for Your very affectionate attendance upon my dear little Angel Alfred, & wear the inclosed Hair, not only in remembrance of that dear Object, but also as a mark of esteem from Your Affectionate Queen".

He was buried at Westminster Abbey, though his remains were later moved to the Royal Vault in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on 11 February 1820.  His youngest sister Princess Amelia was conceived in the months after Alfred's death, born almost exactly a year after he died. The first of George III & Queen Charlotte's children to die, Alfred died nearly seventy five years before his older sister Mary, who was the last survivor of George III & Queen Charlotte's fifteen children.


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