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Today marks the Anniversary of the Birth of Princess Victoria, Duchess of Kent, who was born on this day in 1786. The fourth daughter and seventh child of Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Countess Augusta of Reuss-Ebersdorf, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was born in Coburg, and in 1803, married her uncle-by-marriage, the Prince of Leiningen, with whom she had two children, the 3rd Prince of Leiningen and the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, before being widowed in 1814, after which she served as regent of the Principality of Leiningen during the minority of her son. In 1817, the death of her sister-in-law, Princess Charlotte of Wales, sparked a succession crisis, leading her to marry Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, fourth son of King George III, in 1818. The couple resided in Germany, because of the cheaper costs of living, but raced back to Britain after the Duchess became pregnant, where she gave birth to the future Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace, a few months before the Duke died of pneumonia. The Duchess and her young daughter resided in impoverished circumstances at Kensington Palace, relying on a small allowance and support from her brother, King Leopold I of the Belgians. Together with her comptroller and private secretary, Sir John Conroy, the Duchess of Kent devised the ‘Kensington System’ to prepare her daughter for Queenship, which led to insolation from other members of the Royal Family and estrangement from her daughter after her Accession, which lasted until the birth of Queen Victoria’s first daughter in 1841. The Duchess became a doting grandmother, and was close to the Queen and Prince Albert until her death at Frogmore House in 1861.
Click HERE to learn about her Amethyst Parure and HERE to learn about her Fringe Tiara!