The Tedettes are thrilled to find a letter written by their heroine in 1815. It’s to the personal librarian of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Fancy having a personal librarian!
The prince was the Regent. That means he was the king in disguise. (At the time the King was not being allowed to do any king-ing. And although he was doing all the king-ing the Prince was not allowed to call himself King. It was all a bit of a muddle.)
Known as the “Prince of Pleasure”, he liked good things, especially food and drink, and nice colours and grand books – just like us bears really, and, and he was very plump. (Hmmm. Perhaps he WAS a sort of bear).
He admired Jane Austen’s novels. As a mark of his regard he invited her to inspect his London residence, Carlton House, although as it happened wasn’t there that day, due to getting plumper somewhere else.
So, Miss Austen was shown about by Mr Clarke, the personal librarian. Mr Clarke conveyed the Royal Desire that she dedicate her next novel, Emma, to his Regent-ness. Miss Austen was not keen (she didn’t like the Prince’s way of king-ing) but mindful of the proprieties, she did so.
Later the Regent, through Mr Clark, also suggested she write “an historical romance, illustrative of the august house of Coburg” to come out in time for the marriage of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coberg to the Prince’s daughter, Charlotte.
Jane Austen sent this devastatingly polite reply.
To the highest man (or bear) in the Kingdom, she says, “No”.
“No, I must keep to my own style and go my own way”.
This text is from a book called Great Letters of History. And you can learn a lot about the Regent from The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency, by JB Priestly – who himself was a sort of bear too.
[Bafflingly, bears, if you only look on the Bright-Box-Thing for the words ‘Prince of Pleasure’ you find lots of books where the gentlemen seem to have … errrr … mislaid their shirts. And sometimes the gentlemen, who are not plump at all, seem to be mislaying other clothes all over the place. Just so you know.]
You are in the web den of Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things (between naps). and Writer-Bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In .
“Just pure magic. A bear’s love is never far away and can be shared and passed on through generations.” Susan Hampson, of Books From Dawn To Dusk.