‘I Must Keep My Own Style and Go My Own Way’: The Tedettes Jane Austen Bookclub

The Tedettes are thrilled to find a letter written by their heroine in 1815. The letter is addressed 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 being the king even though he wasn’t. This can be baffling to a bear. You see, it’s all because the King himself, George III, was not allowed to do any actual king-ing. The Government (yes, there was one, even though they had a king – It gets more baffling than ever) did not think George was quite up to the job of king-ing properly. So they made the Prince do the king-ing instead. But he was not allowed to call himself ‘King’. It was all a bit of a muddle.

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The Prince who was not Really The King was known as the ‘Prince of Pleasure’. He was terrible at the king-ing job, as it turned out. So the Government ignored him as much as possible and got on with the actual king-ing themselves, while the Prince devoted himself to Pleasure.

But we don’t need to know this. The only really important thing about this Prince that he liked Jane Austen’s books. As a mark of his regard he invited her to inspect his London residence, Carlton House. The Prince happening to be devoting himself to pleasure somewhere else that day so Miss Austen was shown about by Mr Clarke, the personal librarian. Mr Clarke conveyed to Miss Austen ‘The Royal Desire’ that she dedicate her next novel, which was going to be Emma, to his Princely Regent-ness.  

Miss Austen did not want to do it. But, mindful of the proprieties, she did so.

Some time later the Regent, through Mr Clark, further 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.

Many writers of the day would be delighted at this Royal Invitation and have slogged away at writing a novel ‘Illustrative of the august house etc’. But not Miss Austen. She sent this devastatingly polite reply.

To the highest man in the Kingdom, she says, “No”.

“No, I must keep to my own style and go my own way”.

This text shown above 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.

A word of caution bears. Its baffling but if you search on the Inter-Webs for the words ‘Prince of Pleasure’ you may find lots of books covers where the gentlemen seem to have …umm .. mislaid their shirts. Sometimes the gentlemen are entangled in ladies who have mislaid bonnets and things. Just so you know

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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.

Published by Baffled Bear Books

I am Mark, Guardian of Mawson Bear. Mawson sits on Bed-Top Hill. Between naps he ponders about Baffling Things. After deep ponders, most things remain for him as completly baffling as they were before. But they do seem friendlier, somehow. If you, too, are baffled by, well, Things, his little books of ponders could be just right for you.

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