Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (November 30, 1719 - February 8, 1772) was Princess of Wales from May 8, 1736 to March 31, 1751 and Dowager Princess of Wales thereafter. She was one of only three holders of the title who never became queen. Augusta's eldest son succeeded as George III of Great Britain in 1760as her husband, Frederick, Prince of Wales had died eight years earlier.

Augusta was born in Gotha to Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1676-1732) and Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (1676-1740). Her paternal grandfather was Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, eldest surviving son of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg.

At age 16 and speaking virtually no English, she arrived in Great Britain for a wedding ceremony which took place almost immediately, on May 8, 1736, at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London. Despite a twelve-year age difference, the marriage seems to have been a happy one. They had nine children, the last born after Frederick's death. The birth of their first daughter, Augusta, on August 31, 1737, took place at St James's after Augusta was forced by Frederick to travel from Hampton Court Palace while in labour, simply to prevent his hated parents, King George II and Queen Caroline, from being present at the birth.

Throughout their marriage, Augusta went along with her husband's wishes in the feud with his parents. Following the Prince of Wales' death, her role as mother of the heir-apparent to the throne became a more important one, and she was named prospective regent, which caused a political controversy. Shortly afterwards, she began to be influenced by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, her son's tutor, and rumours spread that they were having an affair. Both were pilloried in the press. Even after George III's accession, Augusta suffered widespread hostility from the public. After she died of cancer of the throat at age 52 at Carlton House, her funeral procession attracted troublemakers who followed the coffin to the grave shouting insults.

The city of Augusta, Georgia was named in her honour.

Titles, Styles, Honours & Arms


  • 1719-1736: Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
  • 1736-1751: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
  • 1736-1772: Her Royal Highness The Dowager Princess of Wales


Her nine children were:

Name Birth Death Notes
HRH Princess Augusta 31 August 1737 31 March 1813 married 1764, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick; had issue
HM George III, King of Great Britain 4 June 1738 29 January 1820 married 1761, Charlotte-Sophia, Duchess of Mecklenburg; had issue
HRH Edward, Duke of York 14 March 1739 17 September 1767  
HRH Princess Elizabeth Caroline of Wales 30 December 1740 4 September 1759  
HRH William, Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh 14 November 1743 25 August 1805 married 1766, Maria Walpole, Countess of Waldegrave; had issue
HRH Henry, Duke of Cumberland 27 November 1745 18 September 1790 (an alleged marriage to Olive Wilmot in 1767 did not occur)
married 1771, The Hon. Lady Anne Luttrell; no issue
HRH Princess Louisa Anne 8 March 1749 13 May 1768  
HRH Prince Frederick William 13 May 1750 29 December 1765  
HRH Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales 11 July 1751 10 May 1775 married 1766, Christian VII, King of Denmark, had issue


Princesses of Wales
dates they were Princess of Wales in brackets

Joan of Kent (1361-1376) | Anne Neville (1470 - 1471) | Catherine of Aragon (1501-1502) | Caroline of Ansbach (1714 - 1727) | Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1736 - 1751) | Caroline of Brunswick (1795 - 1820) | Alexandra of Denmark (1863 - 1901) | Mary of Teck (1901 - 1910) | Diana Spencer (1981 - 1996) | Camilla Parker Bowles* (2005 - present)

* Camilla does not use the Princess of Wales title, but instead uses her subsidiary title, Duchess of Cornwall.

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