Queen Adelaide

Who was Queen Adelaide?

They named the city of Adelaide after her!

A short history

Queen Adelaide, after whom the city of Adelaide was named, was the consort of King William 4th of England.

She was born on the 13th August 1792 in the small German Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen and she was christened Amalie Adelheid Louise Therese Karolina Wilhelmina.  From an early age, Adelheid was taught to undestand her role in State affairs and that it would be her duty to provide heirs for whichever Royal house into which she would eventually marry.

In 1817, upon the death of  the only child of the English Prince Regent and Princess Caroline, the line of succession to the English throne was in doubt, so all the unwed younger sons of George 3rd were urged to marry, “not”, an hilarious parliament was assured, “for their own sensuous gratification, but for their country’s sake.”  So it came about that it was arranged for Adelheid to marry William Henry, Duke of Clarence, in England.  The engagement was announced on the 19th April 1818 without any courtship, Adelheid being only 25 whilst the Duke of Clarence was 53.

At the age of 26, William had entered into an “arrangement” with a Dorothea Jordan, an actress, which lasted 25 years.  Ten children resulted from this relationship and they became known as the “Fitzclarences.”

William and Adelaide were married at Kew Palace on the 13th July 1818 and set up house at Bushy Park.  Their own children did not survive infancy which caused Adelaide (as she became known) much personal sadness, but she took a great interest in their niece, Victoria, and in all children, particularly those in need.  She also loved and cared for William’s ten illegitimate children and insisted that a portrait of their mother remained hanging on the wall at Bushy Park.

William’s reign was for only seven short years and saw many new laws and changes in England.  Their short reign restored respectability at court and re-established the credibility of the monarchy.

In 1836 the first settlers arrived in South Australia and the new Governor, Captain John Hindmarsh, requested permission to name the new city after King William.  The King suggested it be named “Adelaide” after his Queen and the main street was given the name of the King.

William died on the 26th June 1837 and, on his death, Adelaide pledged herself, “the most affectionate friend, Aunt and subject” of the young Queen Victoria.

Queen Adelaide died on 2nd December 1849 and was buried at Frogmore, Windsor.  She was widely admired at her death, appreciated for her character and mourned by all classes.

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The Queen Adelaide Society Inc.
GPO Box 908
Adelaide  SA  5001

E-mail:
info@queenadelaidesociety.org.au