Anne of Hanover, Princess of Orange

British Princess Royal

Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange. DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images

Known for: Second to bear the British title Princess Royal

Dates: November 2, 1709 - January 12, 1759
Titles Include: Princess Royal; Princess of Orange; Princess-Regent of Friesland
Also known as: Princess Anne of Hanover, Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg

Background, Family:

  • Father: George II
  • Mother: Caroline of Ansbach
  • Siblings: Frederick, Prince of Wales; Princess Amelia Sophia; Princess caroline Elizabeth; William of Cumberland; Mary of Hesse-Cassel; Louise, Queen of Denmark

      Marriage, Children:

      • husband: William IV of Orange-Nassau (married March 25, 1734)
      • children
        • Carolina of Orange-Nassau (married Karl Christian of Nassau-Weilburg, 1760)
        • Princess Anna of Orange-Nassau (died weeks after birth)
        • William V, Prince of Orange (married Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia, 1767)

      Princess Royal

      Anne of Hanover became part of the British royal succession when her grandfather succeeded to the British throne as George I in 1714. When her father succeeded to the throne as George II in 1727, he gave the title Princess Royal to his daughter. Anne was heir apparent to her father from her birth until 1717, when her brother George was born, and then again from his death in 1718 until the birth of her brother William in 1721.

      The first woman to hold title of Princess Royal was Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I. The eldest daughter of George I, Queen Sophia Dorothea of Prussia, was eligible for the title but was not given it.

      Queen Sophia was still alive when the title was given to Anne of Hanover.

      About Anne of Hanover

      Anne was born in Hanover; her father was at the time electoral prince of Hanover.  He later became George II of Great Britain.  She was brought to England when she was four. She was educated to know English, German and French, to understand history and geography, and in more typical female subjects, such as dance.

       Her grandfather supervised her education from 1717, and she added painting, Italian and Latin to her subjects. The composer Handel taught music to Anne.

      A Protestant successor to the royal family was considered essential, and with her eldest surviving brother being much younger, there was an urgency to find a husband for Anne.  Her cousin Frederick of Prussia (later Frederick the Great) was considered, but her younger sister Amelia married him.

      In 1734, Princess Anne married the Prince of Orange, William IV, and used the title Princess of Orange instead of Princess Royal.  The marriage won wide political acceptance in both great Britain and the Netherlands.  Anne apparently expected to remain in Britain, but after a month of marriage, William and Anne left for the Netherlands.  She was always treated with some suspicion by the Dutch citizenry.

      When Anne first became pregnant, she wanted to have the child in London, considering the possible position of the child in the royal succession.  But William and his advisors wanted the child born the Netherlands, and her parents supported his wishes.  The pregnancy turned out to be false.  She had two miscarriages and two stillbirths before she was pregnant again with her daughter Carolina born in 1743, her brother had finally married and her mother had died, so there was little question but that the child would be born at The Hague.

      Another daughter, Anna, born in 1746, died a few weeks after birth.  Anne's son William was born in 1748.

       

      When William died in 1751, Anne became regent for their son, William V, since both children were underage. The power of the ruler had declined under her husband and continued to decline under Anne's regency. When a French invasion of Britain was expected, she stood for neutrality of the Dutch, which alienated her British support. 

      She continued as regent until her death in 1759 of "dropsy." Her mother-in-law became Princess Regent from 1759 until she died in 1765.  Anne's daughter Carolina then became regent until 1766 when her brother turned 18.

      Anne's daughter Carolina (1743 - 1787) married Karl Christian of Nassau-Weilberg.  They had fifteen children; eight died in childhood. Anne of Hanover's son William married Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia in 1767.

      They had five children, two of whom died in childhood.

      Bibliography:

      Veronica P.M. Baker-Smith A Life of Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal. 1995.

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