27 February 2014

An unlikely suitor for the Princess Royal was send to Bethlem

English Queen Consort Charlotte, wife of King George III, received a letter from Thomas Stone. The son of a floor-cloth painter, Stone was “a heavy looking man, about 33 years of age” and “a native of Shaftesbury”. His letter mentioned “a very warm passion which he had conceived of her eldest daughter; and hoping, if their majesties approved of the idea of his marrying her, he and the Princess Royal would be a very happy couple”. 

Princess Royal Charlotte (1766-1828)
Not content to rest his suit there, Stone appeared in person at St. James’s Palace and “begged of leave to be introduced in form, as for not having received an answer, he conceived his proposal was acceded to”. Apparently, Stone had become fixated on the Princess Royal, Charlotte (1766-1828). 
He wrote the following poem: 
To her Highness the PRINCESS ROYAL
Thrice glad were I to be your willing slave,
But not the captive of the tool or knave
With woe on woe you melt my sighing breast,
Whilst you reject your humble would-be guest.

When Stone took his amorous quest to Kew, he was seized and sent to Bethlem along with 'a Verbal Message' from the King requesting his admission. The mad-doctors reported about “evident marks of insanity having appeared in many parts of his conduct”. During his 1st year’s stay at Bethlem, Stone wrote additional letters to King George III, who requested his continuing detention. Transferred to the incurables ward in 1788, Stone was to spend the rest of his life in Bethlem, and died there in 1805.