Cranbourne Lodge
Cranbourne Lodge was a keeper's lodge for the royal hunting grounds of Cranbourne Chase, once adjoining but now part of Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park is a large deer park of , to the south of the town of Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. The park was, for many centuries, the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle and dates primarily from the mid-13th century...

 in the English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 county of Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

. All that remains of it today is the Cranbourne Tower.

Medieval times

The house's origins date from when the royal forest
Royal forest
A royal forest is an area of land with different meanings in England, Wales and Scotland; the term forest does not mean forest as it is understood today, as an area of densely wooded land...

 of Windsor
Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family....

 was divided up in the 13th century.

Tudor times

A substantial house was certainly built there in the reign of King Henry VII
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

. During the reign of his son, Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, it was the residence of his favourite, Richard Weston
Richard Weston (1465–1541)
Sir Richard Weston KB was Governor of Guernsey, Treasurer of Calais and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer during the reign of King Henry VIII of England....


17th century

Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde was the first wife of James, Duke of York , and the mother of two monarchs, Mary II of England and Scotland and Anne of Great Britain....

 was born there in 1638. The building has been rebuilt and expanded several times in its history, notably by Sir George Carteret
George Carteret
Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet , son of Elias de Carteret, was a royalist statesman in Jersey and England, who served in the Clarendon Ministry as Treasurer of the Navy...

, who was visited there by Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...


19th century

The largest house on the site, including the surviving tower, was erected in 1808.

Princess Charlote

In 1814, the young Princess Charlotte, daughter of The Prince Regent (later George IV
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

), was made a virtual prisoner at the Lodge. George and her mother, Caroline of Brunswick
Caroline of Brunswick
Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was the Queen consort of King George IV of the United Kingdom from 29 January 1820 until her death...

, had long been estranged and his relationship with their daughter was little better. As was not unusual at the time, his solution was to marry off this problematic daughter as soon as possible. An engagement with William II of the Netherlands
William II of the Netherlands
William II was King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke of Limburg from 7 October 1840 until his death in 1849.- Early life and education :...

 was made in 1814, but this was soon broken off. Charlotte became infatuated with the minor prince, Augustus of Prussia
Prince Augustus of Prussia
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich August of Prussia , known in English as Prince Augustus, was a Prussian general...

, despite him being seen as below the station of a likely future Queen of England. The fact he was already married would have been its own hindrance too. In July 1814, George dismissed her loyal servants, expelled her from her previous home at Warwick House, and forced her to move to Cranbourne, with a staff of his choice.

The Prince Regent had been increasingly unpopular with the people, whilst Charlotte and her Whig sympathies were seen as populist reformers. Her incarceration was also unpopular, drawing attention from the Romantic
Romantic poetry
Romanticism, a philosophical, literary, artistic and cultural era which began in the mid/late-1700s as a reaction against the prevailing Enlightenment ideals of the day , also influenced poetry...

 poets Byron and Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron...


Charlotte also attracted the attention of Prince Leopold
Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I was from 21 July 1831 the first King of the Belgians, following Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. He was the founder of the Belgian line of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was one of the Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin Dynasty. Established in the 17th century, the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield line lasted until the reshuffle of Ernestine territories that occurred following the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha line in...

. After gaining the Prince's permission to court her at Cranbourne, Charlotte was released from her house arrest in January 1816 and they were married at Carlton House in May. The marriage was a tragic one though, and little over a year later, Charlotte was to die in childbirth. As the only surviving grandchild of George III, and thus the only clear royal heir, this dynastic crisis led to "a mad dash towards matrimony by most of her bachelor uncles", a race to provide a further heir that in turn led to Queen Victoria.

Cranbourne Tower

Today only the Cranbourne Tower remains, as a private residence. The main house fell into disrepair during the 19th century, particularly the main roof. It was demolished in 1865, although this tower was spared as a somewhat independent structure.
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