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By Justin McCarthy
misfortunes of her brother Charles and his dynasty. Elizabeth survived
the English troubles and saw the Restoration, and came to live in England, and to see her nephew, Charles the Second, reign as king. She
barely saw this. Two years after the Restoration she died in London.
Sophia was her twelfth child: she had thirteen in all. One of Sophia’s
elder brothers was Prince Rupert–that “Rupert of the Rhine” of whom
Macaulay’s ballad says that “Rupert never comes but to conquer or to
die“–the Rupert whose daring and irresistible charges generally won
his half of the battle, only that the other half might be lost, and
that his success might be swallowed up in the ruin of his companions.
His headlong bravery was a misfortune rather than an advantage to his
cause, and there seems to have been one instance–that of the surrender
of Bristol–in which that bravery deserted him for the moment. We see
him afterwards in the pages of Pepys, an uninteresting, prosaic,
pedantic figure, usefully employed in scientific experiments, and with
all the gilt washed off him by time and years and the commonplace wear
and tear of routine life.
[Sidenote: 1714–The “Princess of Ahlden”]
George inherited none of the accomplishments of his mother. His father
was a man of some talent and force of character, but he cared nothing
for books or education of any kind, and George was allowed to revel in
ignorance. He had no particular merit except a certain easy
good—nature, which rendered him unwilling to do harm or to give pain to
any one, unless some interest of his own should make it convenient.
His neglected and unrestrained youth was abandoned to license and to
profligacy. He was married in the twenty—second year of his age,
against his own inclination, to the Princess Sophia Dorothea of Zeil,
who was some six years younger. The marriage was merely a political
one, formed with the object of uniting the whole of the Duchy of
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