By K. Samuelian
Royal Romances explores the reception of the royal kin in the course of the overdue eighteenth and early 19th centuries, and its illustration in fiction, poetry, and the preferred press. Samuelian unearths that renowned reaction to the royal kinfolk has mirrored the public’s trust of their correct of entry to the non-public lifetime of royalty, and of their license to appreciate and interpret it via illustration.
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Additional info for Royal Romances: Sex, Scandal, and Monarchy in Print, 1780-1821
The phrasing here possibly alludes to Lady Craven’s The Miniature Picture, in which Robinson played Sir Harry Revel, one of the “breeches” roles for which she became famous and which she was playing on her last night at Drury Lane before retiring from the theater. In her Memoirs, Robinson reports that the Prince once proposed that she meet him dressed as a boy, but that she refused because of “The indelicacy of such a step, as well as the danger of detection” (II. 50). 16 She tells him she has decided to have her portrait painted, “presuming that my FLORIZEL may give it some indifferent place in his Cabinet,” although she adds disingenuously, “perhaps it will not be proper to present, or be thought a gift worthy his reception” (78–79).
The Florizel and Perdita letters, partly because readers knew they began as courtship letters, offer the promise of a love story. The first task of their epistolarity is to tell the tale. Robinson’s biographer, Paula Byrne, points out that the letters in The Budget of Love “are dated between March 31 and April 18, 1780, which is exactly the time when the Prince and Mary were in almost daily correspondence before their first private meeting” (139). “Almost daily” is Robinson’s phrase, but she uses it early in her account of the affair, before she and the Prince have met.
23 Through their rhetoric the authors position their heroes and heroines as objects, not subjects. They are exposés: their authors claim to publicize facts rather than confessions or correspondence. The tête-à-têtes are secondary sources, designed for those who are content to have their information distilled for them. Their satire, when it appears, is in the control of its author, who constructs it as satire, rather than allowing it to emerge from an ironic distance between letter writer and reader.
Royal Romances: Sex, Scandal, and Monarchy in Print, 1780-1821 by K. Samuelian