Thursday, July 06, 2017

Another what if. If the triple obsteric tragedy had not happened.

Visiting Croft Castle in Herefordshire I found out how we might never have had a Victorian age, no Queen Victoria if the triple obsteric tragedy had not happened.

Sir Richard Croft, 6th Baronet (9 January 1762 – 13 February 1818[2]) was an English physician to the British Royal Family and was the obstetrician to Princess Charlotte who became famous due to his role in "the triple obstetrical tragedy" of 1817.   When Princess Charlotte conceived in February 1817, she was Princess of Wales, sole direct heir to George IV her father. Croft was chosen to attend her. Following medical dogma, Croft restricted her diet and bled her during the pregnancy. Her membranes broke 42 weeks after her last period on 3 November 1817. Her bedroom at Claremont was chosen as the labour and delivery room. The first stage of labour lasted 26 hours. At the beginning of the second stage of labour, Croft sent for Dr. John Sims, who arrived 7 hours later. The second stage of labour lasted 24 hours. He had correctly diagnosed a transverse lie of the baby during labour; however, forceps were not used as they had fallen into disfavour in the British medical community. A caesarean section at that time would have resulted in the princess's death. Eventually, Princess Charlotte delivered a stillborn 9-pound male. Five hours later she died, presumably from concealed inner bleeding.
Although the princess's husband and father sent messages to thank Croft for his care and attention, Croft was distraught over the outcome. The king ordered a necropsy, with the result that Sir Everard Home, 1st Baronet and Sir David Dundas, 1st Baronetreported that everything had been done for the best.[4] However, the death of the Princess continued to weigh heavily on Croft, and on 13 February 1818, at age 56, Croft killed himself with a gun.[ Near his body a copy of Shakespeare’s Love's Labour's Lost was found open with the passage (Act V, Scene II): "Fair Sir, God save you! Where is the Princess?"
Charlotte's pregnancy is known in medical history as “the triple obstetrical tragedy”
If it had not happened we would have had a Queen Charlotte and after her a king. But not William IV who came to the throne after the death of his brother George IV and whose niece was Queen Victoria. What if indeed!

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