Reported On This Day 280 years ago (April 3 1739): Joy as the Princess of Wales gives birth to another son

The Belfast News Letter of March 23 1738 (which is April 3 1739 in the modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of March 23 1738 (which is April 3 1739 in the modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of March 23 1738, which was the ‘last’ News Letter of the year under the old calendar, in which the new year, 1739, began on March 25. Thus this date is in fact equivalent to April 3 1739 in the modern calendar, because we would consider all of March to be in 1739, and because there was also an 11-day time lag between the calendars:

LONDON, March 15,

Yesterday between twelve and one o’Clock her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales felt some Labour Pains, upon which Mrs. Cannon, her Royal Highness’s Midwife, was sent for, who was of Opinion that her Royal Highness would soon be delivered;

whereupon his Royal Highness the Prince sent a Message, by the Lord of the Bedchamber in waiting, to his Majesty, to acquaint him therewith;

upon which his Majesty sent a Message to the House of Peers, on receiving of which the House immediately adjourned, and the Right Hon. the Lord High Chancellor, his Grace the Duke of Dorset, and other Peers of his Majesty’s most Hon. Privy Council, and some of the Lords the Bishops repaired to Norfolk House, where her Royal Highness was happily delivered of a Prince, about Two o’Clock in the Afternoon;

and her Royal Highness and the new-born Prince, were last Night judged to be in a fine Way of doing well.

And last Night there were ringing of Bells, Bonefires, and illuminations throughout the Cities of London and Westminster, and an uncommon Joy appeared on this happy Encrease of the Royal Family.

[This is a report of the birth of Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, who would die in 1767 aged 28. He was the second son of Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, who was estranged from his own father, the then King George II.

While Frederick predeceased his father, and died before he reached the throne, his eldest son — Edward’s older brother, who had been born the year before in 1738 — became George III, one of the longest ever reigning monarchs but also ‘the king who lost America’]

It is remarkable that there will be two congratulatory Addresses of Parliament in this present Session to the Prince of Wales on the Birth of the two Princes.

[This refers to the striking fact that the infant Prince George had been born on May 24 1738 (June 4 1738 modern calendar) and that the infant Prince Edward had been born on March 14 1738, or March 25 1739 in the modern calendar, a mere 9.5 months apart.

This meant that two messages were sent in the fifth session of the eighth Parliament of Great Britain.

The eighth Parliament ran from 1734 to 1741, and the fifth session ran from Feb 1 1739, in the modern calendar, to June 14. However, the previous session had ended on May 20 1738, in the modern calendar, which meant that it ended just before the birth of Prince George]

SPAIN, Madrid, Feb. 24.

The Day before Yesterday the King acquainted the Grandees of Spain, and the Lords of his Court, with the intended Marriage between the Infant Don Philip and the first Madam of France, in the following Terms: ‘I have concluded a Marriage between Don Philip my second Son, and the eldest Daughter of the most Christian King.

‘This Alliance gives me the greater Pleasure, as it will more closely unit the two Royal Houses.’


On Tuesday morning died at his House in St. James’s Place, of the Stone, the Rt. Hon. Charles Hamilton, Earl Selkirk, aged 76, he was one of the Lords of the Bedchamber to his Majesty, one of the sixteen Peers of Scotland, and Lord Clerk Register of that Kingdom.

He will be succeeded in Honour and Estate by John Hamilton, Earl of Rutherglen, his younger Brother; and his personal Estate, which is computed at near 100,000l. is left amongst his Brothers, and other Relations.

[£100,000 is abour £25 million in today’s money]

Yesterday morning an Express arrived from Ireland, upon which Occasion the Minister of State met at St. James’s.

It was confidently reported on Tuesday that the Spanish Register Ship lately taken by one of our Men of War in the West-Indies, and so respectfully as well as generously released by Order of our Commodore in her Passage from Jamaica to the Havannah, met with and made Prize of an English Merchant Ship. Is this Spanish Gratitude?

GERMANY. Vienna, March 7.

Letters from the Frontiers of Turky unanimously confirm that the Persians have again declared War against the Porte, and that their Troops were marching in great Numbers towards the Ottoman Territories, which they say, has thrown the Turks into a great Consternation.