Princess's gift to Northumberland doctor goes up for auction

An 18ct Royal Presentation Georgian Pocket Watch by Barwise presented to Dr Roddam.
An 18ct Royal Presentation Georgian Pocket Watch by Barwise presented to Dr Roddam.

A pocket watch presented to a Northumberland doctor by the daughter of King George IV is to be auctioned.

Princess Charlotte of Wales presented the 18ct watch to her physician, Dr George Roddam, in 1816.

A pocket watch presented to Dr Roddam by Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of King George IV.

A pocket watch presented to Dr Roddam by Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of King George IV.

The Barwise watch, being sold on behalf of an anonymous vendor, is being auctioned by Featonby's Auctioneers & Valuers in North Shields on July 1.

An estimate of £5,000 to £6,000 has been placed on the item but there has already been considerable interest and it could fetch more.

The watch is inscribed ‘From Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES to Dr Roddam As a Mark of H.R.H Remembrance of his great attention & for the benefit H.R.H has derived from his professional advice. King Lodge WEYMOUTH JAN, 1th, 1816.’

Tragically, Princess Charlotte died following childbirth in November 1817, aged just 21.

She was the only child of King George IV, who was still Prince of Wales during her lifetime, and his wife Caroline of Brunswick.

If she had outlived both her grandfather King George III and her father, she would have become Queen.

Her father pressured her to marry William, Hereditary Prince of Orange (later King of the Netherlands), but after initially accepting him, Charlotte soon broke off the intended match.

Finally the Prince of Wales permitted her to marry Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (later King of the Belgians). After a year and a half of happy marriage, Charlotte died after delivering a stillborn son.

Charlotte's death set off tremendous mourning among the British, who had seen her as a sign of hope and a contrast both to her unpopular father and to her grandfather, whom they deemed mad.

Dr Roddam was born at Fellhouse, Slaley in 1774.

He entered the Navy as a surgeon in 1796 and served on various ships during the Napoleonic Wars. He was appointed surgeon on the royal yacht in 1812 and was Princess Charlotte’s physician in 1814-15.

Records show he was admitted as naval physician to King George IV in 1821. The Royal Archives in London also show he was physician in ordinary to Prince Leopold, widower of Princess Charlotte, from 1818 to 1831.