(The Prince of Wales to the Earl of Chatham, 2 September 1799, PRO 30/70/4 f 219)
Yes, really. Really really. Yes, THAT Prince of Wales. That very one.
For those who can’t make it out, the letter (written on the occasion of John’s departure for Holland during the Helder expedition of 1799) reads:
“Dear Lord Chatham,
I have this moment heard that your Brigade is under orders of March Tomorrow Morning; in all probability you will wish as well as Lady Chatham to be rid of me in that event. I hope in God that Lady Chatham meets this severe trial with proper fortitude, & that her good Sense & nerves will support her through it. My good wishes attend you always my Dear Lord, & I am ever with great truth,
Your very sincere Friend
Apparently it wasn’t a passing fondness either. As King George IV in 1825, George was still writing letters to Lord Chatham calling him “my Dear Friend”, expressing himself “impatient to have the pleasure of seeing you” and signing off “your very sincere friend, GR” (George IV to Chatham, 4 July 1825, PRO 30/70/6 f. 420)
Forgive me if I am gobsmacked by this, but I never (never, never, NEVER) pictured Chatham and Prinny as best buds.
John, you never stop amazing me!