2 Your Roots: Learning the History of Queen Street

2 Your Roots

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – If you’ve taken a stroll around Downtown Charleston, you’ve probably walked along Queen Street—But do you know who the historic street is named after?

Queen Street is named in honor of Queen Caroline of Ansbach who was born in Germany in 1683. She was the consort of King George II. Dr. Lager explains that a royal consort is the spouse of a ruling king or queen.  He says, “Consorts have no constitutional status or power, but many had significant influence over their spouse and certainly Queen Caroline fell into that category.”

In her early-life, Caroline became an orphan when both her mother and father passed away before her 14th birthday. Caroline’s guardians were the king and queen of Prussia in 1701.  They pair exposed Caroline to an intellectual environment and shaped her into a scholar.

Dr. Lager says Caroline was an intelligent and attractive woman who was a much sought-after as a bride. He explains, “In 1705, the Queen of Prussia’s nephew, Prince George Augustus of Hanover, visited the Ansbach Court and took a liking to Caroline. They married and in 1714 the pair moved to England when her father-in-law, George I, became King.

George I died in 1727 and Caroline and her George II were crowned at Westminster Abbey. Caroline continued to be an important influence on her husband because of her intellectual abilities. Dr. Lager explains that she was an avid reader and helped to popularize the practice of “variolation”, an early form of immunization.

In November of 1737, Queen Caroline died and was widely mourned both in England and in Charleston. Dr. Lager says The Protestants lauded her moral example and her refusal to convert to Catholicism (when offered the hand of Archduke Charles) was used to portray her as a strong adherent to Protestantism.

She was known as “Caroline the Good” because she was a true-hearted woman. Dr. Lager says she encouraged poets and others learning in her Court while gaining the goodwill of men such as Sir Isaac Newton. She was also a benefactress of Queens College in Oxford.

Dock Street was changed to Queen Street in her honor in 1734, prior to her death.

If you have a street, landmark, or a piece of history you want Temple Ricke to help uncover… send your suggestions to tricke@wcbd.com

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