Princess of Wales's Minuet
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PRINCESS OF WALES'S MINUET. English, Minuet (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears in James Aird’s 6th and Last Volume of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (Glasgow, 1803). It also appears in the music manuscript collection of William Litten, who appears to have been a ship’s fiddler on one of the vessels of the British Far East fleet at the turn of the 19th century. His manuscript ended up on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, probably having been brought home by a shipmate named Allen Coffin. Unfortunately, nothing is known of Litten himself, or even what nationality he might have been.
The Princess of Wales is the courtesy title held by the wife of the Prince of Wales, who is, since the 14th century, the heir apparent of the English or British monarch. In Aird and Litten's time the Princess of Wales was Princess Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821), who maried George, Prince of Wales in April, 1795. In 1820 he acceded to the throne as George IV, and she became Queen Consort.
According to Agnes Strickland their marriage "began, continued, and ended miserably."
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Aird (Aird’s 6th and Last Volume of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs), c. 1803; No. 139, p. 56. Huntington (William Litten's Tune Book), 1977; p. 34.