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Juliane von Schwellenberg

Juliane Elisabeth von Schwellenberg (1728–1797), also known as Madam Schwellenberg, was a bedchamber woman of the British queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was a well known and prominent profile within the British royal court, where she took a dominant position; von Schwellenberg was a favorite and confidant of Queen Charlotte, and handled access between the Queen and various supplicants, which gave her an important influence.[1] She is frequently mentioned in contemporary satires, songs, memoirs, diaries and other writings, such as those of her colleague Fanny Burney, with whom she was involved in a famous conflict.

Juliane von Schwellenberg, alongside Johanna Hagedorn, was selected to accompany Charlotte from Mecklenburg-Strelitz to her wedding in Great Britain in 1761. In the British royal household, she was given the shared office (with Hagedorn) as "keeper of the robes" with responsibility for the queen's wardrobe and dressing.

She was the intimate confidante of the queen and as such wielded immense influence within the royal court. She initially demanded that any supplicant of the queen should seek her permission before being admitted. This caused a conflict at court, and the queen was eventually forced to promise the king and her mother-in-law, that Schwellenberg was to be given no special privileges, in order to prevent Schwellenberg from being sent home to Germany. Despite this, in practice Schwellenberg promoted or refused supplicants access to the queen and as such had great influence over who would be given the queen's patronage, and it was noted that she received supplicants for tea in her rooms. One of the supplicants she gave her – and the queen's – patronage to, was the artist Carl von Imhoff, whom she introduced to the queen, who became his patron.

In 1785, Johanna Hagedorn, whom she shared her office with, was replaced by Fanny Burney, with whom she was famously involved in a conflict and who portrayed her in her memoirs.


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Percy: The Good Queen Charlotte