Princess Sophia's Gaming Counters: An exceptional early 19th century set of one hundred and eighteen mother of pearl gaming counters,
Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom (1777-1848) was the 12th child of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
Like her sisters, Princess Sophia was kept isolated from court and had a frustratingly dull life. So, although they were tutored much more than was usual for young girls at the time, they were trained more to be helpmeets for their parents. Sequestered as they were, the princesses managed to make little contact with members of the opposite sex and most were destined to die spinsters. Apparently, in 1800, Sophia gave birth to a son after a concealed pregnancy, it is thought that the father was an equerry, General Thomas Garth (±1744-1829). More scurrilous rumours suggested that the father was Sophia's notorious brother Ernest, Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851). Thomas Garth (1800-1875) later made public various papers said to prove that he was the son of Princess Sophia.
The thickness of the counters and the elaborate nature of the decoration dates them to circa 1815, see page 82, Derek Cowan, Antique Gambling Chips (Past Pleasures, 1998). Also see page 87 for further counters from the Queen Charlotte set.
Provenance: Princess Sophia, Mary Duchess of Gloucester and thence by descent.
Further research has shown that unless the coronets on the cases and the counters were incorrectly done at the time of manufacture in China, these items are unlikely to have belonged to Princess Sophia.