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Posts Tagged ‘Cecilia Underwood 1st Duchess of Inverness’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Arthur Saunders Gore 2nd Earl of Arran
25 July 1734 – 8 October 1809

Arthur Saunders Gore 2nd Earl of Arran was the eldest son of Arthur Gore, 1st Earl of Arran, and Jane Saunders. He was elected to the Irish House of Commons for Donegal Borough in 1759, a seat he held until 1761 and again from 1768 to 1774 and also represented Wexford County between 1761 and 1768. In 1773 he succeeded his father as second Earl of Arran and entered the Irish House of Lords. Arran was also appointed High Sheriff of County Wexford in 1757 and High Sheriff of Mayo in 1765. He was admitted to the Irish Privy Council in 1771 and in 1783 he was invested as one of the original sixteen Knights of the Order of St Patrick.

Lord Arran married, firstly, the Hon. Catherine Annesley, daughter of William Annesley, 1st Viscount Glerawly, in 1760. They had two sons and four daughters. After Catherine’s death in 1770 he married, secondly, Anne Knight, daughter of Reverend Boleyn Knight, in 1771. They had one son and two daughters. After Anne’s death he married, thirdly, Elizabeth Underwood, daughter of Richard Underwood, in 1781. They had four sons and three daughters. His eldest daughter from his third marriage, Lady Cecilia, was the second wife of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, and was created Duchess of Inverness in 1840. Lord Arran died in October 1809, aged 75, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Arthur. Lady Arran died in 1829.

Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. Charles Gore, son of the 2nd Earl of Arran, K.P., married Sarah Rachel Fraser (1824–1880), eldest daughter of the ‘Hon. James Fraser, M.E.C. of Nova Scotia, and his wife, Rachel Otis, daughter of Benjamin DeWolfe, Esquire, of Windsor, N.S.. at Halifax, N.S., May I3th, 1824. The couple had three sons and two daughters. One of the daughters became Dowager Countess of Erroll. The other, Cecilia, became duchess of Inverness. V.A. Colonel Gore served with distinction under Wellington, and was present with him at Waterloo, where he had three horses shot under him. He was sent afterwards to Canada, where he was created successively a C.H., a K.H., and a G.C.B., and attained general’s rank in 1863. He served as lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital at his death, 4 September 1869. Queen Victoria gave Lady Gore the use of a suite of apartments at Hampton Court Palace, where she died, 17 October 1880.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Cecilia Underwood 1st Duchess of Inverness
1785 – 1 August 1873

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Cecilia Underwood

Cecilia Underwood 1st Duchess of Inverness was the second wife of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, sixth son of George III. As their marriage was in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, it was considered legally void, and she could not be styled either as the Duchess of Sussex or a Princess. She was created Duchess of Inverness, in her own right, by Queen Victoria, on 10 April 1840.

Cecilia’s exact date of birth is not known, although it is around 1785. Her father was Arthur Gore, 2nd Earl of Arran; her mother, Elizabeth née Underwood. She was styled Lady Cecilia Gore at birth, the courtesy title of a daughter of an earl.

Lady Cecilia’s first marriage was to Sir George Buggin, in May 1815. The marriage produced no children and Sir George died on 12 April 1825.

She later married Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, the sixth son of George III, at Great Cumberland Place, London, on 2 May 1831. The Duke of Sussex had already married Lady Augusta Murray in 1793, but that marriage was annulled in 1794 as it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772 which required that all members of the British Royal Family seek permission of the sovereign before marriage. However the Duke of Sussex’s second marriage also contravened the Act, making it legally void.

As the marriage was not considered legal in the UK, Lady Cecilia could not take the style Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. Instead she assumed the name “Underwood”, her mother’s maiden name, by Royal Licence and was known as Lady Cecilia Underwood. The couple resided at the Duke’s apartments in Kensington Palace.

However, Lady Cecilia was not accepted as a full member of the British Royal Family. Strict royal protocol restricted Lady Cecilia at any functions attended by other members of the Royal Family, as she was unable to take a seat beside her husband due to her lower rank. To compensate for this, in 1840 Queen Victoria created her Duchess of Inverness, in her own right, with remainder to the heirs male of her body lawfully begotten. This recognised her husband’s subsidiary title of Earl of Inverness.

The Duke of Sussex died at Kensington Palace and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. The Duchess of Inverness continued to reside at Kensington Palace until her death in August 1873. She was buried next to her second husband.

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