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Posts Tagged ‘Maria Walpole’

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.

Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester
29 May 1773 – 29 November 1844

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Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester

Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester was born in Grosvenor Street, Mayfair. Her father was Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the third eldest son of The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales. Her mother was the Duchess of Gloucester, the illegitimate daughter of Edward Walpole. As a great granddaughter in the male line of George II, Sophia was styled Her Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester from birth.

The princess was privately christened at Gloucester House on 26 June 1773, by Charles Moss, The Bishop of St David’s. She had three godparents: The Duke of Cumberland, her paternal uncle; The Duchess of Cumberland, her aunt by marriage; and The Queen of Denmark and Norway, her paternal aunt (who was represented by a proxy). The King had been asked to stand as godfather, but he refused, upset by his brother’s marriage to Maria Walpole, a commoner.

On 22 July 1816 Sophia’s brother, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, married their cousin, The Princess Mary, a daughter of George III. On their wedding day, the Prince Regent bestowed the style of His Royal Highness on the Duke of Gloucester. The next day, Sophia was also bestowed with the style Her Royal Highness, to give her equal rank with her brother. From then on, she was styled Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester.

Sophia was considered as a potential bride for the Duke of Clarence (who later ruled as King William IV), but she expressed no enthusiasm for the match. Sophia never married nor had any children. She lived at New Lodge in Winkfield, near Windsor in Berkshire and held the office of Ranger of Windsor Great Park. She died on 29 November 1844 and is buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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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.

Prince William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
15 January 1776 – 30 November 1834

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William Frederick

Prince William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh was born on 15 January 1776 at Palazzo Teodoli in via del Corso, Rome. His father was Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the third son of the Prince of Wales. His mother was Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the illegitimate daughter of Edward Walpole and granddaughter of Robert Walpole. As a great-grandson of George II he held the title of Prince of Great Britain with the style His Highness, not His Royal Highness, at birth. The young prince was christened at Teodoli Palace, on 12 February 1776 by a Rev Salter. His godparents were the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (his first cousin once-removed and his wife) and The Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (his second cousin once-removed).

During his stay in Stockholm in 1802–1803, his interest and rumoured affair with Aurora Wilhelmina Koskull attracted a lot of attention, and he reportedly had plans to marry her. Queen Charlotte recalled that William said of Koskull: “If she was your daughter, I would marry her!”

He was admitted to the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) in 1787, and granted his MA in 1790. On 25 August 1805, Prince William’s father died, and he inherited the titles Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught. From 1811 until his death he was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was offered the position of king of Sweden in 1812 by some members of the Swedish nobility, but the British government would not allow it.

On 22 July 1816, he married The Princess Mary, his cousin and the fourth daughter of George III. The marriage took place at St. James’s Palace, London. On that day, The Prince Regent granted the Duke the style of His Royal Highness by Order in Council.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived at Bagshot Park in Surrey. They had no children together; they had married when both were 40. The Duke had been encouraged to stay single, so that there might be a suitable groom for Princess Charlotte of Wales, the heiress to the throne, even if no foreign match proved suitable; she had married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburgten weeks earlier.

He was active in many walks of life, and on 27 April 1822 chaired the first Annual General Meeting of London’s new United University Club. Politics, however, was not among them; he entered the House of Lords rarely, and he voted on few of the great issues of his time. He did advocate the abolition of slavery, and he supported Caroline of Brunswick and the Duke of Sussex against George IV.

He kept more state than the King; he never permitted a gentleman to be seated in his presence (which King George did as an exceptional favour) and expected to be served coffee by the ladies of any party he attended, and that they would stand while he drank it. The general estimate of his capacity is given by his nickname, “Silly Billy”; he was also called “Slice of Gloucester” and “Cheese”, a reference to Gloucester cheese.

The Duke died on 30 November 1834, and was buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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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.

Prince William Henry Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
25 November 1743 – 25 August 1805

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Prince William Henry

Prince William Henry Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh was born at Leicester House, London. His parents were Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, then Princess of Wales. He was christened at Leicester House eleven days later. His godparents were his paternal uncle by marriage, The Prince of Orange (for whom someone stood proxy); his paternal uncle, The Duke of Cumberland; and his paternal aunt, The Princess Amelia. As a grandchild of the sovereign, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince William at birth. He was fourth in the line of succession at birth.

Prince William later joined the British Army. His father died in 1751, leaving the Prince’s elder brother, Prince George, heir-apparent to the throne. He succeeded as George III on 25 October 1760, and created William Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught on 19 November 1764. He had been made a Knight of the Garter on 27 May 1762, and invested on 22 September of that year.

The Duke was Warden of Windsor Forest and resided at Cranbourne Lodge. He was most known for his secret marriage in 1766 to Maria Walpole, the Dowager Countess of Waldegrave, an illegitimate granddaughter of Sir Robert Walpole, from nearby Frogmore House. This marriage only became known to the King after the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772. They lived at St Leonard’s Hill in Clewer, near Windsor, and had three children:

  • HRH Princess Sophia of Gloucester (Sophia Matilda; 29 May 1773 – 29 November 1844)
  • HH Princess Caroline of Gloucester (Caroline Augusta Maria; 24 June 1774 – 14 March 1775)
  • HRH Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (15 January 1776 – 30 November 1834)

Princess Caroline died aged nine months following a smallpox inoculation, intended to protect her from the disease. She had been christened privately on 22 July 1774 – her godparents were The Duchess of Gloucester (her mother), The Hereditary Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her paternal aunt) and The Hereditary Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her uncle by marriage). As great-grandchildren in the male line of George II, Prince William’s children were styled Highness from birth and used the territorial designation of Gloucester in conjunction with their princely styles. After the younger William married his cousin Princess Mary, he and his surviving sister Sophia received the style of Royal Highness.

The Duke also had an illegitimate daughter by his mistress Lady Almeria Carpenter, a daughter of the first Earl of Tyrconnell.

  • Louisa Maria La Coast (6 January 1782 Esher, Surrey – 10 February 1835 Bossall, Yorkshire), who was married on 29 December 1803 in Norwich, Norfolk to Godfrey Macdonald, 11th Baronet Macdonald of Slate, later the 3rd Baron Macdonald of Slate. They had three children born before their marriage (legitimized by Scottish law, but not by Irish law) and ten children born after their marriage. (A previous marriage in Scotland was considered of doubtful validity). These children and their posterity are the only descendants of Prince William, 1st Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

The Duke was appointed colonel of the 13th Regiment of Foot in 1766. In 1767 he was promoted to major-general and made colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards. He later transferred to the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and he became a field marshal on 18 October 1793.

He served as the thirteenth Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin from 1771 to 1805.

He died at Gloucester House in London.

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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.

Maria Walpole
10 July 1736 – 22 August 1807

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Maria Walpole

The Countess Waldegrave and Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, was a member of the British Royal Family, the wife of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

Maria Walpole was the daughter of Edward Walpole and Dorothy Clement. Her grandfather was Robert Walpole, considered to be the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1721–41). She grew up at Frogmore House in Windsor, but her parents were not married, and her illegitimate status hindered her social standing despite her family connections.

On 15 May 1759, she married James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, the son of James Waldegrave, 1st Earl Waldegrave and Mary Webbe. After her marriage Maria was styled Countess Waldegrave. The Earl Waldegrave died on 28 April 1763, leaving Maria a widow. They had three children.

The Lady Elizabeth Laura Waldegrave (1760–1816) who married her cousin, the 4th Earl Waldegrave
The Lady Charlotte Maria Waldegrave (1761–1808) who married the 4th Duke of Grafton
The Lady Anna Horatia Waldegrave (1762–1801) who married Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour-son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford. Anna and Hugh were the great grandparents of Charles Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer, who was the great-grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Earls Spencer are descended from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough; the Seymour-Conways are descended from Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset.

On 6 September 1766 she married Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester (14 November 1743 – 25 August 1805) at her home in Pall Mall, London. The Duke was the third son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and a brother of George III. The marriage was conducted in secret as the British Royal Family would not have approved of a marriage between a Royal Prince and a widow of non-royal rank and illegitimate birth.

They lived at St Leonard’s Hill in Clewer, near Windsor, and had three children:

  • HRH Princess Sophia of Gloucester (1773–1844)
  • HH Princess Caroline Augusta Maria of Gloucester (1774–1775)
  • HRH Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776–1834)

The marriage to a commoner of the Duke’s other brother, the Duke of Cumberland, led to the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which required all the descendants of George II to seek the Sovereign’s approval before marriage. It was only in September 1772, five months after the passage of the Act, that the king became aware of Prince Henry’s marriage to Maria. As the Act’s provisions could not be applied retroactively, Maria and the Duke’s wedding was considered legal by Parliament. As such, Maria became styled Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh. Due, however, to the anger of George III at the marriage, she was never received at court.

Princess Caroline died aged nine months following a smallpox inoculation, intended to protect her from the disease. As great-grandchildren in the male line of King George II, the Gloucester’s children were styled Highness from birth and used the territorial designation of Gloucester in conjunction with their princely styles. After William Frederick married his cousin Princess Mary, he and his surviving sister Sophia received the style of Royal Highness.

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