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Posts Tagged ‘Prince William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh’

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 Mary Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
25 April 1776 – 30 April 1857

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Princess Mary

Princess Mary Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh was the 11th child and fourth daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom.

She married her first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, when both were 40, and was his widow in later life. In her last years, her niece, Victoria, was on the throne as the fourth monarch during Mary’s life, after her father and two of her brothers. Princess Mary was the longest-lived (at 81 years) and last survivor of George III’s fifteen children; of those fifteen issue, thirteen lived to adulthood. She was also the only one of George III’s children to be photographed. She died on 30 April 1857 at Gloucester House, London.

Princess Mary was born, on 25 April 1776, at Buckingham Palace, London. Her father was the reigning British monarch, George III. Her mother was Queen Charlotte, the daughter of Charles, reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Mary was christened on 19 May 1776, in the Great Council Chamber at St. James’s Palace, by Frederick Cornwallis, The Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were:

According to author and historian Flora Fraser, Mary was considered to be the most beautiful daughter of George III. Mary danced a minuet for the first time in public at the age of sixteen in June 1791, during a court ball given for the king’s birthday. In the spring of 1792 she officially debuted at court. Around 1796 Mary fell in love with the Dutch Prince Frederick, while he and his family lived in exile in London. Frederik was a son of William V, Prince of Orange, the Dutch stadholder, and younger brother to the future King William I of the Netherlands. However Frederik and Mary never wed because George III stipulated that her elder sisters should marry first. In 1799 Prince Frederik died of an infection while serving in the army, and Mary was allowed to go into official mourning.

Mary’s youngest sister and beloved companion Princess Amelia called her “Mama’s tool” because of her obedient nature. Amelia’s premature death in 1810 devastated her sister, who had nursed her devotedly during her painful illness.

Mary’s upbringing was very sheltered and she spent most of her time with her parents and sisters. King George and Queen Charlotte were keen to shelter their children, particularly the girls. Mary, however, married on 22 July 1816, to her first cousin, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the son of George III’s brother, Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace. On their wedding day, Mary’s brother, The Prince Regent, raised the bridegroom’s style from Highness to Royal Highness, an attribute to which Mary’s rank as daughter of the King already entitled her.

The couple lived at Bagshot Park, but after William’s death she moved to White Lodge in Richmond Park. They had no children together. Princess Mary was said to be the favourite aunt of her niece, Queen Victoria.

Princess Mary was quite close to her eldest brother, and she shared his dislike toward his wife Caroline of Brunswick. When the latter left for Italy, Princess Mary congratulated her brother “on the prospect of a good riddance. Heaven grant that she may not return again and that we may never see more of her.”

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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.

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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