Posts Tagged ‘Queen Adelaide’

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.

Lucy Anderson
12 December 1797 – 24 December 1878


Lucy Anderson

Lucy Anderson was the most eminent of the English pianists of the early Victorian era. She is mentioned in the same breath as English pianists of the calibre of William Sterndale Bennett.

She was born Lucy Philpot in Bath, Somerset in 1797, the daughter of John Philpot, a music seller, who is also described as “a professor of music” or “an obscure double bass player”. Grove has it that her sister Fanny, a piano teacher, married into the Loder family, which was prominent in Bath’s musical community. However, genealogical research suggests that this was in fact Frances Elizabeth Mary Kirkham, step-daughter of Lucy’s sister, Jane Harriet Philpot who became the wife of flautist George Loder, the brother of violinist John David Loder. Lucy had lessons from her cousin, a Mr. Windsor of Bath, and from William Crotch. She first achieved recognition as a pianist in Bath, moving to London in 1818. In July 1820 she married a well-known violinist, George Frederick Anderson.

Lucy Anderson was the first woman pianist to play at the Philharmonic Society concerts. She appeared 19 times between 1822 and 1862, and was the first pianist to play Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the society. She championed Beethoven’s concertos and played them more often than any other English pianist up to 1850. In 1843, she was piano soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, conducted by Ignaz Moscheles. In 1869 she became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, a rarely awarded honour.

In 1830, Johann Nepomuk Hummel composed a “Grand Military Septet” in C major, Op. 114, for violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet and piano. One source says this was dedicated to Lucy Anderson, although another says it was dedicated to Madame Adolphe de Lanneau.

In 1837 the publisher Alfred Novello gave Lucy Anderson exclusive rights for six months to play Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in England. This was a condition of an interest-free loan of £30 from her husband, the money being needed by Novello to publish the concerto.

She is described as “formidable” and “a manipulator of wide patronage”. Two queens appointed her as their pianist, Queen Adelaide in 1832 and Queen Victoria in 1837, Anderson having been Victoria’s piano teacher from 1834 or earlier. She taught the piano to Victoria’s children, as well as to other high-born ladies. She was a teacher of Arabella Goddard.

In 1848 her husband George Frederick Anderson was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music. Lucy Anderson retired in 1862, and died in London on 24 December 1878.

Her portrait by Richard James Lane is in the National Portrait Gallery.

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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 of the United Kingdom
3 November 1777 – 27 May 1848


Princess Sophia

Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom was the 12th child and fifth daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Sophia is perhaps best known for the rumours surrounding a supposed illegitimate child to which she gave birth as a young woman.

In her youth, Sophia was closest to her father, who preferred his daughters over his sons; however, she and her sisters lived in fear of their mother. The princesses were well-educated but raised in a rigidly strict household. Though he disliked the idea of matrimony for his daughters, King George had intended to find them suitable husbands when they came of age. However, the King’s recurring bouts of madness, as well as the Queen’s desire to have her daughters live their lives as her companions, stopped would-be suitors from offering for the most of the princesses. As a result, Sophia and all but one of her sisters grew up in their mother’s cloistered household, which they frequently referred to as a “Nunnery”.

Though she never wed, rumours spread that Sophia became pregnant by Thomas Garth, an equerry of her father’s, and gave birth to an illegitimate son in the summer of 1800. Other gossip declared the child was the product of rape by her elder brother the Duke of Cumberland, who was deeply unpopular. Historians are divided on the validity of these stories, as some believe she gave birth to Garth’s child while others call them tales spread by the Royal Family’s political enemies.

The efforts of the Prince Regent to gain his sisters increased independence were further hastened along with Queen Charlotte’s death in 1818. In her last years, Sophia resided in the household of her niece Princess Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria), at Kensington Palace. There, she fell under the sway of Victoria’s comptroller, Sir John Conroy, who took advantage of her senility and blindness; rumours also circulated that Sophia was in awe of Conroy because of his ability to deal effectively with the “bullying importunities” of Sophia’s supposed illegitimate son. Sophia frequently served as his spy on the Kensington household as well as on her two elder brothers, while Conroy squandered most of her money.

The Princess Sophia was born at Buckingham House, London on 3 November 1777, the twelfth child and fifth daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The young princess was christened on 1 December 1777 in the Great Council Chamber at St James’s Palace by Frederick Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were Prince August of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (her first cousin once-removed), The Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (her first cousin twice-removed) and The Duchess of Mecklenburg (wife of her first cousin once-removed), all of whom were represented by proxies.

Upon Sophia’s birth, King George ensured his daughters and younger sons would have allowances; through a provision of Parliament, Sophia and her elder sisters each were to receive an annual income of £6,000 either upon their marriages or the king’s death. The royal household was very rigid and formal, even when only the royal family were together in private. For instance, when the King entered a room, his daughters were expected to stand up, remain silent until addressed, and not leave until given permission. Queen Charlotte made attempts to be economical where possible; the younger princesses wore country-made dresses, which were less expensive, and ate plain food.

Sophia’s early life was focused on education. Lady Charlotte Finch served as Sophia’s governess, a role she performed for all the royal children. As with the strict education and discipline received by her brothers, Lady Charlotte through the sub-governesses chosen by Queen Charlotte arranged expert tutors to give the princesses lessons in English, French, music, art, and geography; Sophia and her sisters were also allowed to play sports and boisterous games with their brothers. The queen sought to combine her daughters’ entertainments with educational benefits. Sophia and her siblings were brought up with an exposure to theatre, and were entertained with special performances. Princess Sophia’s first appearance in public occurred when she accompanied her parents and elder siblings to a commemoration for George Frideric Handel, held at Westminster Abbey on 26 May 1784.

Uncommon for the period, Sophia’s father was an involved parent in her early years, and preferred his daughters to his sons. When possible he attended the princesses’ birthday parties and other special events, and was kept informed on their progress in the schoolroom. A family friend once remarked, “I never saw more lovely children, nor a more pleasing sight than the King’s fondness for them.” On the other hand, Queen Charlotte invoked fear in her daughters and, according to royal historian A.W. Purdue, she was not “benignly maternal”.

By 1792 Sophia and her sister Mary were being included in more family activities, and at age fourteen, Sophia debuted at court on her father’s birthday, 4 June 1792. According to biographer Christopher Hibbert, in her young adulthood Sophia was a “delightful though moody girl, pretty, delicate and passionate.” As within her childhood, Sophia was devoted to her father, though she occasionally found him exasperating. She wrote that “the dear King is all kindness to me, and I cannot say how grateful I feel for it.” Prior to 1788, King George had told his daughters that he would take them to Hanover and find them suitable husbands despite misgivings he had, which stemmed from his sisters’ own unhappy marriages. He remarked, “I cannot deny that I have never wished to see any of them marry: I am happy in their company, and do not in the least want a separation.” However, the King suffered his first bout of madness that year, when Sophia was aged eleven. Sophia remarked of her father’s behaviour, “He is all affection and kindness to me, but sometimes an over kindness, if you can understand that, which greatly alarms me.” Further lapses into insanity occurred in 1801 and 1804, thus forestalling talk of marriage for his daughters. The question of matrimony was rarely raised; Queen Charlotte feared the subject, something which had always discomforted the King, would push him back into insanity. Furthermore the queen, strained from her husband’s illness, wanted the princesses to remain close to her.

As a result, like most of her sisters, Princess Sophia was forced to live her life as a companion of her mother. The princesses were not allowed to mix with anyone outside of the Royal Court, and rarely came into contact with men other than pages, equerries, or attendants. Constantly chaperoned, the girls frequently complained about living in a “Nunnery”. For entertainment, the queen read sermons to them and the princesses practised embroidery. On one occasion Sophia wrote their days were so “deadly dull… I wished myself a kangaroo.”

The Princess Royal was the only daughter who was able to marry while relatively young. The rest of the princesses were not without suitors, but most of the various men’s efforts were stopped by Queen Charlotte. Most of the girls longed for families and children of their own, and often asked the Prince of Wales, to whom they remained close, for help, either in finding spouses, allowing them to marry their loves, or allowing them to live outside of Queen Charlotte’s household. A grateful Sophia once jokingly wrote to her brother, saying “I wonder you do not vote for putting us in a sack and drowning us in the Thames.” Before George became regent, he had little power to oblige his sisters. His ascension to the regency in 1811 led to Sophia and the other remaining unmarried princesses to receive increases in their allowances, from £10,000 to £13,000. He also supported their desire to venture out into society. Queen Charlotte was outraged at these attempts, and the Prince-Regent had to reconcile the two parties carefully so that his sisters could still enjoy some independence.

During Sophia’s lifetime, there were various rumours about her alleged incestuous relationship with her brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who later became the King of Hanover. The Prince Regent supposedly warned his sisters not to be alone in the same room with the Duke, and Cumberland was deeply unpopular with the British people. It is unclear whether there was truth to these rumours or whether they were circulated by the Duke’s numerous political enemies.

Limited in exposure to eligible men, Sophia and several of her sisters became involved with courtiers and equerries. Sophia entered into a relationship with her father’s chief equerry, Major-General Thomas Garth, a man thirty-three years her senior. He had a large purple birthmark on his face, causing Sophia’s sister Mary to refer to him as “the purple light of love” and courtier and diarist Charles Greville to call him a “hideous old devil”. Despite this, one lady-in-waiting noted “the princess was so violently in love with him that everyone saw it. She could not contain herself in his presence.” Greville wrote about Sophia and her sisters’ affairs in a diary entry, “women fall in love with anything – and opportunity and the accidents of the passions are of more importance than any positive merits of mind or of body… [The princesses] were secluded from the world, mixing with few people – their passions boiling over and ready to fall into the hands of the first man whom circumstances enabled to get at them.”

Gossip soon spread of the existence of an illegitimate child. Some historians contend that, sometime before August 1800 in Weymouth, Sophia gave birth to a child fathered by Garth. Historians further write that the child, baptised Thomas Garth like his father, was raised by his father in Weymouth, where his mother would visit him occasionally. In 1828, this child apparently tried to blackmail the royal family with certain incriminating documents from his father about his supposed parents’ relationship, though this ended in failure.

Conversely, Anthony Camp challenges the belief that Sophia had a child and provides a detailed summary of the available evidence. In his book Royal Babylon: the Alarming History of European Royalty, author Karl Shaw writes of the possibility that the Duke raped his sister, citing evidence from Charles Greville’s diaries, as well as other factors.

Sophia was a favourite of her niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, as the young princess liked her gentle character and had a certain fascination for the gossip surrounding Sophia’s past. Charlotte detested her other aunts, and once wrote, “I can hardly believe [Sophia] belongs to them- so wholly different is she in thoughts, opinions, matters. Her nobleness and rectitude of mind renders her no favourite here. The constant scenes of intrigue, of tracasseries, she can but ill support.” The Prince Regent’s efforts to help his sisters led to the marriages of Mary and Elizabeth, and Queen Charlotte’s death in 1818 allowed Augusta and Sophia their domestic freedom, though it was too late for them to marry. From her mother Sophia inherited Lower Lodge at Windsor Great Park, which she in turn gave to the Prince Regent. The death of Princess Augusta in 1840 resulted in Sophia inheriting Clarence House and Frogmore.

After the queen’s death, Sophia lived in Kensington Palace during her final years, next to her niece Princess Victoria of Kent, the future Queen Victoria. As a result, Princess Sophia was one of the few paternal relatives that Victoria saw often. Like her sister-in-law the Duchess of Kent, Sophia fell under the spell of Victoria’s comptroller Sir John Conroy and let him manage her money. The princess became a part of the Duchess of Kent’s social circle and, in return, Sophia spied for Conroy when he was absent from Kensington Palace. Sophia also reported to Conroy on what she heard at St. James’s Palace, as she had privileged access to courtiers as well as to her two elder brothers. Gossipmongers speculated that Conroy’s successful ability to deal with the “bullying inopportunities” of Sophia’s illegitimate son endeared her to him, while some historians write that Conroy took advantage of Sophia, who in her last years had become “dizzy, easily muddled… mourning her fading looks” and a “confused, nearly blind aunt.” Sophia often dined with the household, but the Duchess of Kent despised her. Princess Victoria was aware her aunt was a spy and the two never became close. Sophia’s wealth allowed Conroy to live a rich lifestyle, acquiring for himself a house in Kensington for £4000, as well as two other estates for £18,000. Sophia was also responsible for certain members of Victoria’s household gaining higher statuses; Victoria’s governess Louise Lehzen, for instance, was made a Hanoverian baroness on the orders of George IV, and Conroy was named a Knight Commander of the Hanoverian Order.

After having been blind for over ten years, on the morning of 27 May 1848, Princess Sophia became ill at her residence at Vicarage Place, Kensington; she was visited by her sister Mary, sister-in-law Queen Adelaide, and nephew-in-law Albert, Prince Consort. Sophia’s death occurred at 6:30 later that day, when Mary, the Duchesses of Kent and Cambridge were present.

The princess was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, immediately in front of (east of) the central chapel rather than at Windsor Castle, as she wished to be near her brother, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (who lies on the opposite side of the path). After her death, it was discovered that Conroy had squandered most of her money and that the princess had virtually no estate to bequeath. Charles Greville wrote an entry in his diary on 31 May:

“The Princess Sophia died a few days ago, while the Queen [Victoria] was holding the Drawing-room for her Birthday. She was blind, helpless, and suffered martyrdom; a very clever, well-informed woman, but who never lived in the world.”

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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.

William Feilding 7th Earl of Denbigh
25 March 1796 – 25 June 1865


William Feilding

William Feilding 7th Earl of Denbigh was the eldest son of William Feilding, Viscount Feilding and his wife, Anne Catherine Powys. He was born at Berwick House (his maternal grandparents’ family seat) near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated MA in 1816.

In 1799, Feilding’s father died and his grandfather also a year later, whereupon Feilding inherited the latter’s title.

From 1830, Lord Denbigh was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to William IV. In 1833, he was made a GCH, admitted to the Privy Council and transferred to Queen Adelaide’s Household, first as her Lord Chamberlain, then as Master of the Horse. He was made a DL for Warwickshire in 1825 and received honorary degree from Oxford University as DCL in 1835.

Lord Denbigh married Lady Mary Elizabeth Kitty Moreton, daughter of Thomas Reynolds-Moreton, 1st Earl of Ducie, on 8 May 1822. They had eleven children:

  • Rudolph William Basil, Viscount Feilding, later 8th Earl of Denbigh (1823–1892)
  • Lady Mary Frances Catherine (twin, 1823–1896)
  • Lady Augusta Emily Julia (1825–1848)
  • Hon. Percy Robert Basil (1827–1904), soldier.
  • Lady Jane Lissey Harriet (1829–1912), married Capt. Theophilus John Levett of Wychnor Hall.
  • Hon. Geoffrey William Penn (1832–1843)
  • Hon. Charles William Alexander (1833–1893), clergyman.
  • Hon. William Henry Adelbert (1836–1895), soldier.
  • Lady Adelaide Emily (1836–1870), married Charles Archibald Murray.
  • Lady Ida Matilda Alice (1840–1915), married William Malcolm Low, Esq.
  • Lady Kathleen Elizabeth Mary Julia (1842–1882), married Charles Meysey Bolton Clive.

Lord Denbigh died in 1865 and his titles passed to his eldest son, Rudolph.

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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 Marie Luise Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent and Strathearn
17 August 1786 – 16 March 1861


Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Mary Louise Victoria was born in Coburg in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. She was the fourth daughter and seventh child of Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Countess Augusta of Reuss-Ebersdorf. She had a rough childhood growing up with her brothers and sisters. One of her brothers was Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and another brother, Leopold, married, in 1816, Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only legitimate daughter of the future King George IV, and heiress presumptive to their British throne.

On 21 December 1803 at Coburg, she married (as his second wife) Charles, Prince of Leiningen (1763–1814), whose first wife, Henrietta of Reuss-Ebersdorf, was her aunt. Charles and Victoria had two children:

  • Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Emich, Prince of Leiningen married, to Countess Maria Klebelsberg
  • Princess Anna Feodora Auguste Charlotte Wilhelmine married, to Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Through her first marriage, she is a direct matrilineal ancestor to various members of royalty in Europe, including Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Felipe VI of Spain, and Constantine II of Greece.

The death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, the wife of Victoria’s brother Leopold in 1817, prompted a succession crisis, and, with Parliament offering a financial incentive, three of Charlotte’s uncles, sons of George III, were prepared to marry. One of Charlotte’s uncles, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn proposed to Victoria and she accepted. The couple were married on 29 May 1818 at Amorbach, and again, on 11 July 1818, at Kew, the second ceremony being a joint ceremony at which Edward’s brother, the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV, also married his wife, Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meningen. Shortly after the marriage, the pair moved to Germany, where the cost of living would be cheaper. Soon after, Victoria became pregnant, and the Duke and Duchess, determined to have their child born in England, raced back, arriving at Dover on April 23, 1819, and moved into Kensington Palace, where she soon gave birth to a daughter, Victoria

The Duke of Kent died suddenly of pneumonia in January 1820, a few days before his father, King George III. The widow Duchess had little cause to remain in the United Kingdom, not speaking the language and having a palace at home in Coburg, where she could live cheaply on the incomes of her first husband. However, the British succession at this time was far from assured – of the three brothers older than Edward, the new king, George IV, and the Duke of York were both estranged from their wives (both wives being past childbearing age) and the third, the Duke of Clarence (the future William IV) had yet to produce any surviving children with his wife. The Duchess decided that she would do better by gambling on her daughter’s accession than by living quietly in Coburg, and sought support from the British government, having inherited her second husband’s debts. After the death of Edward and his father, the young Princess Victoria was still only third in line for the throne, and Parliament was not inclined to support yet another impoverished royal. The Duchess of Kent was allowed a suite of rooms in the dilapidated Kensington Palace, along with several other impoverished nobles. There she brought up Victoria, who would become Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India.

The Duchess was given little financial support from the Civil List. Parliament was not inclined to increase her income, remembering the Duke’s extravagance. Her brother, Leopold, was a major support, since he had a huge income of fifty thousand pounds per annum for life, which Parliament allotted to him on his marriage to Princess Charlotte, as he was expected to become the consort of the monarch in due course; but, even after Charlotte’s death, Parliament never revoked Prince Leopold’s annuity.

In 1831, with George IV dead and the new king, William IV, still without legitimate issue, the young princess’ status as heir presumptive and the Duchess’s prospective place as regent led to major increases in income. A contributing factor was Leopold’s designation as King of the Belgians (he surrendered his British income on election) and the perceived impropriety in having the heir presumptive supported by a foreign sovereign.

The Duchess relied heavily on John Conroy, a Welsh officer whom she engaged as her private secretary. Perhaps because of Conroy’s influence, the relationship between the Duchess’s household and William IV soon soured, with the Duchess regarding the king as an oversexed oaf. William was denied access to his young niece as much as the Duchess dared. She further offended the King by taking rooms in Kensington Palace that the King had reserved for himself. Both before and during William’s reign, she snubbed his illegitimate children, the FitzClarences. All of this led to a scene at a dinner in 1836 when the King, again feeling offended by the Duchess and Conroy, expressed hope that he would live long enough to render a regency for Victoria unnecessary, and decried the influence on the heir presumptive by those around her.
Conroy had high hopes for his patroness and himself: he envisioned Victoria succeeding the throne at a young age, thus needing a regency government, which, following the Regency Act of 1831, would be headed by the Princess’s mother (who had already served in that capacity in Germany following the death of her first husband). As the personal secretary of the Duchess, Conroy would be the veritable “power behind the throne”. He did not count on Victoria’s uncle, William IV, surviving long enough for Victoria to reach her majority. He had cultivated her mother as his ally, and ignored and insulted Victoria. Now he had no influence over her, and thus tried to force her to make him her personal secretary upon her accession. This plan, too, backfired, as Victoria came to associate her mother with Conroy’s schemes, for pressuring her to sign a paper declaring Conroy her personal secretary. When Victoria became queen, she relegated the Duchess to separate accommodations, away from her own.

When the Queen’s first child, the Princess Royal, was born, the Duchess of Kent unexpectedly found herself welcomed back into Victoria’s inner circle. It is likely that this came about as a result of the dismissal of Baroness Lehzen at the behest of Victoria’s husband (and the Duchess’s nephew), Prince Albert. Firstly, this removed Lehzen’s influence, and Lehzen had long despised the Duchess and Conroy, suspecting them of an illicit affair. Secondly, it left the Queen wholly open to Albert’s influence, and he likely prevailed upon her to reconcile with her mother. Lastly, Conroy had by now exiled himself to the continent, and that divisive influence was removed. The Duchess’s finances, which had been left in shambles by Conroy, were revived thanks to her daughter and her daughter’s advisors. She became a doting grandmother, by all accounts, and was closer to her daughter than she ever had been.

There has been some speculation, not only that the Duchess and Conroy were lovers, but that the Duchess had earlier been unfaithful to the Duke of Kent and that Victoria was not his daughter. This has been promoted most prominently by William and Malcolm Potts’ 1995 book Queen Victoria’s Gene. Those who promote this position point to the absence of porphyria in the British Royal Family among the descendants of Queen Victoria – it had been widespread before her; not to mention the rise of haemophilia, unknown in either the Duke’s or Duchess’s family, among the best documented families in history. Victoria herself was puzzled by the emergence of the disease, given its absence in either family.

John Röhl’s book, Purple Secret, documents evidence of porphyria in Victoria, the Princess Royal’s daughter Charlotte and her grand daughter, Feodore. It goes on to say that Prince William of Gloucester was diagnosed with the disease shortly before his own death in a flying accident. (although it should be noted that he is also descendant of George III through Queen Victoria’s uncle, the Duke of Cambridge)
In practice, this would have required the Duchess’s lover to be haemophiliac – an extremely unlikely survival, given the poor state of medicine at the time. Actual evidence to support this theory has not arisen, and haemophilia occurs spontaneously through mutation in at least 30% of cases. Queen Victoria has also been said by some to have a strong resemblance to her Hanoverian relatives, particularly George IV.

The Duchess died on 16 March 1861, at the age of 74. She is buried in the Duchess of Kent’s Mausoleum at Frogmore, Windsor Home Park, near to the royal residence Windsor Castle.

Queen Victoria and Albert dedicated a window in the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park to her memory.

The Queen was much affected by her mother’s death. It was the start to a disastrous year, which would end with Albert’s death

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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.

George Duncan Gordon 5th Duke of Gordon
2 February 1770 – 28 May 1836


George Duncan Gordon

George Duncan Gordon 5th Duke of Gordon was born at Edinburgh on 2 February 1770, the eldest son of Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon and his wife, the celebrated Jane Gordon, Duchess of Gordon, née Lady Jane Maxwell. He was educated at Eton. He became a professional soldier and rose to the rank of General. As Marquess of Huntly, he served with the Guards in Flanders from 1793–4. He raised the 92nd Highlanders and commanded the regiment in Spain, Corsica, Ireland and the Netherlands from 1795 to 1799, where he was badly wounded. He commanded a division in the Walcheren Expedition of 1809.

He was a freemason and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1792 to 1794. He was Member of Parliament for Eye from 1806 to 1807. On 11 April 1807, at the age of 37, he was summoned to the House of Lords in one of the minor peerages of his father (Baron Gordon of Huntley, co. Gloucester). He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1830, was Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland from 1828 to 1830 (a post that his father had held until 1827), and from 1827 to 1836 was Governor of Edinburgh Castle.

He married at Bath, on 11 December 1813, Elizabeth Brodie, who was twenty-four years his junior. Brodie was the daughter of Alexander Brodie of Arnhall in Kincardineshire. Elizabeth Grant described her thus:
His bride was young, and good, and rich, but neither clever nor handsome. She made him very happy and paid his most pressing debts, that is her father did, old Mr Brodie of the Burn, brother to Brodie of Brodie…He made a really large fortune; he gave with his daughter, his only child, £100,000 down, and left her more than another at his death. Really to her husband her large fortune was the least part of her value; she possessed upright principles, good sense, and she turned out a first-rate woman of business. In her later years she got into the cant of the Methodists.

However, at the time of his marriage and, in fact, until he inherited the Dukedom, George found himself in almost constant financial difficulties. He was referred to as “Lord Huntly now in the decline of his rackety life, overwhelmed with debts, sated with pleasure, tired of fashion, the last heir male of the Gordon line”. While his marriage remedied some of these problems, it did not supply the much sought-after heir.
Like his father, George acquired many of the positions which the Gordon family could expect almost as of right. These included the posts of Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Chancellor of Marischal College, Aberdeen and Lord High Constable of Scotland. He held the latter post of Lord High Constable for the Coronation of King George the Fourth in 1820.

By the time of his succession to the dukedom, he had established a reputation as an extreme reactionary. He steadfastly opposed the Great Reform Bill and when the majority of Tory Peers opted to abstain, he remained one of the twenty-two “Stalwarts” who voted against the Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Lords on 4 June 1832.

Throughout much of this period, his wife served Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, wife of King William IV, at Court. Indeed, she was given the Queen’s Coronation robe, which is now to be found with many other Gordon memorabilia at Brodie Castle.

Nathaniel Parker Willis, the American journalist, has left us with an interesting account of life at Gordon Castle in the twilight years of the 5th Duke’s life. He described the “canonically fat porter” at the lodges who admitted him to a “rich private world peopled by ladies cantering sidesaddle on palfreys, ladies driving nowhere in particular in phaetons, gentlemen with guns, keepers with hounds and terrier at heel, and everywhere a profusion of fallow deer, hares and pheasants. At the castle a dozen lounging and powered menials.” Willis continued: “I never realised so forcibily the splendid results of wealth and primogeniture.” Just before dinner the Duke called at his room, “an affable white-haired gentleman of noble physiognomy, but singularly cordial address, wearing a broad red ribbon across his breast, and led him through files of servants to a dining room ablaze with gold plate.”

The Duke died at Belgrave Square on 28 May 1836, aged 66. The Dukedom of Gordon became extinct, but the Marquessate of Huntly (created in 1599) passed to his distant cousin the Earl of Aboyne. The Gordon estates passed to his nephew, Charles Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond. The Gordon moveable property was left by the Duchess to the Brodies of Brodie.


Elizabeth Brodie, Duchess of Gordon

Elizabeth Brodie, the last Duchess of Gordon, retired to Huntly Castle Lodge, where she became even more fervently religious than she had been previously and conducted the rest of her life with good grace and Christian dignity until her own death on 31 January 1864, when the last trace of the original Dukedom of Gordon was also extinguished.

The Duke and Duchess of Gordon established Gordon Chapel (Scottish Episcopal Church) in Fochabers and it contains a memorial tablet to the 5th and last Duke.

The Duke had three illegitimate children: Charles Gordon, Susan Sordet, and Georgiana McCrae.

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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.

Sir Andrew Francis Barnard
1773 – 17 January 1855


Andrew Francis Barnard

Barnard was born at Fahan, County Donegal, Ireland. He was the son of the Rev. Dr. Henry Barnard, of Bovagh, County Londonderry (second son of William Barnard, Bishop of Derry, and brother of Thomas Barnard, Bishop of Limerick), by his second wife, Sarah neé Robertson of Bannbrook, County Londonderry.

He entered the army in Scotland as an ensign in the 90th Regiment of Foot in August, 1794, became a lieutenant in the 81st Regiment of Foot in September and a captain in November of the same year. He served in St. Domingo from April till August, 1795, and on 2 December was transferred to the 55th Regiment.

He served in the expedition to the West Indies under Sir Ralph Abercromby, and was present at the reduction of Morne Fortune in May, 1796.

In 1799 he accompanied the Helder Expedition, and was present at the actions of 27 August, 10 September, and 2 and 6 October.

On 19 December he was gazetted lieutenant and captain in the 1st Regiment of Footguards (now the Grenadier Guards), obtained the rank of Major on 1 January 1805, embarked with the 1st brigade of guards for Sicily in 1806, and returned to England in September, 1807.

On 28 January 1808 he became a lieutenant-colonel in the army, and was appointed Inspecting Field Officer of Militia in North America. He embarked for Canada in July 1808, was gazetted into the 1st Royals on 18 December, and returned to England in August 1809.

On 29 March 1810 he exchanged into the 95th Rifles and with the glories of that distinguished regiment his name was henceforth linked. He was appointed to the command of the 3rd battalion, which had lately been raised, and on 11 July 1810 he embarked with the headquarters and two companies in the frigate HMS Mercury, and landed on the 29th at Cadiz, which was then besieged by Marshal Victor. He commanded his battalion at the Battle of Barrosa, where he was wounded twice, once severely; was present at the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, and at the battles of Salamanca and Vittoria. Soon after the capture of Badajos he was transferred to the 1st battalion. He obtained the rank of colonel on 4 June 1813; was at the storming of San Sebastián, at the passage of the Nivelle, where he was again severely wounded — shot through the lung — and at the battles of Orthez and Toulouse. In July, 1813 we find him a Knight Commander of the Bath. On 16 February 1814 Sir Andrew Barnard was appointed to the command of the 2nd brigade (the 52nd and 1st Battalion 95th) of the celebrated light division. For his services in Spain and Portugal he received a gold cross and four clasps.

On the resumption of hostilities against Napoleon in 1815, Sir Andrew embarked with six companies of the 1st battalion of the 95th at Dover on 25 April, landed at Ostend on the 27th, and arrived at Brussels on 12 May. He was present at battle of Quatre Bras, and was slightly wounded at Waterloo. For his services in this campaign he was awarded the Russian order of St. George and the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa. The Duke of Wellington had so high an opinion of his services that, on the capitulation of Paris, he appointed him commandant of the British division occupying the French capital.

In 1821 King George IV appointed him a groom of the bedchamber, and on 13 June 1828 promoted him equerry to His Majesty. On 4 June 1830 he was gazetted one of three ‘commissioners for affixing His Majesty’s signature to instruments requiring the same’ (London Gazette, 4 June 1830). On the accession of William IV he became clerk-marshal in the royal household, and for many years, until the death of her majesty, he was clerk-marshal to Queen Adelaide.

Sir Andrew became a major-general on 12 August 1819, and on 25 August 1822 Colonel of the Rifle Brigade. He was gazetted a lieutenant-general on 10 January 1837. On 26 November 1849 the Duke of Wellington appointed him lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital, and on 11 November 1851 he obtained the full rank of general.

He had the honorary dignity of M.A. conferred on him by the university of Cambridge in 1842, and was a governor of the Royal Academy of Music, of which institution he was one of the early promoters. He was nominated Knight of the Hanoverian Guelphic order in 1819 and a grand cross in 1833, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath in 1840.

He died at Chelsea on 17 January 1855. Prior to the funeral those of the pensioners who had served under him in the Peninsula obtained permission to see his remains. After they had left the room it was found that the coffin was covered with laurel leaves, for each man, unobserved, had brought in one and laid it on the body of his venerated chief.

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The preliminary work on the Timelines of the Regency Era has now been presented. 50 years of happenings, events, births and deaths of prominent figures. It is not over. There are probably a good thousand more events to be recorded. In fact, at this point only those details through 1802 have been added into the Timeline.

The rest takes a great deal of editing, as well as searching and placing the graphics. The first years of 1787 to 1801 can all be found at Regency Assembly Press’ Timeline page

There are a lot of pictures shown there. It will add to your visualization of the Regency. But now, what to include in my daily posts. For months now we have had something new every day, and by the number of hits we are not getting, there is a small following.

Soon we will have an Edwardian Timeline, but for now, Regency Personalities is something I have thought to start on.

Over the next few days I thought it might be useful for me to have a guide.

Amongst other royalty and notables will be:

        Maria Fitzherbert

        Lord Byron



        Lady Caroline Lamb

        Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

        Charles James Fox

        William Wilberforce

        Thomas Clarkson

        Hannah More

        Richard Brinsley Sheridan

        Edmund Kean

        John Phillip Kemble

        John Burgoyne

        Harriet Mellon

        Mary Robinson

        Wellington (the Military man)



        St. Vincent


        General Banastre Tarleton

        Henry Paget

        Stapleton Cotton

        Thomas Picton






        Patronesses of Almacks

                Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper

                Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh

                Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey

                Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton

                Mrs. Drummond Burrell

                Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador

                Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III

George IV

William IV

Lady Hester Stanhope

Princess Charlotte

Queen Charlotte

Princess Caroline

Queen Adelaide

Today, the next personality of our period, Dorothea Jordan, mistress of William IV. Much of this is work I have done for the English Historical Fiction Authors, of which I am a member of.

Dorothea Jordan

November 21st 1761 to July 5th 1816

This is my favorite of the mistresses of the sons of George III, for with ten children, this was a true marriage between successful people. Dorothea Bland was the daughter of a stagehand and an actress, theater people, and when thirteen, her father left her mother and four other siblings for another actress.


Dorothea thus went into the family business and became famous, known to have the most beautiful legs on stage of the day. There was no Mister Jordan, as the other ladies of the royals were married prior to catching a Prince. She did have an affair with the manager of the Theater Royal, Cork, Richard Daly and had a daughter when she was twenty, named Frances.


Then in England, she had an affair with an army Lieutenant named Charles Doyne. He proposed but she went to work for the theater company operated by Tate Wilkinson. This is when she took the name Mrs. Jordan. After Wilkinson, she had an affair with George Inchbald. She would have married Inchbald, but he did not ask. In 1786, she began an affair with Sir Richard Ford, who promised to marry her. They had three children together. When she realized that Ford was never going to wed her, she traded up to William.

She began her affair with William in 1791 and moved in with him at Bushy House.


They raised their ten children there for the next twenty years. Sounds like a marriage to me. While married she contented to act, and also made public appearances with the Duke. William had been rather sexually active in his youth but once with Mrs. Jordan he was dedicated to her, and then when he married Adelaide, he transferred his affections to his new wife. As an actress during this period she became a favorite of the public which included Jane and Cassandra Austen.

After twenty years Dorothea and William separated, William having to enter the Matrimonial Marathon and William gave her a yearly stipend. William and Dorothea’s eldest son George was made the 1st Earl of Munster, so that family can trace their roots to Dorothea.

Dorothea raised the girls and he took custody of his sons. For his dignity, he asked that she not return to the stage to continue to receive her stipend. When one of her son-in-laws came into debt and needed funds, she did return to the stage to raise the necessary monies. William then cut her off and took back care of their daughters.

Now broke, she fled to France in 1815 and died a year later in poverty. Her descendants include many of the famous. One is David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom as of this posting.

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