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James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster: Wikis


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His Grace
 The Duke of Leinster 
PC (Ire)

Born 29 May 1722 (1722-05-29)
Died 19 November 1773 (1773-11-20)
Leinster House, Dublin
Spouse(s) Lady Emily Lennox

Lieutenant-General James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster PC (Ire) (29 May 1722 – 19 November 1773), styled Lord Offaly until 1744 and known as The Earl of Kildare between 1744 and 1761 and as The Marquess of Kildare between 1761 and 1766, was an Irish nobleman, soldier and politician.



Leinster was the son of Robert FitzGerald, 19th Earl of Kildare, and Lady Mary, daughter of William O'Brien, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin.[1]


Leinster was a member of the Irish House of Commons for Athy from 1741 before succeeding his father as 20th Earl of Kildare in 1744.[1][2] He was sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1746[3] and in 1747, on the occasion of his marriage (see below), he was created Viscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham, in the Peerage of Great Britain, and took his seat at Westminster that same year.[1] From 1749 to 1755 he was one of the leaders of the Popular Party in Ireland, and served as the country's Master-General of the Ordnance between 1758 and 1766, becoming Colonel of the Royal Irish Artillery in 1760. He was promoted to Major-General in 1761 and to Lieutenant-General in 1770.[1]

In 1761 Lord Kildare was created Earl of Offaly and Marquess of Kildare in the Peerage of Ireland and in 1766 he was further honoured when he was made Duke of Leinster, becoming by this time the Premier Duke, Marquess and Earl in the Peerage of Ireland.[1][4]


Leinster married the 15-year-old Lady Emily, daughter of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and one of the famous Lennox Sisters, in 1747. She was descended from King Charles II and therefore a cousin of King George III. The couple had nineteen children (although the youngest child is believed to have been fathered by his childrens tutor and Emily's lover, William Ogilvie). Their third son Lord Charles FitzGerald was created Baron Lecale in 1800; their fifth daughter Lady Charlotte FitzGerald was created Baroness Rayleigh in 1821; their fourth son Lord Henry FitzGerald was a politician; and their fifth son was the famous Irish revolutionary Lord Edward Fitzgerald. Leinster died at Leinster House, Dublin, in November 1773, aged 51, and was buried in the city's Christ Church Cathedral. He was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, William, Marquess of Kildare. The Duchess of Leinster caused a minor sensation by marrying her lover William Ogilvie in 1774, but continued to be known as The Dowager Duchess of Leinster. She had a further three children by him. She died in London in March 1814, aged 82.[1]


Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Sir Walter Borrowes, 4th Bt
Marcus Morgan
Member of Parliament for Athy
1741 – 1744
With: Marcus Morgan
Succeeded by
Marcus Morgan
Walter Weldon
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Duke of Leinster
1766 – 1773
Succeeded by
William FitzGerald
Marquess of Kildare
1761 – 1773
Preceded by
Robert FitzGerald
Earl of Kildare
1744 – 1773


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