Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany: Wikis

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Prince Frederick
Duke of York and Albany
Miniature of the Duke of York, ca. 1793.
Spouse Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia
Full name
Frederick Augustus
House House of Hanover
Father George III
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Born 16 August 1763(1763-08-16)
St. James's Palace, London
Died 5 January 1827 (aged 63)
Rutland House, London
Burial St. George's Chapel, Windsor

The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (Frederick Augustus; 16 August 1763–5 January 1827) was a member of the Hanoverian and British Royal Family, the second eldest child, and second son, of King George III. From the death of his father in 1820 until his own death in 1827, he was the heir presumptive to his elder brother, King George IV, both to the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Hanover.

As an inexperienced young military officer, he presided over the unsuccessful campaign against the forces of France in the Low Countries, during the conflict which followed the French Revolution. Later, as commander-in-chief of the British army, he made amends for his initial military setbacks during the late 1790s by brilliantly reorganising his nation's forces, putting in place administrative reforms which enabled the redcoats to defeat Napoleon's crack troops. He also founded the United Kingdom's renowned military college, Sandhurst, which promoted the professional, merit-based training of future commissioned officers.

Contents

Early life

Prince Frederick Augustus, or the Duke of York as he became in later life, belonged to the House of Hanover. He was born on 16 August 1763, at St. James's Palace, London. His father was the reigning British monarch, King George III. His mother was Queen Charlotte (née Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz). He was christened on 14 September 1763 at St James's, by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker — his godparents were his great-uncle The Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (for whom The Earl Gower, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), his uncle The Duke of York (for whom The Earl of Huntingdon, Groom of the Stole, stood proxy) and his great-aunt The Princess Amelia.[1]

On 27 February 1764, when Prince Frederick was six months old, his father secured his election as Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in today's Lower Saxony. He received this title because the prince-electors of Hanover (which included his father) were entitled to select every other holder of this title (in alternation with the Holy Roman Emperor), to which considerable revenues accrued, and the King apparently decided to ensure that the title remained in the family for as long as possible. At only 196 days of age he is therefore listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest bishop in history. He was invested as Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 1767 and as a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 19 June 1771.

Army

George III decided that his second son would pursue an army career and had him gazetted colonel in 1780. From 1781 to 1787, Prince Frederick lived in Hanover, where he drank and fornicated immoderately yet still found time to earnestly attend the manoeuvres of the Austrian and Prussian armies and studied (along with his younger brothers, Prince Edward, Prince Ernest, Prince Augustus and Prince Adolphus) at the University of Göttingen. He was appointed colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadier Guards (now 2nd Life Guards) in 1782, and promoted major-general and appointed colonel of the Coldstream Guards in 1784.

British Royalty
House of Hanover
Quarterly, I and IV Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or; II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules; III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent; overall an escutcheon tierced per pale and per chevron, I Gules two lions passant guardant Or, II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure, III Gules a horse courant Argent, the whole inescutcheon surmounted by crown
George III
   George IV
   Frederick, Duke of York
   William IV
   Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg
   Edward, Duke of Kent
   Princess Augusta Sophia
   Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg
   Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
   Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
   Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
   Mary, Duchess of Gloucester
   Princess Sophia
   Prince Octavius
   Prince Alfred
   Princess Amelia
Grandchildren
   Charlotte, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
   Princess Charlotte of Clarence
   Princess Elizabeth of Clarence
   Victoria
   George V, King of Hanover
   George, Duke of Cambridge
   Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
   Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck

He was created Duke of York and Albany and Earl of Ulster on 27 November 1784[2] and became a member of the Privy Council. He retained the bishopric of Osnabrück until 1803, when, in the course of the secularization preceding the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the bishopric was incorporated into Hanover.

The Duke of York, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the robes of the Order of the Garter, 1788.

In the summer of 1787, American newspaper accounts said that a government plot was under way to invite Prince Frederick to become "King of the United States". This of course never happened. On his return to Britain, the Duke took his seat in the House of Lords, where, on 15 December 1788 during the Regency crisis, he opposed William Pitt's Regency Bill in a speech which was supposed to have been caused by the Prince of Wales.

In 1795 The Duke of York took command of the regular British Army, including the Ordnance Corps, the Militia, and the Volunteers[3], and immediately declared

"that no officer should ever be subject to the same disadvantages under which he had laboured"

reflecting on the Netherlands campaigns of 1793-94.[3] The Duke of York's participation in the Anglo-Russian invasion of North Holland in 1799 made a strong impression on him, and he was the single most responsible person in the British Army to institute reforms that created the force which later was able to serve in the Peninsular War, as well as the preparations for the expected French invasion of United Kingdom in 1803.

The Duke of York was his father's favourite son. He remained, however, somewhat in the shadow of his flashy elder brother, George, Prince of Wales, especially after the latter became Prince Regent due to the mental incapacity of the King. However, the two brothers continued to enjoy a warm relationship. They had many interests in common and they both enjoyed indulging their physical desires; but generally speaking, the Duke of York took a more diligent approach to the discharge of his public duties than did the Prince Regent.

The 72nd Regiment of Foot was renamed 72nd (Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot on 19 December 1823.[4]

Marriage

On 29 September 1791 at Charlottenburg, Berlin, and again on 23 November 1791 at Buckingham Palace, the Duke of York married his cousin Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, the daughter of King Frederick William II of Prussia and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The new Duchess of York received an enthusiastic welcome in London, but the marriage was not a happy one. The couple soon separated and the Duchess retired to Oatlands Park, Weybridge, where she lived eccentrically and died in 1820. Their relationship after separation appears to have been amicable, but there was never any question of reconciliation.

The Duke and Duchess of York had no children, but the Duke was rumoured to have sired several illegitimate offspring by different mothers over the years. One of these illegitimate children was said to be Captain Charles Hesse (circa 1786-1832), a British military officer. Other reputed bastard offspring of the Duke included the Vandiest siblings, Frederick George (1800-1848) and Louisa Ann (1802-1890); Colonel John George Nathaniel Gibbes (1787-1873), who served as a commissioned redcoat officer in the wars against Napoleon and became Collector of Customs for the Colony of New South Wales, Australia, from 1834 until his retirement in 1859; and army captain John Molloy (1788/89-1867), a landowner and pioneer of Augusta in Western Australia.

Flanders

The Duke of York in 1790.

In 1793, the Duke of York was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of Coburg's army destined for the invasion of France, a force which captured and occupied Valenciennes in July that year. On his return to Britain in the following year, George III promoted him to the rank of field marshal, and on 3 April 1795, appointed him Commander-in-Chief in succession to Lord Amherst. His second field command was with the army sent to invade Holland in conjunction with a Russian corps d'armée in 1799. Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell, in charge of the vanguard, had succeeded in capturing the Dutch ships in Den Helder. However, following the Duke of York's arrival with the main body of the army, a number of disasters befell the allied forces. On 17 October, the Duke signed the Convention of Alkmaar, by which the allied expedition withdrew after giving up its prisoners.

These military setbacks were inevitable, given the Duke's lack of combat experience as a field commander, the lamentable state of the British army at the time, and the intervention of pure bad luck during the campaign. Nonetheless, because of Flanders, the Prince was destined to be unfairly pilloried for all time in the rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York, which goes:

The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down.

Later life

"The modern Circe or a sequel to the petticoat", caricature of Frederick's lover, Mary Anne Clarke by Isaac Cruikshank, 15 March 1809. the prince resigned as head of the British army ten days after the caricature's publication.

Mindful of the poor performance of the British army that he had experienced in Flanders, the Duke of York carried out many significant structural, training and logistical reforms to the British military forces during his service as the army's commander-in-chief during the early 19th Century. These reforms contributed to Great Britain's subsequent successes in the wars against Napoleon. In these positive outcomes, culminating in the victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke was aided by the military genius of the Duke of Wellington, who eventually would succeed him as commander-in-chief of the army. It should be noted that the Duke resigned for a time as commander-in-chief, on 25 March 1809, as the result of a scandal caused by the activities of his latest mistress, Mary Anne Clarke. Clarke was accused of illicitly selling army commissions under the Duke's aegis. A select committee was appointed by the British House of Commons to enquire into the matter. The parliament eventually acquitted the Duke of having received bribes by 278 votes to 196. He nevertheless resigned because of the high tally against him. Two years later, on 29 May 1811, after it was revealed that Clarke had received payment from the Duke's disgraced chief accuser, the Prince Regent reappointed the now exonerated Duke of York as commander-in-chief. The Duke would hold this post for the rest of his life. In addition, the Prince Regent created his brother a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order.

The Duke of York maintained a country residence at Oatlands near Weybridge, Surrey; but he was seldom there, preferring to immerse himself in his administrative work at Horse Guards (the British army's headquarters) and, after hours, in London's high life, with its gaming tables and attendant vices. (The Duke was perpetually in debt due to his excessive gambling on cards and racehorses.) Following the unexpected death of his niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales in 1817, the Duke became second in line to the throne, with a serious chance of inheriting it. This opportunity to become king improved further in 1820 when he became heir presumptive with the death of his father, the elderly and mentally ill George III.

The Duke of York died of dropsy and apparent cardio-vascular disease at the home of the Duke of Rutland on Arlington Street, London, in 1827. The Duke of York's dissipated lifestyle had no doubt led to his relatively early demise, thus denying him the throne. After lying in state in London, the Duke's remains were interred in St. George's Chapel, at Windsor.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

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Titles and styles

  • 16 August 1763–27 November 1784: His Royal Highness The Prince Frederick
    • 27 February 1764–1802: The Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück
  • 27 November 1784–5 January 1827: His Royal Highness The Duke of York and Albany

Honours

Arms

As a son of the sovereign, Frederick was granted use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing a cross gules.[5]

Legacy

The Duke of York in 1822.

Fredericton, the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, was named after Prince Frederick. The city was originally named "Frederick's Town". Fredericksburgh Township, now part of Greater Napanee, Ontario, was named after the Duke of York. When Toronto was re-founded to be the capital of Upper Canada in 1793, it was named York after Prince Frederick. Although the city's name was changed back to Toronto in 1834, many surrounding localities still bear the name of York.

The Albany and Albany Street in London are also named after him.

Statue of Frederick Duke of York in Waterloo Place, Westminster, London

The towering Duke of York Column on Waterloo Place, just off The Mall, London was completed in 1834 as a memorial to Prince Frederick. It was paid for by the soldiers of the British Army who each gave up one day's wages to pay for the column. A statue to Frederick's honour is also in Edinburgh. The inscription reads in main: "Field Marshal His Royal Highness Frederick Duke Of York and Albany KG Commander in Chief of the British Army". He founded The Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1803 in Chelsea, which relocated to Dover in 1909. Originally named the Duke of York's Royal Military Asylum, it was set up to look after orphans of military families. Now co-educational, the school remains exclusive to military children.

The 72nd Regiment of Foot was given the title Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders in 1823 upon its resumption as a Highland regiment, following its previous withdrawal of Highland status in 1809. In 1881,the regiment became 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's).

The only pub in the UK called The Prince Frederick is located at 31, Nichol Lane, Bromley, Kent, BR1 4DE. [1] [2]

The first British fortification in southern Africa, Fort Frederick, Port Elizabeth, a city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, was built in 1799 to prevent French assistance for rebellious Boers in the short-lived republic of Graaff-Reinet. Its history and that of the city is interwoven and the fort was declared a national monument in 1936.

The Duke of York Bay in Canada was named in his honor, since it was discovered on his birthday, 16 August[6][7].

Ancestors

See also

References and notes

Sources

  • Glover, Richard, Elton G.R., (ed.), Britain at Bay: Defence against Bonaparte, 1803-14, Historical problems: Studies and documents series No.20, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London, 1973

Further reading

External links

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 16 August 1763 Died: 5 January 1827
Religious titles
Regnal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Clemens August of Bavaria
Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück
1764-1802
as Lutheran Administrator
In 1803 secularised and annexed by Electoral Hanover, elevated to Royal Hanover in 1814. The See, void of any regalia, was held next by the Catholic Vicar Apostolic Karl Klemens von Gruben
British royalty
Preceded by
George, Prince of Wales
later became King George IV
Heir to the Throne
as heir presumptive
29 January 1820 – 5 January 1827
Succeeded by
Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
later became King William IV
Military offices
Preceded by
The Lord Amherst
Captain and Colonel of the
2nd Troop Horse Grenadier Guards

1782 – 1784
Succeeded by
Earl Percy
Preceded by
The Earl Waldegrave
Colonel of the Coldstream Guards
1784–1805
Succeeded by
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Preceded by
The Lord Amherst
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
1795 – 1809
Succeeded by
Sir David Dundas
Preceded by
The Lord Amherst
Colonel-in-Chief of the
60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot

1797–1827
Succeeded by
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Vacant Captain-General
1799 – 1809
Office abolished
Preceded by
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1805–1827
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by
Sir David Dundas
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
1811 – 1827
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Honorary titles
Vacant
Title last held by
The Duke of Montagu
Great Master of the Bath
1767 – 1827
Succeeded by
Prince William, Duke of Clarence
and St Andrews

later became King William IV
Preceded by
George, Prince of Wales
later became King George IV
President of the Foundling Hospital
1820 – 1827
Succeeded by
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Duke of York and Albany
3rd creation
1784 – 1827
Extinct
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Earl of Ulster
6th creation
1784 – 1827
Extinct

Simple English

Prince Frederick
Duke of York and Albany
Miniature of the Duke of York, ca. 1793.
Spouse Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia
Full name
Frederick Augustus
Titles and styles
HRH The Duke of York and Albany
HRH The Prince Frederick
Father George III
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Born 16 August 1763(1763-08-16)
St. James's Palace, London
Baptised 14 September 1763
St. James's Palace, London
Died January 5, 1827 (aged 63)
Rutland House, London
Burial St. George's Chapel, Windsor

Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, was born on August 16, 1763. He was the second son of George III. He was the heir to the throne from 1820 to his death.

Ancestors

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany s ancestors in three generations
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany Father:
George III of the United Kingdom
Paternal Grandfather:
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Paternal Great-grandfather:
George II of Great Britain
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Caroline of Ansbach
Paternal Grandmother:
Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
Mother:
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Maternal Grandfather:
. Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince of Mirow
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Christiane Emilie of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Maternal Grandmother:
Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Ernest Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Sophia Albertine of Erbach-Erbach

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