Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex

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Prince Augustus Frederick
Duke of Sussex
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex by Guy Head.jpg
Portrait by Guy Head
Spouse Lady Augusta Murray
(m. 1793; an. 1794)
Cecilia Underwood, Duchess of Inverness (m. 1831)
Issue Augustus d'Este
Augusta d'Este
House House of Hanover
Father George III
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Born 27 January 1773
Buckingham House, London
Died 21 April 1843(1843-04-21) (aged 70)
Kensington Palace, London
Burial Kensal Green Cemetery, London

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (27 January 1773 – 21 April 1843), was the sixth son of George III of the United Kingdom and his consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only surviving son of George III who did not pursue an army or naval career.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Augustus Frederick was born at Buckingham House, London. He was the ninth child and sixth son of George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Nine-year-old Prince Augustus in 1782, painted by Thomas Gainsborough

He was christened in the Great Council Chamber at St. James's Palace, on 25 February 1773, by Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Cornwallis. His godparents were The Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (his paternal first cousin once-removed, for whom The Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), Duke George Augustus of Mecklenburg (his maternal uncle, for whom The Earl of Bristol, Groom of the Stole, stood proxy) and Princess Charles of Hesse-Cassel (his first cousin once-removed, for whom The Viscountess Weymouth, Lady of the Bedchamber to the queen, stood proxy).[1]

He was tutored at home before being sent to the University of Göttingen in Germany in the summer of 1786, along with his brothers Prince Ernest and Prince Adolphus. Prince Augustus, who suffered from asthma, did not join his brothers in receiving military training in Hanover. He briefly considered becoming a cleric in the Church of England.

First marriage [2][edit]

While travelling in Italy, he met Lady Augusta Murray (1768–1830), the second daughter of 4th Earl of Dunmore. The couple secretly married in Rome on 4 April 1793. The King's minister of Hanover affairs Ernst zu Münster was sent to Italy, to escort him back to London.

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
Princess Amelia
Grandchildren
Charlotte, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Victoria
George V, King of Hanover
George, Duke of Cambridge
Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck

The couple married again without revealing their full identities at St. George's, Hanover Square, London, on 5 December 1793. Both marriages took place without the knowledge or the consent of the King.

In August 1794, the Prerogative Court annulled the marriage on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772 because it had not been approved by the King. Prince Augustus continued to live with Lady Augusta until 1801, when he received a parliamentary grant of £12,000.
Lady Augusta retained custody of the children and received maintenance of £4,000 a year. The two children were named Augustus Frederick D'Este and Ellen Augusta Emma, Mademoiselle D'Este, both parents being descended from the royal House of Este. In 1806 their mother, Lady Augusta, was given royal licence to use the surname D'Ameland instead of Murray.

Peerage[edit]

The King created him Duke of Sussex, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Arklow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and a Knight of the Garter on 27 November 1801. Since he had no legitimate issue, the title became extinct on his death in 1843. In 1815 The Duke became a Patron of the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum, later to become the charity known today as Norwood. Royal patronage continued, with Queen Elizabeth II eventually becoming Norwood’s patron.

Second marriage[edit]

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex wearing the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Thistle

The Duke of Sussex married a second time on 2 May 1831 (again in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act) to Lady Cecilia Letitia Buggin (1793–1873), the eldest daughter of Arthur Gore, 2nd Earl of Arran and Elizabeth Underwood; and the widow of Sir George Buggin. Even allowing for the irregularity of these marriages, this second marriage would not have been bigamous since Lady Augusta D'Ameland (Lady Augusta Murray) had died the year before. On the same day, Lady Cecilia assumed by Royal Licence the surname Underwood. She was never titled or recognized as the Duchess of Sussex. However, she was created Duchess of Inverness in her own right in 1840.

Later life[edit]

William IV appointed his younger brother Chief Ranger and Keeper of St. James's and Hyde Parks on 29 January 1831. The Duke of Sussex was elected president of the Society of Arts in 1816 and held that post for the rest of his life. He also held the honorary posts of Captain-General and Colonel of the Hon. Artillery Company from 1817 onward. He was president of the Royal Society between 1830 and 1838, and had a keen interest in biblical studies and Hebrew.[3] In 1838, he introduced in a meeting scientist John Herschel, and the Duke gave a speech in which he spoke about the compatibility of science and religion:

"I am not presumptuous; but allow me to say, that attached as I am to science- attached as I am to religion, I am satisfied that the real philosopher is the most religious man; and it is in looking to the operations in nature that the finger of the Almighty lead us to the lesson"

—June 16, 1838[4]

The Duke of Sussex was the favourite uncle of Queen Victoria. He gave her away at her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The Duke of Sussex died at Kensington Palace in 1843. In his will he specified that he was not to have a state funeral and was accordingly buried at Kensal Green Cemetery on 5 May 1843.[5] The Duchess of Inverness continued to reside at Kensington Palace until her death in 1873. She was buried next to her second husband.

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Coat of Arms of Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex, used from 1801 until his death.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 27 January 1773 – 27 November 1801: His Royal Highness The Prince Augustus Frederick
  • 27 November 1801 – 21 April 1843: His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex

Honours[edit]

Arms[edit]

As a son of the sovereign, the Duke of Sussex had use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing a two hearts gules, the outer points each bearing a cross gules.[6]

Issue[edit]

Name Birth Death Notes
By Lady Augusta Murray (married 4 April 1793; annulled)
Augustus Frederick d'Este 1794 1848
Augusta Emma d'Este 1801 1866 married Thomas Wilde, 1st Baron Truro; no issue.
By Lady Cecilia Letitia Buggin (married 2 May 1831)
no issue

Ancestors[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings". Users.uniserve.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  2. ^ T. F. Henderson, ‘Augustus Frederick, Prince, duke of Sussex (1773–1843)’, rev. John Van der Kiste, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  3. ^ Tahan, Ilana (2007). Hebrew Manuscripts: The Power of Script and Image. The British Library. p. 37. 
  4. ^ The Athenaeum, J. Lection. p. 424
  5. ^ Liza Picard (2006). Victorian London. Orion. pp. 362–364. ISBN 0-7538-2090-0. 
  6. ^ Francois R. Velde. "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 27 January 1773 Died: 21 April 1843
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Sussex
1801 – 1843
Extinct
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Moira
as Acting Grand Master of the Premier
Grand Lodge of England
Grand Master of the United
Grand Lodge of England

1813–1843
Succeeded by
The Earl of Zetland
Preceded by
Prince Edward,
Duke of Kent and Strathearn

as Grand Master of the Antient
Grand Lodge of England
Honorary titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Prince William, Duke of Clarence
and St Andrews
Great Master of the Order of the Bath
1837–1843
Succeeded by
Albert, Prince Consort