Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton

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His Grace
The Duke of Grafton
KG
1st Duke of Grafton.jpg
Personal details
Born Henry FitzRoy
(1663-09-28)28 September 1663
Died 9 October 1690(1690-10-09) (aged 27)
Spouse(s) Isabella Bennet, 2nd Countess of Arlington
Children Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton
Parents Charles II of England
Barbara Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland
Coat of arms of Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, KG

Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton KG (28 September 1663 – 9 October 1690) was the illegitimate son of King Charles II of England. A military man, Henry FitzRoy was appointed colonel of the Grenadier Guards in 1681 and Vice-Admiral of England in 1682. He was killed in the storming of Cork during the Williamite–Jacobite War in 1690.

Early life and military career[edit]

Born to Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine in 1663, Henry FitzRoy was the illegitimate son of King Charles II of England.[1] His grandparents included King Charles I and William Villiers, 2nd Viscount Grandison, colonel of one of the king's regiments, who was killed in action during the Civil War.

On 1 August 1672 he was married at the age of nine to the five-year-old Isabella,[2] the daughter and heiress of Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington. The wedding ceremony was repeated on 7 November 1679,[2] and through their son Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, the couple were ancestors of Diana, Princess of Wales.

At the time of his marriage, Henry FitzRoy was created Baron Sudbury, Viscount Ipswich, and Earl of Euston; in 1675 he was created Duke of Grafton,[2] and Charles II made him a Knight of the Garter in 1680. He was appointed colonel of the Grenadier Guards in 1681.[1]

FitzRoy was brought up as a sailor and saw military action at the siege of Luxembourg in 1684.[3] In that year, he received a warrant to supersede Sir Robert Holmes as Governor of the Isle of Wight, when the latter was charged with making false musters. However, Holmes was acquitted by court-martial and retained the governorship. In 1686 he killed John Talbot, brother of the Earl of Shrewsbury, in a duel.

At King James II's coronation, Grafton was Lord High Constable. During the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth he commanded the royal troops in Somerset; but later acted with John Churchill, and joined William of Orange to overthrow the King in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.[3]

Death[edit]

FitzRoy died in Ireland in 1690 of a wound received at the storming of Cork while leading William's forces,[3] aged 27. His body was returned to England for burial.[4]

In October 1697 his widow married Sir Thomas Hanmer,[1] a young Buckinghamshire baronet, who became Speaker of the House of Commons and an authority on the works of William Shakespeare. She died in 1723.

Legacy[edit]

The Duke of Grafton owned land in what was then the countryside near Dublin, Ireland, which later became part of the city. A country lane on this land eventually developed into Grafton Street,[5] one of Dublin's main streets. Grafton Alley in Cork, close to where he was shot, also bears his name.[6]

He is an ancestor of the Earls Spencer of Althorp, Diana, Princess of Wales, and also Diana's sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his younger brother, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Fitzroy, Henry (1663-1690)". Dictionary of National Biography. 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ a b c John Harold Wilson. "Selected Brief Biographies" (PDF). Court Satires of the Restoration. p. 232. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Public Domain Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Grafton, Dukes of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 316–317. 
  4. ^ Grafton's body was returned to England - with some internal organs removed and buried (in Ballintemple, Cork) to preserve his remains for transport. See: Garnet Joseph Wolseley (1894). The life of John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, to the accession of Queen Anne. R. Bentley and Son. p. 201. 
  5. ^ "Grafton Street". The Irish Times. 27 January 1931. 
  6. ^ Gina Johnson (2002). The Laneways of Medieval Cork (PDF). Cork City Council. p. 122. 
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Cumberland
Vice-Admiral of England
1682–1689
Succeeded by
The Earl of Torrington
Honorary titles
Vacant
Title last held by
The Earl of Northumberland
Lord High Constable of England
1685
Vacant
Title next held by
The Duke of Ormonde
Preceded by
The Earl of Arlington
Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk
1685–1689
Succeeded by
The Lord Cornwallis
Military offices
Preceded by
John Russell
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1681–1688
Succeeded by
The Earl of Lichfield
Preceded by
The Earl of Lichfield
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
1688–1689
Succeeded by
Henry Sydney
Peerage of England
New creation Duke of Grafton
1675–1690
Succeeded by
Charles FitzRoy
Earl of Euston
1672–1690