Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort

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The Duke of Beaufort

Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort by Henry Alken detail.jpg
The Duke of Beaufort by Henry Alken.
Personal details
Born5 February 1792 (1792-02-05)
Died17 November 1853 (1853-11-18) (aged 61)
Badminton House, Gloucestershire
Political partyTory
Spouse(s)(1) Georgiana FitzRoy
(2) Emily Smith
Children10, including Henry
ParentsHenry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort
Lady Charlotte Sophia Leveson-Gower
Shield of arms of Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort, KG

Major Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort, KG (5 February 1792 – 17 November 1853), styled Earl of Glamorgan until 1803 and Marquess of Worcester between 1803 and 1835,[1] was a British peer, soldier, and politician.


Beaufort was the eldest son of Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort, and Lady Charlotte Sophia, daughter of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford. Lord Granville Somerset was his younger brother.

Military and political career[edit]

Beaufort was commissioned a cornet in the 10th Hussars on 18 June 1811. He was promoted to lieutenant in the 14th Light Dragoons on 21 August, but transferred back to the 10th Hussars on 6 September. Worcester also served as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain between 1812 and 1814.[1]

In 1813, Beaufort was returned as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Monmouth Boroughs, as a Tory, and continued to hold the seat until 1831. On 26 October 1815, he transferred to the 7th Hussars. In the following year, he was appointed a Lord of the Admiralty under Lord Liverpool, serving on the Board until 1819. On 2 December 1819, he was made a captain in the 37th Foot, and on 30 December, was promoted to the rank of major.[1]

In the contentious election of 1831, Beaufort was defeated by Benjamin Hall at Monmouth Boroughs. While Hall's victory was overturned on petition and Beaufort regained the seat, he again lost to Hall in the 1832 election. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel commandant of the Gloucestershire Yeomanry in 1834.[1] In 1835, he successfully contested West Gloucestershire, but left the House when he succeeded as Duke of Beaufort that November. In 1836, he became High Steward of Bristol and was appointed a Knight of the Garter on 11 April 1842.[1]


Henry Somerset on horseback, 1841

Beaufort married Georgiana Frederica Fitzroy (1792–1821), daughter of the Hon. Henry FitzRoy and Lady Anne Wellesley, on 25 July 1814. Georgiana's paternal ancestors included the Schuyler family, the Van Cortlandt family and the Delancey family of British North America. They had three daughters:

After the death of his wife in 1821, he married her younger half-sister, Emily Frances Smith, daughter of Charles Culling Smith, on 29 June 1822; they were both daughters of Lady Anne Smith, the Duke of Wellington's sister. (This marriage, in contravention of the canon laws of the Church of England, rendered his marriage potentially annullable for many years: for this reason Wellington himself strongly opposed it.) They had seven children, one son and six daughters:

In 1840, Beaufort bought the house at 22 Arlington Street in St. James's, a district of the City of Westminster in central London from John Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden and proceeded to expend enormous sums refurbishing the interior of the house. He renamed the house after his title and during his residency it was known as "Beaufort House." He hired architect Owen Jones, who had studied the Alhambra to embellish the interiors. Beaufort sold the house a year before he died to William Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton.[2][3][4]

Beaufort died in 1853, aged 61 at Badminton House, Gloucestershire, and was buried at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton. He is best known today for his two marriages, and his involvement, as a very young man, with the courtesan Harriette Wilson, to whom he apparently proposed marriage.

Fictional portrayal[edit]

Both Beaufort and Harriette Wilson feature as minor characters in Black Ajax by George MacDonald Fraser.



  1. ^ a b c d e Doyle, James E. (1886). The Official Baronage of England. Vol. I. Longmans, Green and Co. p. 136. Retrieved 7 March 2009. |volume= has extra text (help)
  2. ^ Chancellor, E. Beresford (1908). The Private Palaces of London Past and Present. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co Ltd. pp. 366–367. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  3. ^ thepeerage.com Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage, Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort (p. 106)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Charles Somerset
Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
Succeeded by
Benjamin Hall
Preceded by
Benjamin Hall
Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
Succeeded by
Benjamin Hall
Preceded by
Hon. Grantley Berkeley
Hon. Augustus Moreton
Member for Gloucestershire West
With: Hon. Grantley Berkeley 1832–1852
Succeeded by
Hon. Grantley Berkeley
Robert Blagden Hale
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Somerset
Duke of Beaufort
Succeeded by
Henry Somerset