He entered the 1st Battalion of Grenadier Guards in 1795 and served in Holland under Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, second son of George III. During this campaign, he was wounded in the neck on 19 September 1798. He was promoted from ensign to lieutenant that year.
In 1807, he served as aide-de-camp to Sir Harry Burrard during the Battle of Copenhagen. He was also present at the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808, was given a company in 1809, accompanied the Guards to Cadiz in 1810, and was engaged with that corps at Barrosa. He retired from the army in 1812; his rank of Major-General was in the army of Hanover, and was conferred upon him by King William IV.
In 1830, William made him Keeper of the Privy Purse. He was also Receiver-General of the Duchy of Cornwall. Both of these offices remained with him upon the succession of Queen Victoria until his retirement in January 1847.
He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order and Knight Bachelor in 1831, promoted to Knight Grand Cross in 1834 and was created a baronet in February 1847, and nominated a Companion of the Order of the Bath of the civil division in 1848.
He married Louisa, daughter of George Edward Hawkins, esq., serjeant surgeon to King George III on 13 February 1806. They had two sons who died young and five daughters: Georgiana-Louisa; Henrietta-Maria, who died young; Laura-Maria who died in 1841; Mary; and Sophia, Maid of Honour to Queen Adelaide. He died 21 March 1852 and his baronetcy expired with him.
- "No. 13784". The London Gazette. 2—6 June 1795. p. 569. Check date values in:
- "No. 15063". The London Gazette. 22—25 September 1798. p. 899. Check date values in:
- "No. 16254". The London Gazette. 6—9 May 1809. p. 642. Check date values in:
- "No. 16663". The London Gazette. 31 October—3 November 1812. p. 2189. Check date values in:
Sir William Knighton, 1st Baronet
| Keeper of the Privy Purse
George Edward Anson