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Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex

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Prince Augustus Frederick
Duke of Sussex
Prince Augustus Frederick at the age of 25
Portrait by Guy Head, 1798
Born27 January 1773
Buckingham House, London
Died21 April 1843(1843-04-21) (aged 70)
Kensington Palace, London
Burial4 May 1843
(m. 1793; ann. 1794)
(m. 1831)
IssueSir Augustus d'Este
Augusta Emma Wilde, Baroness Truro
FatherGeorge III
MotherCharlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
SignaturePrince Augustus Frederick's signature
25th President of the Royal Society
In office
Preceded byDavies Gilbert
Succeeded bySpencer Compton

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (27 January 1773 – 21 April 1843), was the sixth son and ninth child of King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only surviving son of George III who did not pursue an army or navy career. A Whig,[1] he was known for his liberal views, which included reform of Parliament, abolition of the slave trade, Catholic Emancipation, and the removal of existing civil restrictions on Jews and Dissenters.[2]



Early life


Augustus Frederick was born on 27 January 1773 at Buckingham House, London. He was the ninth child and sixth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

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

Augustus Frederick was baptised 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 Stool, 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).[citation needed]

Augustus Frederick 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.[3] 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. In 1805, during the Napoleonic War, he served at home in Britain as Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the "Loyal North Britons" Volunteers regiment.[4]

First marriage

Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex, by Henri-Pierre Danloux, c. 1794

While travelling in Italy, the prince met Lady Augusta Murray (1768–1830), the second daughter of the 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.[5]

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

In August 1794, the Court of Arches pronounced the prince's first marriage null and void on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772, not having been approved by the King.[6] However, Prince Augustus Frederick continued to live with Lady Augusta until 1801, when he received a parliamentary grant of £12,000 and the couple separated, the Duke moving to Grosvenor Square.[7] Lady Augusta retained custody of their children and received maintenance of £4,000 a year. Their two children were named Augustus Frederick d'Este and Augusta Emma 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 "de Ameland" instead of Murray.[8]

Duke of Sussex and Knight of the Garter

The Duke of Sussex in robes of the Garter, by James Lonsdale, c. 1820

Augustus Frederick was invested as a Knight of the Garter on 2 June 1786, and installed by dispensation on 28 May 1801.[9] The King created him Duke of Sussex, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Arklow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom on 24 November 1801.[10] 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.



A known mistress was Mrs. Bugge. Sir William Dillon recorded in his diary they were both present with him at a party held by Emma Hamilton (Lord Nelson's mistress) where she rented tableware for the meal but neglected to rent a carving knife, creating great difficulty in serving the Christmas dinner to her guests.[11]

United Grand Lodge of England


In January 1813, Augustus Frederick became Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, and in December of that year his brother, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, became Grand Master of the Antient Grand Lodge of England. On 27 December 1813 the United Grand Lodge of England was constituted at Freemasons' Hall, London with Prince Augustus Frederick as Grand Master. In 1842, he founded the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

George Oliver's Signs and Symbols Illustrated and Explained in a Course of Twelve Lectures on Freemasonry (1837) was dedicated to Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex.[12]

Second marriage

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

A year after the death of Lady Augusta D'Ameland (Lady Augusta Murray), 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. On the same day, Lady Cecilia assumed the surname Underwood by Royal Licence. She was never titled or recognized as the Duchess of Sussex. However, she was created Duchess of Inverness in her own right by Queen Victoria in 1840.[13]

Later life

Portrait of the Duke of Sussex in his old age, by Thomas Phillips, c. 1838

William IV appointed his younger brother Chief Ranger and Keeper of St James's Park and Hyde Park on 29 January 1831, and Queen Victoria appointed her uncle Governor of Windsor Castle in 1842.[14] 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 Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company from 1817, and of Captain-General (at which point the posts were united) from 1837 onward.[14] He was president of the Royal Society between 1830 and 1838, and had a keen interest in biblical studies and Hebrew.[15] His personal library contained over 50,000 theological manuscripts, some in Hebrew.[16] 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:

The tomb of Prince Augustus Frederick, Kensal Green Cemetery

In making these remarks 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 leads us to the lesson. (16 June 1838)


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 in 1840.[18] The Duke of Sussex died, aged 70 of erysipelas, at Kensington Palace[14] 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 4 May 1843.[19] He is buried in front of the main chapel, immediately opposite the tomb of his sister Princess Sophia.[20]

The Duchess of Inverness continued to reside at Kensington Palace until her death in 1873. She was buried next to Prince Augustus.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

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

Titles and styles

  • 27 January 1773 – 27 November 1801: His Royal Highness Prince Augustus Frederick[10]
  • 24 November 1801 – 21 April 1843: His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex[10]

The duke held the subsidiary titles of Earl of Inverness and Baron Arklow.





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 two hearts gules, the outer points each bearing a cross gules.[23]


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 Underwood (married 2 May 1831)
no issue



See also



  1. ^ "Fisher's Colonial Magazine - OBITUARY OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE AUGUSTUS FREDERICK , DUKE OF SUSSEX . K. G. , K. T. , ETC". 1843. p. 117. Retrieved 18 June 2023. He espoused the side of the Whigs...
  2. ^ "Augustus Frederick Duke of Sussex (1773–1843)". royalcollection.org.uk.
  3. ^ Unknown (1838). Masonic offering to ... prince Augustus Frederick, duke of Sussex: Volume 5 (Digitized ed.). Oxford University.
  4. ^ a b c d e f White, Geoffrey H., ed. (1953). The Complete Peerage. Vol. XII, Part 1. St Catherine Press. p. 535.
  5. ^ Henderson, T.F. (2004). "Augustus Frederick, Prince, duke of Sussex (1773–1843)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. rev. John Van der Kiste. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline. A&C Black. 11 March 2012. ISBN 978-1-4088-3254-7.
  7. ^ "Grosvenor Square: Individual Houses built before 1926 Pages 117-166 Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings)". British History Online. LCC 1980. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  8. ^ "No. 15966". The London Gazette. 18 October 1806. p. 1364.
  9. ^ Beltz, George Frederick (1841). Memorials of the Order of the Garter. William Pickering. p. ccviii – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ a b c "The London Gazette, Issue 15429, Page 1403". 24 November 1801.
  11. ^ Peakman, Julie (2005). Emma Hamilton (Life & Times). Haus Publishers Ltd. p. 156. ISBN 978-1904341987.
  12. ^ Oliver, George (1837). Signs and Symbols Illustrated and Explained in a Course of Twelve Lectures on Freemasonry. New York Public Library: Sherwood, Golbert and Piper, hor, by Bro . Skelton.
  13. ^ "No. 19842". The London Gazette. 31 March 1840. p. 858.
  14. ^ a b c The Complete Peerage. Vol. XII, Part II. p. 536.
  15. ^ Tahan, Ilana (2007). Hebrew Manuscripts: The Power of Script and Image. The British Library. p. 37.
  16. ^ "Bookplate of Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex". Rare Books of the Shimeon Brisman Collection in Jewish Studies. Washington University. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  17. ^ "The Herschel Dinner". The Athenaeum: Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts (532). 6 January 2020.
  18. ^ Walford, Edward. "St James's Palace Pages 100-122 Old and New London: Volume 4. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878". British History Online.
  19. ^ Liza Picard (2006). Victorian London. Orion. pp. 362–364. ISBN 0-7538-2090-0.
  20. ^ "Kensal Green Pages 333-339 Survey of London: Volume 37, Northern Kensington". British History Online. LCC 1973. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  21. ^ "Revived and Recently Created Orders". www.heraldica.org. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  22. ^ "A Victorian volunteer force". hac.org.uk. Honourable Artillery Company.
  23. ^ Velde, Francois R. "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  24. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the currently living Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 5.
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 27 January 1773 Died: 21 April 1843
Masonic offices
Preceded byas Acting Grand Master of the Premier
Grand Lodge of England
Grand Master of the United
Grand Lodge of England

Succeeded by
Preceded byas Grand Master of the Antient
Grand Lodge of England
Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
Great Master of the Order of the Bath
Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by 25th President of the Royal Society
Succeeded by