Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany

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Prince Edward
Duke of York and Albany
Edward, Duke of York (Pompeo Batoni).jpg
Born(1739-03-25)25 March 1739
Norfolk House, St James's Square, Westminster
Died17 September 1767(1767-09-17) (aged 28)
Prince's Palace, Monaco-Ville
Burial1 November 1767
Edward Augustus
FatherFrederick, Prince of Wales
MotherPrincess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Military career
Allegiance Great Britain
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service1759–1767
RankAdmiral of the Blue and Vice-admiral of the blue
Battles/warsSeven Years' War
Edward (left) and George examining a map of the fortifications of Portsmouth – a detail from George Knapton's The Children of Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1751

Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, KG, PC, FRS (Edward Augustus;[1] 25 March 1739 – 17 September 1767)[2] was the younger brother of George III of the United Kingdom and the second son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

Early life[edit]

The young prince was baptised Edward Augustus, at Norfolk House, by The Bishop of Oxford, Thomas Secker,[2] and his godparents were his great-uncle The King in Prussia (for whom The Duke of Queensberry stood proxy), The Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (who was represented by Lord Carnarvon), and his maternal aunt The Duchess of Saxe-Weissenfels (for whom Lady Charlotte Edwin, a daughter of the late 4th Duke of Hamilton, stood proxy).[3]

As a boy, Prince Edward, with his brother, went through long hours of schooling in arithmetic, Latin, geometry, writing, religion, French, German, Greek and even dancing to be well rounded. For the future George III, the young Prince Edward was his only constant companion, but it was Edward who was their mother's favourite. As he grew up, quite unlike his simple and solitary brother, Prince Edward became a very popular figure in London society. Those who knew Prince Edward described him as silly, frivolous, rather a chatter-box, someone who loved a good practical joke and who did not keep the most upright company.[4][better source needed]

Seven Years War[edit]

Prince Edward showed an interest in naval affairs and sought permission to serve with the Royal Navy. He participated in the naval descents against the French coast taking part in the failed Raid on St Malo, which ended in the Battle of St. Cast in 1758.

He was promoted to captain of HMS Phoenix on 14 June 1759.[5][6] He was made Rear-Admiral of the Blue in 1761, vice-admiral of the blue in 1762,[7] and in 1766, only a year before his death, rising to the rank of Admiral of the Blue.[8][9]

Later life[edit]

The Duke of York and Albany, 1763, as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

He was created Duke of York and Albany and Earl of Ulster by his paternal grandfather, George II, on 1 April 1760.[10]

When Edward's brother ascended the throne on 25 October 1760 as George III, he named Edward a privy counsellor.

From the time his brother became king and until the birth of the king's first child, the future George IV, on 12 August 1762, the duke was heir presumptive to the British throne.

On 27 July 1765, he was initiated into the Masonic Order.[11]

In the late summer of 1767, on his way to Genoa, the duke fell ill and had to be landed in the harbour of Monaco. Despite the care and attention he was given, he died in the Palace of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, on 17 September. The state bedchamber where the ill duke died has since been known as the York Room.[12] After his death, his body was returned to London aboard HMS Montreal, and is interred in Westminster Abbey.[13]


The Duke of York and Albany in the robes of the Order of the Garter, approx. 1764–1765


  • In 1762, James Boswell published "The Cub at Newmarket", a poem which he dedicated to Prince Edward, without getting his permission. Boswell met the prince at the Newmarket races in 1760 during his first visit to London. The cub referenced in the work is Boswell himself. The dedication reads:




Duke of YORK


PERMIT me to take this method of thanking your Royal Highness, for condescending to like the following Sketch. Or, in other Words, permit me to let the World know that this ſame Cub has been laughed at by the Duke of YORK;---- has been read to your Royal Highness by the Genius himself, and warmed by the immediate beams of your kind Indulgence.

HAD I been able to conceal this, I should have imagined that I had not the least Spark of the Enthusiasm of Parnassus in my Composition.---- To be so deficient in Vanity, which, if I am not mistaken, may be reckoned an inseparable Characteristic of a Poet.

THIS Trifle, SIR, would not presume to interrupt you, when engaged in matters of Consequence. It only begs leave to pay it's Respects in an hour devoted to cheerful Festivity.

I wish your Royal Highness a long, a merry, and a happy Life; and am,

Your obliged

Devoted Servant.[14]

  • Prince Edward is an important character in Norah Lofts' historical novel The Lost Queen (1969), chronicling the life of his youngest sister, Caroline Matilda, Queen Consort of Denmark and Norway as wife of King Christian VII. Edward is mentioned as having had a special link with her, stronger than with his other siblings. The book also depicts Edward as having planned shortly before his death to elope with a commoner woman with whom he was in love, marry her in Russia and never go back to Britain – which is not firmly attested in historical sources.

Places and people named after Prince Edward[edit]

Titles, styles, honour and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 25 March 1739 – 1 April 1760: His Royal Highness Prince Edward[1]
  • 1 April 1760 – 17 September 1767: His Royal Highness The Duke of York and Albany



Edward was granted use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of five points, the centre bearing a cross gules, the other points each bearing a canton gules.[15]

Coat of Arms of Edward Augustus, Duke of York and Albany.svg
Coat of arms of Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany



  1. ^ a b In The London Gazette, the Prince is called simply 'Prince Edward' (16 November 1756; 28 June 1757; 18 April 1758; 27 October 1759; 1 January; 2 February 1760)
  2. ^ a b The Third Register Book of the Parish of St James in the Liberty of Westminster For Births & Baptisms. 1723-1741. 11 April 1739.
  3. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings Archived 6 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  4. ^ "The Mad Monarchist: Royal Profile: Prince Edward Duke of York". The Mad Monarchist. 30 December 2009.
  5. ^ Haydn, Joseph (1851). Book of Dignities; containing Rolls of the Official Personages of the British Empire. London: Longman, Brown, Greene, and Longman. p. 285.
  6. ^ A political index to the histories of Great Britain & Ireland, or, a complete register of the hereditary honours, public offices, and persons in office : from the earliest periods to the present time. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  7. ^ Joseph Haydn and Horace Ockerby, The Book of Dignities, London 1894, p. 814
  8. ^ Cokayne, George E. (George Edward) (1910). The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant. 12. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center (2 ed.). London : The St. Catherine press, ltd. p. 920.
  9. ^ Hardy, John (1784). A chronological list of the captains of his majesty's Royal navy; commencing 1673, and brought down to 1783. p. 70.
  10. ^ Yvonne's Royalty: Peerage Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  11. ^ "The History". Loyal and True Masonic Lodge No 4050.
  12. ^ "Taking a look at the Prince's Palace of Monaco". 13 September 2020. Archived from the original on 13 September 2020.
  13. ^ Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-86176-246-7.
  14. ^ The Cub at Newmarket (1762). James Boswell .info. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family". Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  16. ^ 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 Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 4.

External links[edit]