William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry

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The Duke of Queensberry
The Duke of Queensberry
The Duke of Queensberry by John Opie
Born16 December 1724 (1724-12-16)
Died23 December 1810 (1810-12-24) (aged 86)
OccupationScottish duke
ChildrenMaria Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford
Parent(s)William Douglas, 2nd Earl of March
Lady Anne Hamilton

William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry KT (16 December 1724 – 23 December 1810) was a Scottish nobleman. He was popularly known as Old Q, and was famous for being a great gambler.[1]

Born in Peebles, Queensberry was the only son of William Douglas, 2nd Earl of March, and his wife, Lady Anne Hamilton.

William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensbury

A friend of the Prince of Wales, Douglas was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber to George III in 1760.[2] He was appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1761 and was a Scottish representative peer from 1761, and was Vice Admiral of Scotland from 1767 to 1776. However, because of his behavior during the king's illness he was deprived of his office as Gentleman of the Bedchamber in 1789, and for a while took refuge abroad.[3] Later, he was Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries from 1794 until 1810.

He succeeded his father in the Earldom of March in 1731 and his mother in the Earldom of Ruglen in 1748. He succeeded his cousin Charles as Duke of Queensberry in 1778, and was created Baron Douglas of Amesbury in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1786.

Queensberry never married, though he had a daughter, Maria "Mie-Mie" Fagnani, by a mistress, the Marchesa Fagnani.[4] In 1798, she became the wife of the 3rd Marquess of Hertford; Queensberry left much of his fortune to Maria Hertford,[4] but he left £10,000 to Lady Anne Hamilton who was a Lady in Waiting to Caroline of Brunswick.[5] On his death, the Dukedom of Queensberry and Drumlanrig Castle passed to his second cousin once removed, the third Duke of Buccleuch. The Marquessate of Queensberry passed to his fourth cousin once removed (and also third once removed) Sir Charles Douglas, 5th Bt, whose descendant is the current titleholder. His second cousin twice removed Francis Douglas, 8th Earl of Wemyss became Earl of Wemyss and March. The Earldom of Ruglen became extinct. He was interred at St James's Church, Piccadilly on 31 December 1810.[6]

He had horseracing interests and his racing silks were deep red with a black cap. [7]

As "Lord March", he is portrayed in the William Makepeace Thackeray novel The Virginians as a dissolute gambler.[1]



  1. ^ a b Sharpe, Graham (2015). "Marching to glory with a balls up. Newmarket 1750". Gambling’s Strangest Moments. Pavilion Books. ISBN 9781910232491.
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Queensberry, Earls, Marquesses and Dukes of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 731.
  3. ^ Henderson 1888, p. 374.
  4. ^ a b François-René de Chateaubriand, Béatrix d' Andlau, Pierre Riberette, Correspondance générale: Volume 5 (Gallimard, 1986), page 540
  5. ^ Henderson, Thomas Finlayson (1890). "Hamilton, Lady Anne" . In Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of National Biography. 24. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 135.
  6. ^ Robinson, John Robert (1895). 'Old Q': A Memoir of William Douglas, Fourth Duke of Queensberry, K.T., One of 'the Fathers of the Turf,' with a Full Account of His Celebrated Matches and Wagers, Etc (2nd ed.). London: Samson Low, Marston and Company, Limited. p. 249. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  7. ^ Weatherby, Edward and James (1801). "COLOURS WORN BY THE RIDERS OF THE FOLLOWING NOBLEMEN, GENTLEMEN, &c". Racing Calendar. 28: 52.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Carmichael
Vice-Admiral of Scotland
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Honorary titles
New office Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries
Succeeded by
Earl of Dalkeith
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Charles Douglas
Duke of Queensberry
Succeeded by
Henry Scott
Marquess of Queensberry
Succeeded by
Charles Douglas
Preceded by
William Douglas
Earl of March
Succeeded by
Francis Douglas
Preceded by
Anne Hamilton
Earl of Ruglen