Prince Strathearn
Prince of Great Britain
Prince Strathearn
The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn was a member of the British Royal Family, the fourth son of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria.
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  • 1820
    The Duke of Kent died of pneumonia on 23 January 1820 at Woolbrook Cottage, Sidmouth, and was interred in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
    More Details Hide Details He died six days before his father, George III, and less than a year after his daughter's birth. He predeceased his father and his three elder brothers but, as none of his elder brothers had any surviving legitimate children, his daughter Victoria succeeded to the throne on the death of her uncle King William IV in 1837. In 1829 the Duke's former aide-de-camp purchased the unoccupied Castle Hill Lodge from the Duchess in an attempt to reduce her debts; the debts were finally discharged after Victoria took the throne and paid them over time from her income. Prince Edward was appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick on 5 February 1783 and a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 2 May 1786. George III appointed him a member of the Privy Council on 5 September 1799. His elder brother, the Prince Regent (later King George IV), appointed the Duke of Kent a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the military division on 2 January 1815 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order (military division) on 12 August 1815.
  • 1819
    Following the birth of Princess Victoria in May 1819, the Duke and Duchess, concerned to manage the Duke's great debts, sought to find a place where they could live inexpensively.
    More Details Hide Details After the coast of Devon was recommended to them they leased from a General Baynes, intending to remain incognito, Woolbrook Cottage on the seaside by Sidmouth.
  • 1818
    She accompanied the Duke for the next 28 years, until his marriage in 1818.
    More Details Hide Details The portrait of the Duke by Beechey was hers. There is no evidence of children but many families in Canada have claimed descent from the couple. While Prince Edward lived in Quebec (1791–93) he met with Jonathan Sewell, an immigrant American Loyalist who played trumpet in the Prince's regimental band. Sewell would rise in Lower Canadian government to hold such offices as Attorney General, Chief Justice, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. In 1814, Sewell forwarded to the Duke a copy of his report "A plan for the federal union of British provinces in North America." The Duke supported Sewell's plan to unify the colonies, offering comments and critiques that would later be cited by Lord Durham (1839) and participants of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences (1864). Edward's 1814 letter to Sewell: My dear Sewell, I have had this day the pleasure of receiving your note of yesterday with its interesting enclosure. Nothing can be better arranged than the whole thing is or more perfectly, and when I see an opening it is fully my intention to point the matter out to Lord Bathurst and put the paper in his hands, without however telling him from whom I have it, though I shall urge him to have some conversation with you relative to it. Permit me, however, just to ask you whether it was not an oversight in you to state that there are five Houses of Assembly in the British Colonies in North America.
    They were married on 29 May 1818 at Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg, (Lutheran rite) and again on 11 July 1818 at Kew Palace, Kew, Surrey.
    More Details Hide Details A widow with two children, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the daughter of Duke Franz Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and sister of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld husband of the recently-deceased Princess Charlotte. The new Duchess of Kent's first husband had been Emich Carl, 2nd Prince of Leiningen, with whom she had had two children: a son Carl and a daughter Feodora. They had one child, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901), who became Queen Victoria on 20 June 1837. The Duke took great pride in his daughter, telling his friends to look at her well, for she would be Queen of England and bringing the infant to a military review, to the outrage of the Prince Regent, who demanded to know what place the child had there. Various sources report that the Duke of Kent had mistresses. In Geneva, he had two mistresses, Adelaide Dubus and Anne Moré. Dubus died at the birth of their daughter Adelaide Dubus (1789in or after 1832). Anne Moré was the mother of Edward Schenker Scheener (1789–1853). Scheener married but had no children and returned to Geneva, perhaps significantly in 1837, where he later died.
  • 1815
    Near neighbours from 1815 to 1817 at Little Boston House were US envoy and future US President John Quincy Adams and his English wife Louisa. "We all went to church and heard a charity sermon preached by a Dr Crane before the Duke of Kent", wrote Adams in a diary entry from August 1815.
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  • 1813
    On 27 December 1813 the United Grand Lodge of England was constituted at Freemasons' Hall, London with the Duke of Sussex as Grand Master.
    More Details Hide Details The Duke of Kent purchased a house of his own from Mrs. Fitzherbert in 1801. Castle Hill Lodge on Castlebar Hill Ealing was then placed in the hands of architect James Wyatt and more than £100,000 spent.
    In January 1813 Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, became Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, and in December of that year Prince Edward became Grand Master of the Antient Grand Lodge of England.
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  • 1805
    As a consolation for the end of his active military career at age 35, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal and appointed Ranger of Hampton Court Park on 5 September 1805.
    More Details Hide Details This office provided him with a residence now known as The Pavilion. (His sailor brother William, with children to provide for, had been made Ranger of Bushy Park in 1797.) The Duke continued to serve as honorary colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) until his death. Though it was a tendency shared to some extent with his brothers, the Duke's excesses as a military disciplinarian may have been due less to natural disposition and more to what he had learned from his tutor Baron Wangenheim. Certainly Wangenheim, by keeping his allowance very small, accustomed Edward to borrowing at an early age. The Duke applied the same military discipline to his own duties that he demanded of others. Though it seems inconsistent with his unpopularity among the army's rank and file, his friendliness toward others and popularity with servants has been emphasized. He also introduced the first regimental school. The Duke of Wellington considered him a first-class speaker. He took a continuing interest in the social experiments of Robert Owen, voted for Catholic emancipation, and supported literary, Bible and abolitionist societies.
  • 1803
    The Duke of York, then Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, recalled him in May 1803 after receiving reports of the mutiny, but despite this direct order he refused to return to England until his successor arrived.
    More Details Hide Details He was refused permission to return to Gibraltar for an inquiry and, although allowed to continue to hold the governorship of Gibraltar until his death, he was forbidden to return.
  • 1802
    The Duke's harsh discipline precipitated a mutiny by soldiers in his own and the 25th Regiment on Christmas Eve 1802.
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    Appointed Governor of Gibraltar by the War Office, gazetted 23 March 1802, the Duke took up his post on 24 May 1802 with express orders from the government to restore discipline among the drunken troops.
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  • 1800
    Just over twelve months later he left Halifax and arrived in England on 31 August 1800 where it was confidently expected his next appointment would be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
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  • 1799
    He took leave of his parents 22 July 1799 and sailed to Halifax.
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    On 24 April 1799, Prince Edward was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin, received the thanks of parliament and an income of £12,000.
    More Details Hide Details In May that same year the Duke was promoted to the rank of general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America.
  • 1798
    After suffering a fall from his horse in late 1798, was he allowed to return to England.
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  • 1790
    In 1790, he returned home without leave and, in disgrace, was sent off to Gibraltar as an ordinary officer.
    More Details Hide Details He was joined from Marseilles by Madame de Saint-Laurent. Due to the extreme Mediterranean heat, Edward requested to be transferred to Canada, specifically Quebec, in 1791. Edward arrived in Canada in time to witness the proclamation of the Constitutional Act of 1791, become the first member of the Royal Family to tour Upper Canada and became a fixture of British North American society. Edward and his mistress, Julie St. Laurent, became close friends with the French Canadian de Salaberry family - the Prince mentored all of the family's sons throughout their military careers. Edward guided Charles de Salaberry throughout his career, and made sure that the famous commander was duly honoured after his leadership during the Battle of Chateauguay. The prince was promoted to the rank of major-general in October 1793 and the next year served successfully in the West Indies campaign being mentioned in dispatches and receiving the thanks of parliament.
  • 1789
    In 1789, he was appointed colonel of the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers).
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  • 1788
    From 1788 to 1789, he completed his education in Geneva.
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  • 1785
    The Prince began his military training in Germany in 1785.
    More Details Hide Details King George III intended to send him to the University of Göttingen, but decided against it upon the advice of the Duke of York. Instead, Prince Edward went to Lüneburg and later Hanover, accompanied by his tutor, Baron Wangenheim.
  • 1767
    Prince Edward was baptised on 30 November 1767; his godparents were the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (his paternal uncle by marriage, for whom the Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), Duke Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (his maternal uncle, for whom the Earl of Huntingdon, Groom of the Stole, stood proxy), the Hereditary Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (his paternal aunt, who was represented by a proxy) and the Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel (his paternal grandfather's sister, for whom the Duchess of Argyll, Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen, stood proxy).
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