Righting historical wrongs, one Regency at a time.

The other sons of George III

George III and Queen Charlotte were a prolific couple, even for their time. In addition to the Prince Regent, they produced six girls and nine boys.

The King favored his daughters and resisted their desire to leave home to marry; they bitterly referred to their home as “the nunnery.” Only three ever married, and even then, rather late. The youngest, Amelia, was her father’s favorite. Her death from consumption in 1810 was suspected to be a contributing factor in George III’s final descent into madness.

The King’s sons, seven of whom survived into adulthood, were not isolated at court like their sisters. Instead, they caroused freely, so much so that the Duke of Wellington called them “the damnedst millstones about the neck of any government that can be imagined.”

The second oldest, after the Regent, was Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (born 1763). His career in the Army was cut short when the public learned his mistress, Mary Anne Clarke, had been selling military commissions and promotions which he, as Commander-in-Chief, was responsible for approving. Although he was acquitted of wrongdoing after a trial, his reputation never fully recovered. Frederick died in 1827.

Next came William, Duke of Clarence (born 1765). His naval career had lasting repercussions. Long after he’d left the service, he continued to use salty language in polite company. He lived with his mistress, Mrs. Jordan, by whom he had ten children. When funds were in short supply, Mrs. Jordan would return to the stage, her former profession, to raise money to support them. Mrs. Jordan died in 1816, after which William married the obligatory German princess. They, however, had no surviving children. He became William IV in 1830 and ruled until his death in 1837. He was also King of Hanover, but did not go there while king. (Augustus, Duke of Sussex, acted as his viceroy.)

Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (born 1767) went into the Army, but was unpopular there. He disliked his eldest brother and was his opposite in politics. After the death of Princess Charlotte, who was next in line to the throne after her father, Edward abandoned his mistress, Madame St. Laurent, in 1818 (after twenty-seven years!) in order to marry Princess Victoria Mary Louisa – and to sire an heir, as none of his elder brothers had legitimate surviving offspring. In this he was successful, and his daughter would be crowned Queen Victoria in 1837.

Prince Augustus -- in my unscientific assessment, probably the best looking of the bunch.

Prince Augustus — in my unscientific assessment, probably the best looking of the bunch, but none of them aged well.

Ernest, Duke of Cumberland (born 1771), would later become King of Hanover (Hanover was subject to Salic law, and Victoria was thus ineligible to become its Queen.) He, too, was in the army, and lost an eye in battle. He was known for his forceful personality, but regarded as something of a monster by the English press. He lived until 1851.

Augustus, Duke of Sussex (born 1773),was a marked contrast to his brothers. He lived relatively simply (even if he was prone to make illegal marriages) and quietly and collected books. He’d thought of becoming a clergyman at one point in time.

The seventh son was Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (born 1774). He went into the military and served as viceroy in Hanover until his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, became its king. He died in 1850. Trivia: he was the great-great-grandfather of Elizabeth II.

2 Responses to “The other sons of George III”

  1. Jane Roth

    A nice ,reference of all those Royals I keep losing track of. Thank you!


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