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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Grand Tour

Part of the Forum, Rome
Part of the Forum, Rome
What was the Grand Tour?

The Grand Tour was a period of foreign travel commonly undertaken by gentlemen to finish off their education. It was popular from the mid-17th century until the end of the 18th century when the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars stopped most foreign travel.

It saw a revival in the early 19th century after peace was restored in Europe. However, as travel became cheaper and easier, and in particular with the advent of the railways, visiting Europe ceased to be the province of the elite; the days of the Grand Tour were over.

Who went on the Grand Tour?

The Grand Tour was extremely exclusive and only undertaken by the very rich, mainly the sons of the aristocracy. This was because travel was both difficult and expensive. Travellers carried little money for fear of robbery. Instead, they took letters of credit from their London banks which they then presented in major cities.

An added benefit of sending young gentleman abroad was that they were able to sow their wild oats with as little inconvenience to their families as possible. Typically, the young travellers experienced greater freedom on the continent, and became involved in drinking, gaming and romantic liaisons.

The “Bear Leader”

Gentlemen often travelled abroad under the care of a tutor or “Bear Leader”. In Georgette Heyer’s novel, Devil’s Cub, the Marquis of Vidal discovers an English clergyman travelling in France: “There is a divine, lately passed through Paris, bear-leading some sprig of the nobility. They are bound for Italy.” Mr Comyn goes on to describe him as “a needy divine…who has the good fortune to be in charge of a young gentleman making the Grand Tour”.(1)

A trunk for the Grand Tour at A La Ronde
A trunk for the Grand Tour at A La Ronde
How long did they go for?

Originally, the Grand Tour was expected to last about three and a half years: six months of travelling and three years of living abroad, allowing gentlemen to absorb the cultures they were visiting and improve their language skills.

The period of time spent abroad gradually shortened until most travelled for no more than two years.

Where did they go?

The most popular destination was France as French was the most commonly spoken second language. It was also the easiest place to get to. The fastest crossing was from Dover to Calais and the roads to Paris were very good.

From Paris, travellers usually proceeded to the Alps and then by boat on the Mediterranean to Italy. They would usually visit Rome and Venice but their tour might also include Spain, Portugal, Germany, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic.

Samuel Johnson said:
“A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.”(2)
"Campo Vaccino" - the Roman Forum  from A New Picture of Rome by Marien Vasi (1824)
"Campo Vaccino" - the Roman Forum
from A New Picture of Rome by Marien Vasi (1824)
What did they see?

The chief destinations were the great cities of the Renaissance and the remains of classical civilisations, which usually included the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Classical statues were very popular, such as the Nile and the Tiber – statues representing river gods – which were discovered in Rome in the 16th century and formed part of the Pope’s collection. They were on display in the Museo Pio-Clementino from the 1770s.

Those on the Grand Tour commonly visited the French and Italian royal families and the British envoys, such as Sir William Hamilton, who was the British ambassador to the court of Naples from 1764 to 1800.

The Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum, Rome
The legacy of the Grand Tour

One of the aims of the Grand Tour was to give gentlemen an aesthetic education. It was desirable to have an interest in French and Italian art. Travellers typically came home with crates full of souvenirs that they had collected, such as paintings, sculptures and fine clothes. Canaletto, Vernet and Panini all painted for the 18th century tourist market.

It was also fashionable to have your portrait painted, usually at the end of the Tour. Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) painted over 175 portraits of travellers in Rome.

Did women go on the Grand Tour?

Although the Grand Tour was predominantly undertaken by gentlemen, a number of ladies also travelled abroad. The blue-stocking Hester Piozzi was particularly well-known for her travels in the 1770s and 1780s.

Hester Piozzi from The Life of Samuel Johnson    by James Boswell (1831)
Hester Piozzi from The Life of Samuel Johnson
by James Boswell (1831)
Women who were separated or divorced from their husbands often travelled abroad as they were more readily accepted on the continent. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, went into exile abroad after becoming pregnant with her lover’s child in the early 1790s, whilst Caroline, Princess of Wales, travelled abroad from 1814 to 1820.

A group of women including Jane Parminter and her cousin Mary undertook the Grand Tour in the 1780s. When they returned in 1795, they built the sixteen-sided house, A la Ronde, in Exmouth to remind them of their travels and display their mementoes including several Bartolozzi prints and a shell picture.

A La Ronde, Exmouth, now owned by the National Trust
A La Ronde, Exmouth, now owned by the National Trust
Notes
(1) From Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer (1932), a Georgian romance.
(2) From a journal entry dated 11 April 1776 in James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1831), volume 3.

Sources used include:
Boswell, James, The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D, with new additions by John Wilson Croker (1831)
Foreman, Amanda, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (HarperCollins, 1998, London)
Franklin, Michael J, Piozzi, Hester Lynch (1741-1821) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn Jan 2008, accessed 6 Oct 2012)
The National Trust, A la Ronde guidebook
Vasi, Marien, A New Picture of Rome and its environs, in the form of an itinerary (1824)

National Gallery website on The Grand Tour
The Grand Route – BBC Radio 4 programme

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato

Monday, 22 April 2013

The royal family of George III

George III



George III
Born: 4 June 1738
Acceded to the throne: 25 October 1760
Died: 29 January 1820


Queen Charlotte



Married
8 September 1761
Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz:
Queen Charlotte
Born: 19 May 1744
Died: 17 November 1818
15 children, 9 sons and 6 daughters:


George, Prince of Wales


1. George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales
George IV (1820-1830) 
Born: 12 August 1762
Became Regent: 5 February1811
Acceded to the throne: 29 January 1820
Died: 26 June 1830

Caroline, Princess of Wales



Married 
8 April 1795
Princess Caroline of Brunswick:
Caroline, Princess of Wales
Born: 17 May 1768
Died: 7 August 1821



Princess Charlotte of Wales



One child:
Princess Charlotte of Wales
Born: 7 January 1796
Died: 6 November 1817
No surviving children



Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg



Married 
2 May 1816
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg
Born: 16 December 1790
Died: 10 December 1865



Frederick, Duke of York and Albany


2. Prince Frederick,
Duke of York and Albany
Born: 16 August 1763
Died:  5 January 1827




Frederica, Duchess of York



Married
29 September 1791
Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia:
Frederica, Duchess of York
Born: 7 May 1767
Died: 6 August 1820
No children



William IV, Duke of Clarence

3. Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence
William IV (1830-1837)
Born: 21 August 1765
Acceded to the throne:  26 June 1830
Died: 20 June 1837


Queen Adelaide


Married
11 July 1818
Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen:
Queen Adelaide
Born: 13 August 1792
Died: 2 December 1849
No surviving children





Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda

4. Charlotte Augusta Matilda,
Princess Royal
Born: 29 September 1766
Married: 18 May 1797 to Prince Friedrich William, the Hereditary Prince of Württemberg
Died: 6 October 1828
No surviving children



Edward, Duke of Kent


5. Prince Edward Augustus,
Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Born: 2 November 1767
Died:  23 January 1820



Victoria, Duchess of Kent



Married
29 May 1818
Princess Victoria Mary Louisa of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld:
Duchess of Kent
Born: 17 August 1786
Died: 16 March 1861




Queen Victoria
One child:
Princess Alexandrina Victoria
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Born: 24 May 1819
Acceded to the throne: 20 June 1837
Married: 10 February 1840 to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Died: 22 January 1901
9 children

Princess Augusta Sophia


6. Princess Augusta Sophia
Born: 8 November 1768
Died: 22 September 1840








Princess Elizabeth


7. Princess Elizabeth
Born:  22 May 1770
Married: 7 April 1818 to Prince Frederick of Hesse-Homburg
Died:  10 January 1840
No children




Ernest, Duke of Cumberland

8. Prince Ernest Augustus,
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, King of Hanover
Born: 5 June 1771
Acceded to the throne of Hanover:  20 June 1837
Died:  18 November 1851




Frederica, Duchess of Cumberland

Married
29 May 1815
Princess Frederica of Solms-Braunfels in Neustrelitz:
Duchess of Cumberland
Born: 3 March 1778
Died: 29 June 1841
One child, George




Augustus, Duke of Sussex

9. Prince Augustus Frederick,
Duke of Sussex
Born: 27 January 1773
Married illegally:
(1) 4 April 1793 to Lady Augusta Murray
(2) 2 May 1831 to Cecilia, Lady Buggin, Duchess of Inverness
Died:  21 April 1843
No legitimate children


Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge


10. Prince Adolphus Frederick,
Duke of Cambridge
Born: 24 February 1774
Died:  8 July 1850






Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge


Married
7 May 1818
Princess Augusta Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Cassel:
Duchess of Cambridge
Born: 25 July 1797
Died: 6 April 1889
Three children: George, Augusta and Mary


Princess Mary


11. Princess Mary,
Duchess of Gloucester
Born: 25 April 1776
Died:  30 April 1857
No children



William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester



Married
22 July 1816
William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester
Born: 15 January 1776
Died: 30 November 1834


Princess Sophia



12. Princess Sophia
Born:  3 November 1777
Died:  27 May 1848






Prince Octavius


13. Prince Octavius
Born: 23 February 1779
Died: 3 May 1783







Prince Alfred



14. Prince Alfred
Born: 22 September 1780
Died: 20 August 1782







Princess Amelia



15. Princess Amelia
Born: 7 August 1783
Died:  2 November 1810






Sources of pictures:
George III (5)
Queen Charlotte (8)
George IV, Caroline of Brunswick, Prince Leopold (4)
Charlotte, Princess of Wales, Duke of York, Duchess of Kent, Duchess of Cumberland, Duchess of Cambridge (1)
Duchess of York, William IV, Princess Royal, Duke of Kent, Princess Sophia, Princess Elizabeth, Duke of Cumberland, Duke of Sussex, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Mary, Duke of Gloucester, Princess Sophia (7)
Queen Adelaide (3)
Queen Victoria (6)
Princess Amelia (2)
Prince Alfred and Prince Octavius by Mirabelle Knowles (2012) after Thomas Gainsborough (1782)

(1) Bell, John, La Belle Assemblée (John Bell, 1806-1837, London)
(2) European Magazine and London Review (1810)
(3) Huish, Robert, History of the life and reign of William the Fourth (William Emans, 1837, London)
(4) Huish, Robert, Memoirs of her late royal highness Charlotte Augusta (1818)
(5) Oulton, Walley Chamberlain, Authentic and Impartial Memoirs of Her Late Majesty Charlotte,  Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1819, London)
(6) Victoria, Queen, The Girlhood of Queen Victoria, A Selection from Her Majesty's Diaries between the years 1832 and 1840, edited Viscount Esher 2 Volumes (1912)
(7) Watkins, John, A Biographical Memoir of Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1827, London)
(8) Watkins, John, Memoirs of her most excellent majesty Sophia-Charlotte, Queen of Great Britain (1819, London)

Friday, 19 April 2013

20 Lord Byron quotes

Lord Byron
from Lord Byron's Correspondence
edited by John Murray (1922)
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, was an English poet who was influential in the Romantic movement. His most famous works include Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
1. “Friendship is Love without his wings!” L’Amitié est l’amour sans ailes (1806, pub 1831)
2. “The petrifactions of a plodding brain.” English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)
3. “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.” Famously declared after the publication of Childe Harold in 1812 which was an immediate success. (1)
4. “We have progressively improved into a less spiritual species of tenderness – but the seal is not yet fixed though the wax is preparing for the impression.” Speaking of Lady Frances Webster in a letter to Lady Melbourne, 14 October 1813 (2)
5. “My Princess of Parallelograms” - speaking of Annabella Milbanke, later Lady Byron, in a letter to Lady Melbourne. “Her proceedings are quite rectangular, or rather we are two parallel lines prolonged to infinity side by side but never to meet.” 18 October 1812. (2)
6. “The best friend I ever had in my life, and the cleverest of women.” “If she had been a few years younger, what a fool she would have made of me had she thought it worth her while.” Speaking of Lady Melbourne, 17 & 24 November 1813 in his journal.
7. “I by no means rank poetry high in the scale of intelligence – this may look like affectation – but it is my real opinion – it is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake.” In a letter to Annabella Milbanke, 29 November 1813. (2)
8. “What is hope? Nothing but the paint on the face of Existence; the least touch of truth rubs it off, and then we see what a hollow-cheeked harlot we have got hold of.” In a letter to Thomas Moore, 28 October 1815. (2)
9. “Like other parties of the kind, it was first silent, then talky, then argumentative, then disputatious, then unintelligible, then altogethery, then inarticulate, and then drunk.” In a letter to Thomas Moore, 31 October 1815. (2)
10. “Love in this part of the world is no sinecure.” In a letter from Venice to John Murray from Venice, 27 December 1816. (2)
11. “Wordsworth – stupendous genius! Damned fool! These poets run about their ponds though they cannot fish.” In the diary of Henry Crabb Robinson, 1 December 1816, reporting a letter to James Hogg. (2)
12. “I hate things all fiction… there should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric and pure invention is but the talent of a liar.” In a letter from Venice to John Murray, 2 April 1817. (2)
13. “Fair Greece! Sad relic of departed worth!
       Immortal, though no more! Though fallen, great!”
       Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-18)
14. “Oh Rome! My country! City of the soul!”
      Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-18)
15. “When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
        He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
        Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.”
       Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-18)
16. “And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing,
       But, like a hawk encumbered with his hood,
       Explaining metaphysics to the nation –
       I wish he would explain his explanation.”
      Don Juan (1819-24)
17. “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart,
       ‘Tis woman’s whole existence.”
       Don Juan (1819-24)
18. “All tragedies are finished by a death,
       All comedies are ended by a marriage;
       The future states of both are left to faith.”
       Don Juan (1819-24)
19. “Proud Wellington, with eagle beak so curled,
       That nose, the hook where he suspends the world!”
       The Age of Bronze (1823)
20. “For what were all these country patriots born?
       To hunt, and vote, and raise the price of corn?”
       The Age of Bronze (1823)
This selection of 20 quotes from Lord Byron's poems, journals and letters was compiled to celebrate the anniversary of his death, 19 April 1824.

Notes
(1) From Life, Letter and Journals of Lord Byron ed Thomas Moore (1839)
(2) From Byron's Letters and Journals ed by LA Marchand (1976)

Sources used include:
Byron, George Gordon, Baron, The Works of Lord Byron (1842)
Byron, George Gordon, Baron and Marchand, LA (ed) Byron's Letter and Journals (1976)
Byron, George Gordon, Baron and Moore, Thomas, Life, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron (1839)
Byron, George Gordon, Baron and Murray, John (ed), Lord Byron's Correspondence (1922)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A state funeral for William Pitt the Younger

William Pitt
from Memoirs of George IV
by Robert Huish (1830)
Death in service

William Pitt the Younger died on 23 January 1806 at the age of 46. At the time of his death he was serving as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer simultaneously! He was acting as Prime Minister, although there was no formal recognition of the post at this time (1). He had suffered from ill health for some years, and the strain of leading the government during a time of war proved too much for his constitution.

The notice of his death in The Gentleman’s Magazine for January cites the war as hastening his demise and records that the House of Commons voted that he should be given a public funeral:


Laying in state

On Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February, Pitt’s body lay in state in the Painted Chamber in the Palace of Westminster and was visited by crowds of people.


State funeral

The public funeral was held on Saturday 22 February with the procession starting at 10am.

The Chief Mourner was Pitt’s brother, the Earl of Chatham.

The body was “covered with a black velvet Pall, adorned with Eight Escocheons of the Arms of the Deceased. Four supporters of the Pall, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dukes of Beaufort, Rutland, and Montrose.”

The funeral was held at Westminster Abbey and was attended by the Dukes of Cambridge, Cumberland and York and many members of both Houses of Parliament.

Westminster Abbey
from The Microcosm of London volume 3 (1808-10)
The full report of the funeral appeared in the March issue of The Gentleman's Magazine:

 Note
(1) For more information on the evolution of the term 'Prime Minister', see the Number 10 website.

Sources used include:
Ackermann, Rudolph and Pyne, William Henry, The Microcosm of London or London in miniature Volume 2 (Rudolph Ackermann 1808-1810, reprinted 1904)
The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle (E Cave, 1806, London)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey (1753-1821)

Frances, Countess of Jersey,  by Thomas Watson after Daniel Gardner,  mezzotint pub 1774 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Frances, Countess of Jersey,
by Thomas Watson after Daniel Gardner,
mezzotint pub 1774 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Profile

Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey (25 February 1753 - 25 July 1821), was an influential member of Georgian society and a mistress of George IV.

An Irish beauty

Frances Twysden was born on 25 February 1753 in Raphoe, Donegal, in Ireland, the posthumous daughter of Philip Twysden, the bankrupt Bishop of Raphoe, and his second wife, Frances.

Marriage to “the Prince of Maccaronies”

On 26 March 1770, Frances married George Bussy Villiers, the 4th Earl of Jersey, at the home of her step-father, General James Johnston, an aide-de-camp to George III. The Earl was almost twenty years her senior and was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to George III. He was known for his courtly manners, leading to the bluestocking Mrs Montagu dubbing him “the Prince of Maccaronies” (1).

Family life

George and Frances had ten children, two sons and eight daughters: Charlotte (1771), Anna (1772), George (1773), Caroline (1774), Georgiana who died as an infant (1776), Sarah (1779), William (1780), Elizabeth (1782), Frances (1786) and Harriet (1788) (2).

As Frances was by no means faithful, it is probable that some of her children were fathered by other men. However, she appears to have been genuinely attached to her husband who stood by her throughout their marriage.

What was she like?

A great beauty, known for her charm, intelligence and wit, Frances was also a malicious gossip, notorious for her spiteful and vengeful nature. She was described in the Journal of Mary Frampton as “a clever, unprincipled, but beautiful and fascinating woman, though with scarcely any retrieving really good quality” (3).

Lady Bessborough was equally condemnatory, once remarking that Lady Jersey could not be happy “without a rival to trouble and torment” (4).

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, referred to Lady Jersey as ‘Peste’ – the French for plague (5).

Georgiana Cavendish in the "picture hat"  after Thomas Gainsborough c1785-7    from The Two Duchesses,  Family Correspondence (1898)
Georgiana Cavendish in the "picture hat"
after Thomas Gainsborough c1785-7
  from The Two DuchessesFamily Correspondence (1898)
Richard Brinsley Sheridan modelled his character Lady Sneerwell on a combination of her and Lady Melbourne in his play School for Scandal in 1777.

Whig campaigner

Frances became friends with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and was part of the Devonshire House set that formed the hub of the Whig party. In the election of 1784, she campaigned alongside Georgiana and her sister Harriet in support of Charles James Fox, dressed in the Whig uniform of blue and buff with a foxtail in her hat.

Lovers

Frances was not faithful to her husband and engaged in a succession of affairs. Her lovers included Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle; Lord Morpeth; William Augustus Fawkener, clerk to the Privy Council; and William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, husband of her ‘friend’ Georgiana, with whom she had a brief affair in 1778, which was terminated through the intervention of Georgiana’s family, the Spencers.

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle  from the History of White's  by A Bourke (1892)
Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle
from the History of White's
by A Bourke (1892)
Mistress to the Prince of Wales

But by far the most famous of Lady Jersey’s lovers was George, Prince of Wales. From as early as 1782, George was attracted to Frances, who was nine years older than him, but it was not until 1793 that she became his mistress, by which time she was forty years old and a grandmother.

Having become George’s mistress, Frances was keen to establish her position. She encouraged the Prince to abandon Mrs Fitzherbert permanently and get married to solve his financial problems. She supported the choice of his cousin Caroline, believing that she would be no competition for her own attractions.
George IV  from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
George IV
from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
The misery of the Princess of Wales

In 1795, the besotted Prince appointed Lord Jersey as his Master of the Horse and made Frances Lady of the Bedchamber to his new bride. Frances lost no opportunity to taunt the Princess of Wales. She arrived late to meet her when she first arrived in England and then criticised her dress. She appeared openly as the Prince’s consort and drove about in a carriage accompanied by servants wearing the Prince’s livery.

Princess Caroline hated Frances’ influence and begged to have her removed from her position by writing repeatedly to the Prince. Frances was also accused of stealing Caroline’s letters and passing them to the Queen.
The Jersey smuggler detected; - or - good causes for discontent [separation]  Print made by James Gillray 24 May 1796  Published by Hannah Humphrey © British Museum
The Jersey smuggler detected; - or - good causes for discontent [separation]
Print made by James Gillray 24 May 1796
Published by Hannah Humphrey © British Museum
Growing unpopularity

Public opinion sided with the seemingly ill-treated Princess of Wales, and Lady Jersey and the Prince became increasingly unpopular. A mob stoned Frances’ London house and, when she visited Brighton, she was humiliated by a skimmington - two people masquerading as herself and the Prince, parading through the town on a donkey. Even amongst the ton she was shunned, most notably at a ball held by the Duchess of Gordon.

Lady Spencer declared that: “Lady J. is in everything, and by everybody most thoroughly disapproved.”(6)
 
Eventually, on 29 June 1796, Frances offered to resign from her post, claiming that she would have resigned earlier except that such an action seemed to prove her guilt.

Caroline, Princess of Wales  from La Belle Assemblée (1806)
Caroline, Princess of Wales
from La Belle Assemblée (1806)
But it was not the end of the Prince’s affair with Frances. The Jerseys moved into a house in Warwick Street, adjacent to Carlton House, creating fresh scandal, and Lady Jersey spent Christmas with the Prince at Critchell House near Wimborne Minster.

The end of the affair

By 1798, the fickle Prince had tired of Lady Jersey. He sent his friends to negotiate an amicable parting, but Frances was reluctant to be put aside. But by June 1799, the affair was over. The Jerseys moved out of the house in Warwick Street and the Earl was dismissed from his role as Master of the Horse. All intimacy was at an end.

"That infernal Jezabel"

Frances was furious and blamed Georgiana, who had been reconciled with the Prince, for turning him against her. She determined to plague the Prince, and by all accounts succeeded, as in 1814, he railed against “all the wickedness, perseverance and trick of that infernal Jezabel Lady Jersey” (7).

According to Aspinall, Lady Jersey “tried to pay off old scores by making mischief in the Orange marriage, but it does not seem that her influence on Princess Charlotte was considerable” (8).

Money problems

After her separation from the Prince, Frances was beset with financial difficulties, and in 1802, Lord Jersey was threatened with imprisonment over his debts.

On 22 August 1805, the Earl died and Frances was left without sufficient means to support her in the life to which she was accustomed. She applied to the Prince for a pension which was eventually, reluctantly, granted (9). Her son George, the 5th Earl of Jersey, increased her jointure and paid her debts from time to time, but she had no notion of economy.

Death

Frances died on 25 July 1821 in Cheltenham and was buried in the family vault at Middleton Stoney. After her death, her executor, Lord Clarendon, burned many of her papers, including correspondence relating to George IV.

The other Lady Jersey 

Sarah Sophia, Countess of Jersey  from The Illustrated Belle Assemblée (1844)
Sarah Sophia, Countess of Jersey
from The Illustrated Belle Assemblée (1844)
Frances is not to be confused with her daughter-in-law, Sarah, who was married to her elder son George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey, and was a leading member of the ton and a patroness of Almack’s.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about another woman in George IV's life, Maria Fitzherbert.

Notes
(1) From George Bussy Villiers , fourth Earl of Jersey (1735-1805) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by HE Maxwell (2004).
(2) From Debrett's Complete Peerage (1838).
(3) From The Journal of Mary Frampton (1885).
(4) From George IV by Christopher Hibbert (1972, 1973).
(5) From Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (1998).
(6) From Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (1998).
(7) From The Letters of King George IV edited by A Aspinall (1838).
(8) From The Letters of King George IV edited by A Aspinall (1838).
(9) From George IV by Christopher Hibbert (1972, 1973).

Sources used include:
Bourke, Hon Algernon, The History of White's (1892)
Courthope, William, editor, Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1838)
Foreman, Amanda, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (HarperCollins, 1998, London)
Frampton, Mary, The Journal of Mary Frampton (1779-1846) edited by Harriot Georgiana Mundy (1885)
George IV, The Letters of King George IV 1812-1830 edited by A Aspinall in 3 volumes (1838)
Hibbert, Christopher, George IV (1972, Longmans, 1973, Allen Lane, London)
Levy, Martin J, Villiers, Frances, Countess of Jersey (1753-1821) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn Jan 2008, accessed 8 Apr 2013)
Maxwell, HE, Villiers, George Bussy, fourth Earl of Jersey (1735-1805) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, rev MJ Mercer (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn Jan 2008, accessed 10 Apr 2013)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850)

Adophus, Duke of Cambridge  from A Biographical Memoir of Frederick,   Duke of York and Albany by John Watkins (1827)
Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
from A Biographical Memoir of Frederick,
 Duke of York and Albany by John Watkins (1827)
Profile

Prince Adolphus (24 February 1774 - 8 July 1850) was the seventh son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He was more economical than his brothers and was popular at court but did not get on well with his niece, Queen Victoria.

Early years

Prince Adolphus Frederick was born at Buckingham House on 24 February 1774. He spent his early years at Kew, sharing a house with his older brothers, Ernest and Augustus.

On 2 June 1786 (1), he was made a Knight of the Garter and, shortly after, went with Ernest and Augustus to the University of Göttingen. Here his studies included the classics and theology, and he learned to fence.

A career in the army

In 1790, Adolphus travelled to Berlin to study military tactics before becoming a Colonel in the Hanoverian army. He fought in Flanders in 1793, where he was wounded and captured temporarily by the French. After recuperating in England, he returned to the Hanoverian army where he served again in Flanders. He retreated back to Hanover with the Hanoverians, but when they refused to stand up to Napoleon in 1803, Adolphus was forced to return to England.

Back in England, Adolphus was made Military Commander of the Home District and Colonel in Chief of the Coldstream Guards, but these were empty titles and he saw no active service. On 26 November 1813, he was promoted to Field Marshal in the British army.

Governor General of Hanover

In 1813, Adolphus returned to Hanover where he served as Governor General. He was made Viceroy in 1831 which gave him the power to introduce a more liberal constitution in Hanover.

On the death of William IV in 1837, his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, acceded to the Hanoverian crown and, once more, Adolphus was forced to return to England.

Duke of Cambridge

On 27 November 1801 (2), Adolphus was made Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary and Baron of Culloden.

Arms and label of the Duke of Cambridge  from Debrett's Complete Peerage (1838)
Arms and label of the Duke of Cambridge
from Debrett's Complete Peerage (1838)
A popular prince 

Adolphus was described by a lady visiting Hanover in 1799 as being “extremely handsome, tall and finely formed with fair complexion and regular features, charming manners and a flow of amusing conversation”.(3)

Caroline, Princess of Wales, on the other hand, described him in less flattering terms: “The Duke of Cambridge looks like a sergeant, and so vulgar with his ears full of powder.”(4)

Adolphus was popular at court and with the public and was the only one of George III’s sons who successfully lived within his means and had a personal life that was free from scandal.

He was very fond of music and skilled at playing the violin. In later years, he was apt to join in impromptu at musical parties, either singing or on his violin. He became very deaf and was notorious for speaking out loudly during church services.

Adolphus was sympathetic towards the Jews and was criticised in the press for his religious tolerance after he went to the Great Synagogue in Duke’s Place in 1809 to see a Jewish service with his brothers the Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Sussex.

A broken engagement

In 1797, Adolphus was unofficially engaged to his cousin Princess Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the widow of Prince Louis of Prussia, but George III did not want them to marry until the war was over. In the meantime, Frederica became pregnant by Prince Frederick of Solms-Braunfels whom she subsequently married. After she had been widowed a second time, she married the Duke of Cumberland.

Frederica, Duchess of Cumberland  from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
Frederica, Duchess of Cumberland
from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
A successful marriage

On 7 May 1818, Adolphus married Princess Augusta Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Cassel in Cassel. The ceremony was repeated at Buckingham House on 1 June. Adolphus and Augusta had three children: George William Frederick Charles (1819), Augusta Caroline (1822) and Mary Adelaide (1833).

Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge  from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge
from La Belle Assemblée (1830)
Not the favourite uncle

Queen Victoria did not get on well with her uncle Adolphus or his wife. Adolphus’ son, George, spent much of his childhood at Windsor in the hopes that he would marry his cousin, but the match did not take place as neither Victoria nor George desired it. Moreover, Victoria seems to have been offended that it should ever have been suggested.

In addition, there was the matter of precedence. The Duke of Cambridge allowed Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, to take precedence over him. But instead of receiving this graciously, the Queen assumed this as a matter of course, offending the Duke and Duchess.

Prince George of Cambridge  from The Girlhood of Queen Victoria (1912)
Prince George of Cambridge
from The Girlhood of Queen Victoria (1912)
The Duchess retaliated by sitting during a toast to Prince Albert at a party; the Queen insulted the Cambridges by excluding them from a ball at Buckingham Palace. When Prince Albert failed to appear at a banquet to celebrate being given the freedom of the city of London, the Duke of Cambridge gave a rather coarse speech which was reported in the press, much to the Queen’s horror and embarrassment. Fortunately, their relationship improved over time.

Prince Albert and Queen Victoria  from portraits by Dalton after F Winterhalter  from The Girlhood of Queen Victoria (1912)
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria
from portraits by Dalton after F Winterhalter
from The Girlhood of Queen Victoria (1912)
Final years

Having left Hanover in 1837, Adolphus was obliged to start a new life in England, devoting much of his time to charitable works. Adolphus died at Cambridge House, Piccadilly, on 8 July 1850. He was buried at Kew on 17 July, but his remains were transferred to the royal vault in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on 10 January 1930.(5)

Notes
(1) From Ernest Augustus (1771-1851), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Alan Palmer (2004)
(2) From Debrett's Complete Peerage (1838); Adolphus Frederick, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Alan Palmer (2004) states 24 November 1801 and Wikipedia states 17 November 1801.
(3) From Royal Dukes by Roger Fulford (1933, revised 1973)
(4) From George IV by Christopher Hibbert (1972, 1973)
(5) From College of St George's Chapel, Windsor, website.

Sources used include:
Courthope, William, editor, Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1838)
Fulford, Roger, Royal Dukes (1933, revised 1973)
Hibbert, Christopher, George III (1998, Viking, Great Britain)
Hibbert, Christopher, George IV (1972, Longmans, 1973, Allen Lane, London)
Hibbert, Christopher, Queen Victoria (HarperCollins, 2000, London)
Huish, Robert, Memoirs of her late royal highness Charlotte Augusta (1818)
Palmer, Alan, Adolphus Frederick, Prince, first Duke of Cambridge, (1774-1850), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004, online edn, May 2009, accessed 23 Mar 2013)
Palmer, Alan, Ernest Augustus (1771-1851), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004, online edn, May 2009, accessed 23 Mar 2013)
Victoria, Queen, The Girlhood of Queen Victoria, A Selection from Her Majesty's Diaries between the years 1832 and 1840, edited Viscount Esher 2 Volumes (1912)
Watkins, John, A Biographical Memoir of Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1827, London)