Frederick Augustus of United Kingdom and Hanover, Prince, Duke of York and Albany

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Frederick Augustus of United Kingdom and Hanover (Welf, Guelph), Prince, Duke of York and Albany

Also Known As: "The Grand Old Duke"
Birthplace: St James's Palace, London, England
Death: January 05, 1827 (63)
Rutland House, Arlington Street, St. James's, London, England (dropsy)
Place of Burial: Royal Vault St. George Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of George III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Husband of Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia
Partner of Mrs. Bacon and Mary Anne Clarke
Ex-partner of Machequayaince Mah Je Gwoz Since Marguerite Bottineau; (No Name); Agnes Gibbes and Ann Hart or Vandiest
Father of King Chief Dekis, The Duke Dekis Denesoline; George Augustus Ward; Captain Charles Hesse; Frederick George Vandiest and Louisa Ann Vandiest
Brother of George IV, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; William IV of the United Kingdom; Charlotte Augusta, Queen Consort of Württemberg; Princess Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom; Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom and 16 others

Managed by: Anne Brannen
Last Updated:

About Frederick Augustus of United Kingdom and Hanover, Prince, Duke of York and Albany

  • Name/Title: Frederick Augustus
  • Prince of Great Britain and Ireland on 16 August 1763.
  • Herzog von Braunschweig-Lüneburg on 16 August 1763.
  • Prince Bishop of Osnabrück between 27 February 1764 and 1784.
  • Knight, Order of the Bath (K.B.) on 30 December 1767. a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) on 19 June 1771.
  • Colonel on 1 November 1780 in the service of the British Army.
  • Major-General on 20 November 1782.
  • Lieutenant-General on 27 October 1784.
  • 1st Duke of Albany [Great Britain] on 29 November 1784.
  • 1st Duke of York [Great Britain] on 29 November 1784.1 1st Earl of Ulster [Ireland] on 29 November 1784.
  • Commander in Chief of the Forces in the United Provinces on 23 February 1793.
  • General on 12 April 1793.
  • Fought in the capture of Valenciennes on 28 July 1793.
  • Fought in the Battle of Beaumont on 26 April 1794, where he won a notable victory.
  • Fought in the Battle of Willems on 10 May 1794, where he won another victory.
  • Fought in the Battle of Tourcoing on 17 May 1794, where he was exposed to certain defeat by the Austrians, compelling him to fall back with the Allied Army to Holland
  • Field Marshal on the Staff on 10 February 1795.
  • Head of the Army, Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Great Britain on 3 April 1798.
  • Awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws (D.C.L.) by Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, on 18 June 1799.
  • Fought in the abortive expedition to the Helder between September 1799 and October 1799, which ended in the Convention of Alkemaar.
  • Captain-General of the Forces on 4 September 1799. Commander in Chief of the Forces in Great Britain and Ireland between 9 June 1801 and March 1809.
  • Keeper of Windsor Forest on 10 September 1805.
  • He held the office of Warden of the New Forest on 10 September 1805
  • Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Great Britain on 25 May 1811.
  • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 2 January 1815.
  • Knight Grand Cross, Hanoverian Order (G.C.H.) on 12 August 1815.

The poor Duke, as described at,_Duke_of_York_and_Albany

"was destined to be unfairly pilloried in the rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York, which goes:

The grand old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill And he marched them down again. And when they were up, they were up. And when they were down, they were down. And when they were only halfway up, They were neither up nor down.

"Historians such as Alfred Burne and Richard Glover have done much to reappraise York's military reputation."

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany KG GMB GCH was the second son and child of George III, King of the United Kingdom and Hanover, and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. A soldier by profession, from 1764 to 1803 he was Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in the Holy Roman Empire. From the death of his father in 1820 until his own death in 1827 he was the heir presumptive to his elder brother, George IV, in both the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Hanover.

Frederick was thrust into the British Army at a very early age and was appointed to high command at the age of thirty, when he was given command of a notoriously ineffectual campaign during the War of the First Coalition, a continental war following the French Revolution. Later, as Commander-in-Chief during the Napoleonic Wars, he oversaw the reorganisation of the British Army, establishing vital structural, administrative and recruiting reforms for which he is credited with having done "more for the army than any one man has done for it in the whole of its history."

Prince Frederick Augustus, or the Duke of York as he became in later life, belonged to the House of Hanover. He was born on 16 August 1763, at St. James's Palace, London. His father was the reigning British monarch, King George III. His mother was Queen Charlotte (née Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz). He was christened on 14 September 1763 at St James's, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker — his godparents were his great-uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (for whom the Earl Gower, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), his uncle the Duke of York (for whom the Earl of Huntingdon, Groom of the Stool, stood proxy) and his great-aunt the Princess Amelia.

On 27 February 1764, when Prince Frederick was six months old, his father secured his election as Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in today's Lower Saxony.[3] He received this title because his father, as Elector of Hanover, was entitled to select every other holder of this (in alternation with a Roman Catholic prelate). He was invested as Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath on 30 December 1767 and as a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 19 June 1771.

George III decided that his second son would pursue an army career and had him gazetted colonel on 4 November 1780. From 1781 to 1787, Prince Frederick lived in Hanover, where he studied (along with his younger brothers, Prince Edward, Prince Ernest, Prince Augustus and Prince Adolphus) at the University of Göttingen. He was appointed colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadier Guards (now 2nd Life Guards) on 26 March 1782 before being promoted to major-general on 20 November 1782. Promoted to lieutenant general on 27 October 1784, he was appointed colonel of the Coldstream Guards on 28 October 1784.

He was created Duke of York and Albany and Earl of Ulster on 27 November 1784 and became a member of the Privy Council. He retained the bishopric of Osnabrück until 1803, when, in the course of the secularisation preceding the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the bishopric was incorporated into Prussia. On his return to Great Britain, the Duke took his seat in the House of Lords, where, on 15 December 1788 during the Regency crisis, he opposed William Pitt's Regency Bill in a speech which was supposed to have been influenced by the Prince of Wales. On 26 May 1789 he took part in a duel with Colonel Charles Lennox, who had insulted him; Lennox missed, and Prince Frederick refused to return fire.

On 12 April 1793 Frederick was promoted to full general. That year, he was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of Coburg's army destined for the invasion of France. Frederick and his command fought in the Flanders Campaign under extremely trying conditions. He won several notable engagements, such as the Siege of Valenciennes in July 1793, but was defeated at the Battle of Hondschoote in September 1793. In the 1794 campaign he was successful at the Battle of Willems in May but was defeated at the Battle of Tourcoing later that month. The British army was evacuated through Bremen in April 1795.

After his return to Britain, his father George III promoted him to the rank of field marshal on 18 February 1795. On 3 April 1795, George appointed him effective Commander-in-Chief in succession to Lord Amherst although the title was not confirmed until three years later. He was also colonel of the 60th Regiment of Foot from 19 August 1797.

His second field command was with the army sent for the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland in August 1799. On 7 September 1799, he was given the honorary title of Captain-General.[19] Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell, in charge of the vanguard, had succeeded in capturing some Dutch warships in Den Helder. However, following the Duke's arrival with the main body of the army, a number of disasters befell the allied forces, including shortage of supplies. On 17 October 1799, the Duke signed the Convention of Alkmaar, by which the allied expedition withdrew after giving up its prisoners. 1799 also saw Fort Frederick in South Africa named after him.

Frederick's military setbacks of 1799 were inevitable given his lack of moral seniority as a field commander, the poor state of the British army at the time, and conflicting military objectives of the protagonists.

Frederick's experience in the Dutch campaign made a strong impression on him. That campaign, and the Flanders campaign, had demonstrated the numerous weaknesses of the British army after years of neglect. Frederick as Commander-in-Chief of the British army carried through a massive programme of reform. He was the person most responsible for the reforms that created the force which served in the Peninsular War. He was also in charge of the preparations against Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom in 1803. In the opinion of Sir John Fortescue, Frederick did "more for the army than any one man has done for it in the whole of its history."

In 1801 Frederick actively supported the foundation of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, which promoted the professional, merit-based training of future commissioned officers.

On 14 September 1805 he was given the honorary title of Warden of Windsor Forest.

Frederick resigned as Commander-in-Chief on 25 March 1809, as the result of a scandal caused by the activities of his latest mistress, Mary Anne Clarke. Clarke was accused of illicitly selling army commissions under Frederick's aegis. A select committee of the House of Commons enquired into the matter. Parliament eventually acquitted Frederick of receiving bribes by 278 votes to 196. He nevertheless resigned because of the high tally against him. Two years later, it was revealed that Clarke had received payment from Frederick's disgraced chief accuser, Gwyllym Wardle, and the Prince Regent reappointed the exonerated Frederick as Commander-in-Chief on 29 May 1811.

Frederick maintained a country residence at Oatlands near Weybridge, Surrey but he was seldom there, preferring to immerse himself in his administrative work at Horse Guards (the British army's headquarters) and, after hours, in London's high life, with its gaming tables: Frederick was perpetually in debt because of his excessive gambling on cards and racehorses. Following the unexpected death of his niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, in 1817, Frederick became second in line to the throne, with a serious chance of inheriting it. In 1820, he became heir presumptive with the death of his father, George III.

Frederick died of dropsy and apparent cardio-vascular disease at the home of the Duke of Rutland on Arlington Street, London, in 1827. After lying in state in London, Frederick's remains were interred in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

On 29 September 1791 at Charlottenburg, Berlin, and again on 23 November 1791 at Buckingham Palace, Frederick married his cousin Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia, the daughter of King Frederick William II of Prussia and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The marriage was not a happy one and the couple soon separated. Frederica retired to Oatlands, where she lived until her death in 1820.

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Frederick Augustus of United Kingdom and Hanover, Prince, Duke of York and Albany's Timeline

August 16, 1763
St James's Palace, London, England
September 14, 1763
St. James's Palace, St. James's, England
September 14, 1763
St. James Palace, Westminster, Middlesex, ENG
September 14, 1763
St. James Palace,Westminster,Middlesex,England
September 14, 1763
St. James Palace, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England
June 18, 1799
Age 35
June 18, 1799
Age 35