Born in 1763, the second son of George III, he was trained for the army from an early age. He commanded the British contingent for the allied army of the First Coalition in Flanders in 1793. His ineffective leadership made him an object of ridicule and prompted the famous rhyme The Grand old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men, He marched them up to the top of a hill, And he marched them down again. Another of his expeditions failed at the Helder.
From 1798 he was Commander-in-Chief where he proved more useful as an administrator. But a scandal arose when it was revealed that his mistress was profiting from the commissions trade. He had to resign in 1810 but continued to have influence in military affairs. He died in January 1827.
This portrait shows the Duke in 1784, the year he became Colonel of the regiment. He is wearing the uniform of a senior officer of the Coldstream Guards. Junior officers had only one epaulette, on the right shoulder. He has a gilt and silver gorget round his neck, and buff coloured leather gloves. His sword belt hangs loosely across his chest, free of the weight of the sword and scabbard.
Colonels | Regimental details