Prince Ernest Augustus was the 5th son and 8th child of George III and Queen Charlotte. He was highly regarded as a cavalry officer by his German military teachers and achieved rapid early promotion. He was not popular in England and was disliked by Queen Victoria. He was regarded as Wicked Ernest and was involved in several outrageous incidents, some of which may not be true.
He was said to have had an incestuous liaison with his sister, Princess Sophia, and also that he murdered his valet, Sellis. In some versions of that story, Sellis had tried to kill Ernest after finding that the Prince had had an affair with his wife. Sellis then killed himself. He was alleged to have indecently assaulted the wife of Lord Lyndhurst, the Lord Chancellor, and had an affair with the wife of Lord Graves, resulting in the latter's suicide.
When King William IV (of Britain and Hanover) died in 1837, Victoria succeeded to the throne of Great Britain while Ernest, William's brother, inherited the throne of Hanover, thus ending the line of Hanoverian Kings of Britain. Ernest proved to be a popular King. Although he came into conflict with the government of Hanover over the constitution, he proceeded to involve himself in several plans to modernise the country The city was improved with a new residential quarter, modern gas lighting, sanitation and railways.
The Prince had several portraits of himself painted wearing hussar uniform. This one painted c1812 shows him in the uniform of the 15th Hussars; blue jacket and pelisse with red collar and cuffs and silver lace, braid and buttons. He has a gold laced pouchbelt, a blue Garter sash, and a red/brown leather sword belt which also supports a scarlet and silver sabretache.
1771 (5th June) Born at Kew
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