HRH Ernest Augustus
Duke of Cumberland KG KP GCB GCH

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
1786 Attended at University of Gottingen
1786 Made a Knight of the Garter
1791 Given military training under Field Marshal von Freytag
1792 (Mar) Commissioned into 9th Hanoverian Light Dragoons
1793-5 Served in Flanders under his brother, the Duke of York
1794 (18th May) Received arm injury at Cayghem
1798 Promoted to Lieutenant-General
1799 Created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and Earl of Armargh
1801 (28th Mar ) Appointed Colonel of 15th Light Dragoons (- 21st Jan 1827)
1803 Promoted to General
1813 Promoted to Field Marshal
1815 Created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
1815 (29th May) Married his cousin Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
1827 (22nd Jan.) Appointed Colonel of Royal Horse Guards ( - 18th Nov 1830)
1828 He opposed the government's Catholic Emancipation Bill
1831 Became a Knight of St Patrick
1832 He opposed the Reform Bill
1837 (20th June) Became King of Hanover and Grand master of the Royal Guelphic Order
1841 His wife died
1843 Final visit to England
1853 (18th Nov.) The King died after a long illness.

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by Stephen Luscombe