Field Marshal HRH William Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh KG

Prince William Henry was born on 25 Nov 1743. He was the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and grandson of George II. He was fourth in line to the throne at birth. Prince Frederick died in 1651 so that William's eldest brother became George III in Oct 1760. William was created Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and Knight of the Garter in 1762. He married in secret to Maria Walpole, Dowager Countess of Waldegrave. The King found out about the marriage six years later and was not prepared to recognise Maria so that their three children were styled Highness, but not Royal. He also had a mistress, Lady Almeria Carpenter with whom he had a daughter.

The Duke's military career included command of the Northern District from 1796 to 1802. He was Colonel of the 13th Foot from 1766 to 1767, the 3rd Foot Guards from 1767 to 1770, and the 1st Foot Guards from 1770 to 1805. He was promoted to Field Marshal on 18 Oct 1793. He died at Gloucester House on 25 August 1805. The portrait of him in Guards uniform was painted by Gainsborough c1775.

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by Stephen Luscombe