|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 lively portrait by Sir David Wilkie, painted in 1822/3 shows the Duke in York House, reading a Horse Guards memorandum.
Colonels | Regimental details
Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames |