Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh

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Maria
Countess Waldegrave
Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Maria, Duchess of Gloucester (1739-1807).jpg
Portrait by Joshua Reynolds (1771-1774)
BornMaria Walpole
(1736-07-10)10 July 1736
St James's, Westminster, Middlesex (now London)
Died22 August 1807(1807-08-22) (aged 71)
Oxford Lodge, Brompton, Middlesex (now London)
Burial31 August 1807
Spouse
Issue
Father Edward Walpole
Mother Dorothy Clement

Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (née Maria Walpole; 10 July 1736 – 22 August 1807) was Countess Waldegrave from 1759 to 1766 as the wife of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, and a member of the British royal family from 1766 as the wife of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh.

James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave British Earl

James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl WaldegraveKG PC FRS, was a British statesman.

British royal family Family consisting of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom

The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the British royal family.

Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh British Duke and Field Marshal

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh,, was a grandson of King George II and a younger brother of King George III of the United Kingdom.

Contents

Early life

Maria and her daughter Elizabeth by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1761. Maria Walpole Reynolds.jpg
Maria and her daughter Elizabeth by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1761.
The Ladies Waldegrave by Sir Joshua Reynolds (L to R: Charlotte, Elizabeth and Anna) Sir Joshua Reynolds - The Ladies Waldegrave - Google Art Project.jpg
The Ladies Waldegrave by Sir Joshua Reynolds (L to R: Charlotte, Elizabeth and Anna)
Maria (in mourning), by Gainsborough. Gainsborough - Maria Walpole.jpg
Maria (in mourning), by Gainsborough.

Maria Walpole was the daughter of Edward Walpole and Dorothy Clement. Her grandfather was Robert Walpole, considered to be the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1721–41). She grew up at Frogmore House in Windsor, but her parents were not married, and her illegitimate status hindered her social standing despite her family connections.

Edward Walpole British politician

Sir Edward Walpole KB PC (Ire) was a British politician, and a younger son of Sir Robert Walpole, Prime Minister from 1721 to 1742.

Dorothy Clement was the mistress of Edward Walpole and mother of his four children, including Maria Walpole, who became Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh upon her marriage to Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh. Daughter of a Darlington postmaster, she is an ancestor of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, through her granddaughter Lady Anna Seymour.

Robert Walpole British statesman

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford,, known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Countess Waldegrave

On 15 May 1759, she married James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave. The Earl Waldegrave died on 28 April 1763. They had three children:

Earl Waldegrave earldom in the Peerage of Great Britain

Earl Waldegrave is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1729 for James Waldegrave, 2nd Baron Waldegrave.

Elizabeth Waldegrave, Countess Waldegrave British countess

Elizabeth Laura Waldegrave, Countess Waldegrave, was a British noblewoman, courtier and society beauty. She served at court as a Lady of the Bedchamber to Charlotte, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of King George III. She married her cousin, George Waldegrave, 4th Earl Waldegrave, in 1782.

George Waldegrave, 4th Earl Waldegrave British Earl and politician

George Waldegrave, 4th Earl Waldegrave, Viscount Chewton, PC, ADC was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1780.

Charlotte FitzRoy, Countess of Euston

Charlotte Fitzroy, Countess of Euston, formerly Lady Charlotte Maria Waldegrave, was the wife of George FitzRoy, 4th Duke of Grafton. Although she is sometimes referred to as "Duchess of Grafton", her husband did not inherit the dukedom until 1811, after his wife's death.

There is a portrait of Maria in 1764–65, shortly after she was widowed, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. She also commissioned him in 1780 to paint The Ladies Waldegrave , a group portrait of her and Waldegrave's three daughters.

Joshua Reynolds 18th-century English painter, specialising in portraits

Sir Joshua Reynolds was an English painter, specialising in portraits. John Russell said he was one of the major European painters of the 18th century. He promoted the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, and was knighted by George III in 1769.

Dunedin Public Art Gallery

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery holds the main public art collection of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. Located in The Octagon in the heart of the city, it is close to the city's public library, municipal chambers,(Dunedin Town Hall) and other facilities such as the Regent Theatre.

<i>The Ladies Waldegrave</i> painting by Joshua Reynolds

The Ladies Waldegrave is a 1780-81 portrait by Joshua Reynolds, now in the National Gallery of Scotland, who acquired it in 1952. It shows the three daughters of James Waldegrave, 2nd Earl Waldegrave, and Maria Walpole - from left to right, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Anna. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781, it was commissioned the previous year by the subjects' mother in the hope of attracting potential suitors for them - all three of them were then unmarried.

Duchess of Gloucester

On 6 September 1766 she married Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, at her home in Pall Mall, London. The Duke was a brother of King George III. The marriage was conducted in secret as the British Royal Family would not have approved of a marriage between a prince and a widow of non-royal rank and illegitimate birth. They lived at St Leonard's Hill in Clewer, near Windsor, and had three children.

Pall Mall, London street in London, England

Pall Mall is a street in the St James's area of the City of Westminster, Central London. It connects St James's Street to Trafalgar Square and is a section of the regional A4 road. The street's name is derived from 'pall-mall', a ball game played there during the 17th century.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

St Leonards Hill

St Leonard's Hill was a large mansion near Clewer in Berkshire.

The marriage to a commoner of the Duke's other brother, the Duke of Cumberland, led to the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which required all the descendants of George II to seek the sovereign's approval before marriage. It was only in September 1772, five months after the passage of the Act, that the King became aware of Prince William's marriage to Maria. As the Act's provisions could not be applied retroactively, Maria and the Duke's marriage was considered valid. Due, however, to the anger of her brother-in-law at the marriage, she was never received at court.

Princess Caroline died aged nine months following a smallpox inoculation, intended to protect her from the disease. [1]

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