Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn

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Prince Henry
Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough, 1777
Born(1745-11-07)7 November 1745
Leicester House, London
Died18 September 1790(1790-09-18) (aged 44)
Burial28 September 1790
Spouse Anne Horton
House Hanover
Father Frederick, Prince of Wales
Mother Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  Royal Navy
Years of service1768–1790
Rank Admiral of the White

Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn (Henry Frederick; [1] 7 November 1745 – 18 September 1790) was the sixth child and fourth son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and a younger brother of George III. His 1771 marriage to a commoner against the King's wishes prompted the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 .

Frederick, Prince of Wales heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death

Frederick, Prince of Wales, KG, was heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death from a lung injury at the age of 44. He was the eldest but estranged son of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and the father of King George III.

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha British princess

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was Princess of Wales by marriage to Frederick, Prince of Wales. She was one of only four Princesses of Wales who never became queen consort as her eldest son succeeded her father-in-law as George III of the United Kingdom in 1760 rather than her spouse, who had died nine years earlier. Augusta was presumptive regent of Great Britain in the event of a regency between the death of her spouse in 1751, until the majority of her son in 1756, though in the event her father-in-law, George II, lived until 1760.

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.


Early life

Henry (right) with his brother William Henry, from a family group portrait of 1751. William Henry and Henry.jpg
Henry (right) with his brother William Henry, from a family group portrait of 1751.
Prince Henry, aged 9, by Liotard Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland 1754 by Liotard.jpg
Prince Henry, aged 9, by Liotard

Prince Henry of Wales was born on 7 November 1745 at Leicester House, London, to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and his wife The Princess of Wales. He was christened at Leicester House twenty-three days later. [2]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

George II of Great Britain British monarch

George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.

Caroline of Ansbach Queen of Great Britain 1727–1737 (as wife of King George II)

Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was Queen of Great Britain as the wife of King George II.

Royal Dukedom

Equestrian portrait by David Morier around 1765 Henry Duke of Cumberland by David Morier 1765.jpg
Equestrian portrait by David Morier around 1765

On 22 October 1766, [3] just prior to his twenty-first birthday, the prince was created Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin.

Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn

Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn was a peerage title that was conferred upon a member of the British Royal Family, named after the county of Cumberland, England and after Strathearn, Scotland.


On 4 March 1767, the Duke of Cumberland allegedly married Olive Wilmot (later Mrs Payne), a commoner, in a secret ceremony. There reportedly was one child, Olivia Wilmot (1772–1834), from this relationship, though the duke's paternity was never proven, and Olivia Wilmot was accused of forging the evidence. A landscape painter and novelist, Olivia Wilmot married John Thomas Serres (1759–1825) and later, controversially, assumed the title of "Princess Olivia of Cumberland".

Olivia Serres British artist and imposter

Olivia Serres, known as Olive, was a British painter and writer, born at Warwick. She is also known as an English impostor, who claimed the title of Princess Olive of Cumberland.

Cumberland's mistresses included Ann Elliot who had been an actress before another had taken her off the stage. Cumberland set her up in a house in Greek Street in Soho where she died after an illness in 1769. Cumberland arranged for her burial and memorial and gave a large sum to her estate. [4]

Ann Elliot Elliot, Ann (1743–1769), courtesan and actress

Ann Elliot was a British courtesan and actress. She appeared in comedies in London and Dublin. She had a long relationship with her mentor Arthur Murphy, Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol and with Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland.

Soho District in London, United Kingdom

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century.

In 1769, the Duke of Cumberland was sued by Lord Grosvenor for "criminal conversation" (that is, adultery) after the Duke and Lady Grosvenor were discovered in flagrante delicto . [5] Lord Grosvenor was awarded damages of £10,000, which together with costs amounted to an award of £13,000 (equivalent to £1,770,000in 2018). [6]

Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor British racehorse owner

Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor, known as Sir Richard Grosvenor, Bt between 1755 and 1761 and as The Lord Grosvenor between 1761 and 1784, was a British peer, racehorse owner and art collector. He was created Baron Grosvenor in 1761 and in 1784 became both Viscount Belgrave and Earl Grosvenor.

Criminal conversation

At common law, criminal conversation, commonly known as crim. con., is a tort arising from adultery, abolished in almost all jurisdictions.

Adultery is extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social, religious, and legal consequences, the concept exists in many cultures and is similar in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. A single act of sexual intercourse is generally sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship is sometimes referred to as an affair.

Royal Navy

In 1768, at the fairly late age of 22, the Duke entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman and was sent to Corsica in HMS Venus. However, he returned in September when the ship was recalled following the French invasion of the Corsican Republic. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral the following year and Vice-Admiral in 1770. [7]


On 2 October 1771 the Duke married Anne Horton (1743–1808), daughter of Irish peer and British MP Simon Luttrell, and the widow of Christopher Horton of Catton Hall. The marriage caused a rift with the King, who considered it a mismatch, and was the catalyst for the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which forbade any descendant of George II to marry without the monarch's permission. There were no children from this marriage.

The marriage between Anne Horton and the Duke of Cumberland was described as a "conquest at Brighthelmstone" (now Brighton) by Mrs. Horton, "who", Horace Walpole says, "had for many months been dallying with his passion, till she had fixed him to more serious views than he had intended." [8] Anne was however generally thought one of the great beauties of the age, and Thomas Gainsborough painted her several times.

Later life

In 1775, the Duke established the Cumberland Fleet, which would later become the Royal Thames Yacht Club. He was promoted vice-admiral of the White in 1776, [9] admiral of the Blue in 1778, [10] and admiral of the White in 1782, [11] though he was forbidden from assuming any command. The Duke was also instrumental in the development of Brighton as a popular resort. He had first visited in 1771, and in 1783, the Prince of Wales visited his uncle there. [7]

The Duke of Cumberland died in London on 18 September 1790. His widow died in 1808.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

British Royalty
House of Hanover
Coat of Arms of Great Britain (1714-1801).svg
George II
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Princess Amelia
Princess Caroline
Prince George William of Wales
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Cassel
Louise, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
George III
Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany
Princess Elizabeth of Wales
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
Princess Louisa of Wales
Prince Frederick of Wales
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Princess Caroline of Gloucester
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh


The prince's full style, as recited by Garter King of Arms at his funeral, was the "Most High, Most Mighty and Illustrious Prince Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, Earl of Dublin, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter". [12]



Henry was granted use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of five points, the centre bearing a cross gules, the other points each bearing a fleur-de-lys azure. [13]


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  1. 1 2 He is called simply "(His Royal Highness) Prince Henry" in the London Gazette 8 September 1761; 25 May; 28 December 1765; 14 December 1771
  2. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  3. Yvonne's Royalty: Peerage
  5. Stella Tillyard (2010). A Royal Affair: George III and His Troublesome Siblings. Random House. pp. 169–175. ISBN   1-4090-1769-9.
  6. UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  7. 1 2 The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  8. Walpole, Horace. Memoirs and Portraits, 244.
  9. "No. 11637". The London Gazette . 3–6 February 1776. p. 1.
  10. "No. 11844". The London Gazette. 27–31 January 1778. p. 2.
  11. "No. 12286". The London Gazette. 9–13 April 1782. p. 2.
  12. "No. 13241". The London Gazette . 2 October 1790. p. 598.
  13. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  14. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 4.
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 7 November 1745 Died: 18 September 1790
Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Manchester
Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England
Succeeded by
The Earl of Moira
(as Acting Grand Master)