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Prince Augustus Frederick
Duke of Sussex
Prince Augustus Frederick at the age of 25
Portrait by Guy Head, 1798
Born 27 January 1773
Buckingham House, London
Died 21 April 1843(1843-04-21) (aged 70)
Kensington Palace, London
Burial 4 May 1843
Kensal Green Cemetery, London
(m. 1793; annulled 1794)

Lady Cecilia Underwood
(m. 1831)
Issue Sir Augustus d'Este
Augusta Emma Wilde, Baroness Truro
House Hanover
Father George III, King of the United Kingdom
Mother Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
25th President of the Royal Society
In office
Preceded by Davies Gilbert
Succeeded by Spencer Compton

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (27 January 1773 – 21 April 1843), was the sixth son and ninth child of King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only surviving son of George III who did not pursue an army or navy career. He was known for his liberal views, which included reform of Parliament, abolition of the slave trade, Catholic Emancipation, and the removal of existing civil restrictions on Jews and Dissenters.


Early life

Augustus Frederick was born on 27 January 1773 at Buckingham House, London. He was the ninth child and sixth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

Prince Augustus in 1782
Nine-year-old Prince Augustus in 1782, painted by Thomas Gainsborough

Augustus Frederick was baptised in the Great Council Chamber at St James's Palace, on 25 February 1773, by Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Cornwallis. His godparents were the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (his paternal first cousin once-removed, for whom The Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), Duke George Augustus of Mecklenburg (his maternal uncle, for whom the Earl of Bristol, Groom of the Stool, stood proxy) and Princess Charles of Hesse-Cassel (his first cousin once-removed, for whom The Viscountess Weymouth, Lady of the Bedchamber to the queen, stood proxy).

Augustus Frederick was tutored at home before being sent to the University of Göttingen in Germany in the summer of 1786, along with his brothers Prince Ernest and Prince Adolphus. Prince Augustus, who suffered from asthma, did not join his brothers in receiving military training in Hanover. He briefly considered becoming a cleric in the Church of England. In 1805, during the Napoleonic War, he served at home in Britain as Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the "Loyal North Britons" Volunteers regiment.

First marriage

While travelling in Italy, the prince met Lady Augusta Murray (1768–1830), the second daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunmore. The couple secretly married in Rome on 4 April 1793. The King's minister of Hanover affairs Ernst zu Münster was sent to Italy to escort him back to London.

The couple married again without revealing their full identities at St George's, Hanover Square, Westminster, on 5 December 1793. Both marriages took place without the consent, or even the knowledge, of his father.

In August 1794, the Court of Arches annulled the prince's first marriage on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772, not having been approved by the King. However, Prince Augustus Frederick continued to live with Lady Augusta until 1801, when he received a parliamentary grant of £12,000 and the couple separated, the Duke moving to Grosvenor Square. Lady Augusta retained custody of their children and received maintenance of £4,000 a year. Their two children were named Augustus Frederick d'Este and Augusta Emma d'Este, both parents being descended from the royal House of Este. In 1806, their mother, Lady Augusta, was given royal licence to use the surname "de Ameland" instead of Murray.

Duke of Sussex and Knight of the Garter

Augustus Frederick was invested as a Knight of the Garter on 2 June 1786, and installed by dispensation on 28 May 1801. The King created him Duke of Sussex, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Arklow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom on 24 November 1801. Since he had no legitimate issue, the title became extinct on his death in 1843. In 1815 the Duke became a patron of the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum, later to become the charity known today as Norwood. Royal patronage continued, with Queen Elizabeth II eventually becoming Norwood's patron.


A known mistress was Mrs. Bugge. Sir William Dillon recorded in his diary they were both present with him at a party held by Emma Hamilton (Lord Nelson's mistress) where she rented tableware for the meal but neglected to rent a carving knife, creating great difficulty in serving the Christmas dinner to her guests.

United Grand Lodge of England

In January 1813, Augustus Frederick became Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, and in December of that year his brother, Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, became Grand Master of the Antient Grand Lodge of England. On 27 December 1813 the United Grand Lodge of England was constituted at Freemasons' Hall, London with Prince Augustus Frederick as Grand Master. In 1842, he founded the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

George Oliver's Signs and Symbols Illustrated and Explained in a Course of Twelve Lectures on Freemasonry (1837) was dedicated to Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex.

Second marriage

Knight of the Order of the Thistle
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex wearing the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Thistle

A year after the death of Lady Augusta D'Ameland (Lady Augusta Murray), the Duke of Sussex married a second time on 2 May 1831 (again in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act) to Lady Cecilia Letitia Buggin (1793–1873), the eldest daughter of Arthur Gore, 2nd Earl of Arran, and Elizabeth Underwood, and the widow of Sir George Buggin. On the same day, Lady Cecilia assumed the surname Underwood by Royal Licence. She was never titled or recognized as the Duchess of Sussex. However, she was created Duchess of Inverness in her own right by Queen Victoria in 1840.

Later life

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex by Thomas Phillips
Portrait of the Duke of Sussex in his old age, by Thomas Phillips, c. 1838

William IV appointed his younger brother Chief Ranger and Keeper of St James's Park and Hyde Park on 29 January 1831, and Queen Victoria appointed her uncle Governor of Windsor Castle in 1842. The Duke of Sussex was elected president of the Society of Arts in 1816 and held that post for the rest of his life. He also held the honorary posts of Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company from 1817, and of Captain-General (at which point the posts were united) from 1837 onward. He was president of the Royal Society between 1830 and 1838, and had a keen interest in biblical studies and Hebrew. His personal library contained over 50,000 theological manuscripts, some in Hebrew. In 1838, he introduced in a meeting scientist John Herschel, and the Duke gave a speech in which he spoke about the compatibility of science and religion:

The tomb of Prince Augustus Frederick, Kensal Green Cemetery
The tomb of Prince Augustus Frederick, Kensal Green Cemetery

The Duke of Sussex was the favourite uncle of Queen Victoria. He gave her away at her wedding to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840. The Duke of Sussex died, aged 70 of erysipelas, at Kensington Palace in 1843. In his will he specified that he was not to have a state funeral and was accordingly buried at Kensal Green Cemetery on 4 May 1843. He is buried in front of the main chapel, immediately opposite the tomb of his sister, Princess Sophia.

The Duchess of Inverness continued to reside at Kensington Palace until her death in 1873. She was buried next to Prince Augustus.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Coat of Arms of Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Coat of arms of Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex, used from 1801 until his death

Titles and styles

  • 27 January 1773 – 27 November 1801: His Royal Highness Prince Augustus Frederick
  • 24 November 1801 – 21 April 1843: His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex

The duke held the subsidiary titles of Earl of Inverness and Baron Arklow.


  • Grand Prior of England of the Order of the Temple
  • Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, 1813
  • Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, 1813–1843
  • Knight of the Order of the Garter, 27 June 1786
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order, 12 July 1815
  • Knight of the Order of the Thistle, 19 July 1830
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, 15 December 1837
  • Grand Master of the Order of the Bath, 16 December 1837
  • Captain-General and Colonel Honourable Artillery Company


As a son of the sovereign, the Duke of Sussex had use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points, the centre point bearing two hearts gules, the outer points each bearing a cross gules.


Name Birth Death Notes
By Lady Augusta Murray (married 4 April 1793; annulled)
Augustus Frederick d'Este 1794 1848
Augusta Emma d'Este 1801 1866 married Thomas Wilde, 1st Baron Truro; no issue.
By Lady Cecilia Underwood (married 2 May 1831)
no issue

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Augusto de Sussex para niños

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