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Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh KG PC FRS (William Henry; 25 November 1743 – 25 August 1805) was a member of the British Royal Family, a grandson of George II and a younger brother of George III.

Early life

Prince William was born at Leicester House, Londonmarker. His father was The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II and Caroline of Ansbach. His mother was The Princess of Wales . He was christened at Leicester House eleven days later. His godparents were his paternal uncle by marriage, The Prince of Orange (for whom someone stood proxy); his paternal uncle, The Duke of Cumberland; and his paternal aunt, The Princess Amelia. As a grandchild of the sovereign, he was styled His Royal Highness Prince William at birth. He was fourth in the line of succession at birth.

Prince William later joined the British Army. His father died in 1751, leaving the Prince's elder brother, Prince George, heir-apparent to the throne. He succeeded as George III on 25 October 1760, and created William Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught on 19 November 1764. He had been made a Knight of the Garter on 27 May 1762, and invested on 22 September of that year.


The Duke was Warden of Windsormarker Forest and resided at Cranbourne Lodge. He was most known for his secret marriage 1766 to Maria Walpole, the Dowager Countess of Waldegrave, an illegitimate granddaughter of Sir Robert Walpole, from nearby Frogmore Housemarker. This marriage and that of his brother prompted the passing of the Royal Marriages Act 1772. They lived at St Leonard's Hill in Clewermarker, near Windsor, and had three children:

Princess Caroline died aged nine months following a smallpox inoculation, intended to protect her from the disease. She had been christened provately on 22 July 1774 — her godparents were The Duchess of Gloucester (her mother), The Hereditary Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her paternal aunt) and The Hereditary Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (her uncle by marriage). As great-grandchildren in the male line of George II, Prince William's children were styled Highness from birth and used the territorial designation of Gloucester in conjunction with their princely styles. After William Frederick married his cousin Princess Mary, he and his surviving sister Sophia received the style of Royal Highness.

Illegitimate Issue

The Duke also had an illegitimate daughter by his mistress Lady Almeria Carpenter, a daughter of the Earl of Tyrconnell.

Later life

The Duke was appointed (in an honorary fashion) to Colonel of the 13th Regiment of Foot, 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards, and 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, and he became a Field Marshal on 12 October 1793.

He served as the thirteenth Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublinmarker from 1771 to 1805.

He died at Gloucester Housemarker in London.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 14 November 1743–19 November 1764: His Royal Highness Prince William
  • 19 November 1764–25 August 1805: His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh



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




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