Happy Birthday, Obscure Georgian Prince!

Prince Adolphus, the 10th child and 7th son of George III and Queen Charlotte, was born in Westminster on February 24, 1774.


As you can see from the above portrait, the little guy was a cutie when he was a child. George III and Charlotte were, in spite of the problems they had with their eldest son, doting and loving parents for the most part and there is no reason to think Adolphus wasn’t as adored by them as any of the other youngsters. Although there would be two more little brothers born after him (Octavius and Alfred), they both died as small children (to the profound grief of the king and queen) and Aldolphus would be the youngest son to survive to adulthood.

You probably haven’t heard much about this prince because he was neither a troublemaker or power player. He grew up, went to the University of Göttingen in Germany, joined the military and fought in the Napoleonic wars, became the Duke of Cambridge in 1801, got married to his second cousin Augusta of Hesse in 1818, and had three kids. He was a prince and a duke, but he was wasn’t particularly rich and he certainly wasn’t flashy, so he has never been the subject of much historical debate or interest. 

Prince Adolphus_Frederick_Duke_of_Cambridge

In fact, the only reason this nice man hasn’t drifted away into the annals of history is because he is the great-great-grandfather of the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II.

(Nonetheless, if they do ever make a movie or documentary about his life, Patrick Stewart is a shoe-in for the role.)

Prince Adolphus’s youngest daughter, Mary Adelaide, married Prince Francis of Teck and had four children. Her oldest daughter, Victoria Mary (known historically as Mary of Teck but as May by her friends and family), was a beloved of Queen Victoria, who encouraged her grandson and heir to the British throne, Albert Victor, to marry May. However, after the engagement Albert became seriously ill and died. Albert’s brother, George, Duke of York, became close to the bereaved former betrothed and proposed to May.  They were wed in the summer of 1893 and were apparently a happy, loving couple. They had six children, and although George became known as a totalitarian parent he was probably no worse than any other upper-crust Victorian father.

George inherited the throne in 1910 and ruled as George V for 26 years. The crown then passed to his eldest son, Edward VIII, who famously abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson less than a year later. This was good news for everyone, because Edward was a Nazi sympathizer who thought Adolph Hitler would keep the evils of communism at bay in Europe.

Edward’s younger brother, Albert (know as Bertie within the family and the subject of the excellent movie The King’s Speech) became George VI and an able king who fought the Nazi’s instead of having tea with them. He and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. Elizabeth took the throne when Bertie died in 1952 and has remained there ever since, usurping her great-great-grandmother Queen Victorian as the longest reigning monarch in English history.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Obscure Georgian Prince!

  1. It’s nice to hear of a nice, respectable mo arch who didn’t behead everyone! 😂😊
    Ps loved the Kings speech… But Colin firth makes me biased, because he’ll always be mr Darcy too… 😍💜💛💚😂

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