| Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
|The Duke of Cumberland, as painted by Thomas Gainsborough, 1777.|
|House||House of Hanover|
|Father||Frederick, Prince of Wales|
|Mother||Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha|
|Born|| 7 November 1745 |
Leicester House, London
|Died|| 18 September 1790 (aged 44) |
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn (Henry Frederick; 7 November 1745 – 18 September 1790) was the sixth child of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and a younger brother of George III.
HRH Prince Henry 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 Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. He was christened at Leicester House twenty-three days later.
On 22 October 1766, just prior to his twenty-first birthday, the prince was created Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin.
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.
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 parenthood 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 style of Princess Olivia of Cumberland.
In 1769, the Duke of Cumberland was sued by Earl Grosvenor for "criminal conversation" (that is, adultery), after the Duke and Lady Grosvenor were discovered in flagrante delicto. Lord Grosvenor was awarded damages of £10,000, which together with costs, amounted to an award of £13,000 (£1,430,000 as of 2012).
The Duke's marriage to the commoner, the widow Anne Horton (or Houghton) (1743–1808) on 2 October 1771 caused a rift with the King, and was the catalyst for the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which forbids any descendant of George II to marry without the monarch's permission. There were no children from this marriage. Anne, though from a noble family - she was a daughter of Simon Luttrell, Lord Irnam, later named Viscount Carhampton, and the widow of Christopher Horton of Catton Hall - seems to have been rather loose with her favors, given one wag's comment that she was "the Duke of Grafton's Mrs Houghton, the Duke of Dorset's Mrs Houghton, everyone's Mrs Houghton."
The marriage between Anne Horton and Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland, was described as a “conquest at Brighthelmstone” (now Brighton) by Mrs. Horton, the widow of one Christopher Horton of Calton Park, Derbyshire, "who", Horace Walpole says, "had for many months been dallying with his passion, till (sic) she had fixed him to more serious views than he had intended."
Anne was however generally thought one of the great beauties of the age and Thomas Gainsborough painted her several times.
In 1775, the Duke of Cumberland established the Cumberland Fleet, which would later become the Royal Thames Yacht Club. He was promoted Admiral in 1778, though was forbidden from assuming any command. The Duke was also instrumental in the development of Brighton (at the time called Brighthelmstone) as a popular resort; he had first visited in 1771 and in 1783 the Prince of Wales visited his uncle there.
The Duke of Cumberland died in London on 18 September 1790. His widow died in 1808.
Titles, styles and honorsEdit
- 7 November 1745–22 October 1766: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
- 22 October 1766–18 December 1790: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn