Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, was a member of the British Royal Family, a male-line grandson of King George III, cousin of Queen Victoria, maternal uncle of Queen Mary, consort of King George V. The Duke was an army officer by profession and served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1856 to 1895, he became Duke of Cambridge in 1850 and field marshal in 1862. Devoted to the old Army, he worked with the Queen to defeat or minimize every reform proposal, such as setting up a general staff, his Army became a stagnant institution, lagging far behind France and Germany. Its weaknesses were revealed by the poor organization at the start of the Second Boer War. Prince George was born at Cambridge House in Germany, his father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the 10th child and seventh son of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. His mother was the Duchess of Cambridge, he was baptised at Cambridge House on 11 May 1819, by the Reverend John Sanford, his father's Domestic Chaplain.
His godparents were the Prince Regent, the Duke of Clarence and St Andrews and the Dowager Queen of Württemberg. Prince George of Cambridge was educated in Hanover and from 1830 in England by the Rev. J. R. Wood, a canon of Worcester Cathedral. Like his father, he embarked upon a military career becoming a colonel in the Hanoverian Army and on 3 November 1837, becoming a brevet colonel in the British Army, he was attached to the staff at Gibraltar from October 1838 to April 1839. After serving in Ireland with the 12th Royal Lancers, he was appointed substantive lieutenant-colonel of the 8th Light Dragoons on 15 April 1842 and colonel of the 17th Lancers on 25 April 1842. From 1843 to 1845, he served as a colonel on the staff in the Ionian islands was promoted Major-General on 7 May 1845, he succeeded to his father's titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, Baron Culloden on 8 July 1850. The Duke of Cambridge became Inspector of the Cavalry in 1852. In February 1854, at an early stage in the Crimean War, he received command of the 1st Division of the British army in the East.
On 19 June 1854, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. He was present at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, at the siege of Sevastopol. Owing to illness the Earl of Cardigan returned first to Malta and to England: before the conclusion of the campaign he was back in London. Meanwhile, Lord Raglan died at 9.30 pm on 28 June 1855 from dysentery and Field Marshal Viscount Hardinge, the serving general commanding-in-chief, was forced to resign in July 1856, on grounds of ill-health. On 5 July 1856, the Duke was appointed general commanding-in-chief of the British Army, a post, retitled field marshal commanding-in-chief on 9 November 1862 and commander-in-chief of the forces by Letters Patent on 20 November 1887. In that capacity he served as the chief military advisor to the Secretary of State for War, with responsibility for the administration of the army and the command of forces in the field, he was promoted to the rank of general on 15 July 1856 and to the rank of field marshal on 9 November 1862.
The Duke of Cambridge served as commander-in-chief for 39 years. Although he was concerned about the welfare of soldiers, he earned a reputation for being resistant to doctrinal change and for making promotions based upon an officer's social standing, rather than merit. Under his command, the British Army became a moribund and stagnant institution, lagging far behind its continental counterparts. There were no new ideas, it is said that he rebuked one of his more intelligent subordinates with the words: "Brains? I don't believe in brains! You haven't any, I know, Sir!" He was forthright on his reluctance to adopt change: "There is a time for everything, the time for change is when you can no longer help it." Early in his term he encouraged the army to trial various breech-loading carbines for the cavalry, one of which—the Westley-Richards—was so effective that it was decided to investigate the possibility of producing a version for the infantry. In 1861, 100 were issued to five infantry battalions.
He was involved in the creation of the Staff College, the Royal Military School of Music, became governor of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich: he further sought to improve the efficiency of the army by advocating a scheme of annual military manoeuvres. In 1860, he introduced a new system to restrict corporal punishment: soldiers were eligible for flogging only in cases of aggravated mutinous conduct during wartime, unless they committed an offence serious enough to degrade to the second class and make them once again subject to corporal punishment. A year's good behaviour would return them to the first class, meaning that only a hard core of incorrigible offenders tended to be flogged. In the wake of the Prussian victory in the 1870–71 Franco-Prussian War, the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister William Gladstone and Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell called for the Army to undergo major reforms. Cardwell succeeded in pushing through a number of reforms, including one that made the Commander-in-Chief nominally report to the Secretary of State for War.
The Duke was opposed to most of the reforms because they struck at the heart of his view of the Army. According to Theo Aronson, he "stoutly resisted every attempt at reform or modernization." He feared that the newly created fo
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany was the second son of George III, King of the United Kingdom and Hanover, his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. A soldier by profession, from 1764 to 1803 he was Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück in the Holy Roman Empire. From the death of his father in 1820 until his own death in 1827 he was the heir presumptive to his elder brother, George IV, in both the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Hanover. Frederick was thrust into the British Army at a early age and was appointed to high command at the age of thirty, when he was given command of a notoriously ineffectual campaign during the War of the First Coalition, a continental war following the French Revolution; as Commander-in-Chief during the Napoleonic Wars, he oversaw the reorganisation of the British Army, establishing vital structural and recruiting reforms for which he is credited with having done "more for the army than any one man has done for it in the whole of its history."
Prince Frederick Augustus, or the Duke of York as he became in life, belonged to the House of Hanover. He was born on 16 August 1763, at London, his father was the reigning British monarch, King George III. His mother was Queen Charlotte, he was christened on 14 September 1763 at St James's, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker — his godparents were his great-uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, his uncle the Duke of York and his great-aunt the Princess Amelia. On 27 February 1764, when Prince Frederick was six months old, he became Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück upon the death of Clemens August of Bavaria; the Peace of Westphalia stipulated that the city of Osnabrück would alternate between Catholic and Protestant rulers, with the Protestant bishops to be elected from the cadets of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The bishopric of Osnabrück came with a substantial income, which he retained until the city was incorporated into Hanover in 1803 during the German mediatization, he was invested as Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath on 30 December 1767 and as a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 19 June 1771.
George III decided that his second son would pursue an army career and had him gazetted colonel on 4 November 1780. From 1781 to 1787, Prince Frederick lived in Hanover, where he studied at the University of Göttingen, he was appointed colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadier Guards on 26 March 1782 before being promoted to major-general on 20 November 1782. Promoted to lieutenant general on 27 October 1784, he was appointed colonel of the Coldstream Guards on 28 October 1784, he was created Duke of York and Albany and Earl of Ulster on 27 November 1784 and became a member of the Privy Council. On his return to Great Britain, the Duke took his seat in the House of Lords, where, on 15 December 1788 during the Regency crisis, he opposed William Pitt's Regency Bill in a speech, supposed to have been influenced by the Prince of Wales. On 26 May 1789 he took part in a duel with Colonel Charles Lennox. On 12 April 1793 Frederick was promoted to full general; that year, he was sent to Flanders in command of the British contingent of Coburg's army destined for the invasion of France.
Frederick and his command fought in the Flanders Campaign under trying conditions. He won several notable engagements, such as the Siege of Valenciennes in July 1793, but was defeated at the Battle of Hondschoote in September 1793. In the 1794 campaign he gained a notable success at the Battle of Beaumont in April and another at the Battle of Willems in May but was defeated at the Battle of Tourcoing that month; the British army was evacuated through Bremen in April 1795. After his return to Britain, his father George III promoted him to the rank of field marshal on 18 February 1795. On 3 April 1795, George appointed him effective Commander-in-Chief in succession to Lord Amherst although the title was not confirmed until three years later, he was colonel of the 60th Regiment of Foot from 19 August 1797. On appointment as Commander-in-Chief he declared, reflecting on the Flanders Campaign of 1793–94, "that no officer should be subject to the same disadvantages under which he had laboured", his second field command was with the army sent for the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland in August 1799.
On 7 September 1799, he was given the honorary title of Captain-General. Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell, in charge of the vanguard, had succeeded in capturing some Dutch warships in Den Helder. However, following the Duke's arrival with the main body of the army, a number of disasters befell the allied forces, including shortage of supplies. On 17 October 1799, the Duke signed the Convention of Alkmaar, by which the allied expedition withdrew after giving up its prisoners. 1799 saw Fort Frederick in South Africa named after him. Frederick's military setbacks of 1799 were inevitable given his lack of moral seniority as a field commander, the poor state of the British army at the time, conflicting military objectives of the protagonists. After this ineffectual campaign, Frederick was mocked unfairly, in the rhyme "The Grand Old Duke of York": Frederick's experience in the Dutch campaign made a strong impression on him; that campaign, the Flanders campaign, had demonstrated the numerous weaknesses of the British army after years of neglect.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman, one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes. Wellesley was born in Dublin into the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, he was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons, he was a colonel by 1796, saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803. Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813.
Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian Army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellington's battle record is exemplary. Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses, he is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world. After the end of his active military career, Wellington returned to politics, he was twice British prime minister as part of the Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832, he continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death.
Wellesley was born into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family in Ireland as The Hon. Arthur Wesley, the third of five surviving sons of Anne and Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, his mother was the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. As such, he belonged to the Protestant Ascendancy, his biographers follow the same contemporary newspaper evidence in saying that he was born on 1 May 1769, the day before he was baptised. His birthplace is uncertain, he was most born at his parents' townhouse, 24 Upper Merrion Street, now the Merrion Hotel. But his mother Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he had been born at 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. Other places have been put forward as the location of his birth, including Mornington House, as his father had asserted, he spent most of his childhood at his family's two homes, the first a large house in Dublin and the second Dangan Castle, 3 miles north of Summerhill on the Trim Road in County Meath. In 1781, Arthur's father died and his eldest brother Richard inherited his father's earldom.
He went to the diocesan school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr Whyte's Academy when in Dublin, Brown's School in Chelsea when in London. He enrolled at Eton College, where he studied from 1781 to 1784, his loneliness there caused him to hate it, makes it unlikely that he said "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton", a quotation, attributed to him. Moreover, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, a lack of success at Eton, combined with a shortage of family funds due to his father's death, forced the young Wellesley and his mother to move to Brussels; until his early twenties, Arthur showed little sign of distinction and his mother grew concerned at his idleness, stating, "I don't know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur."A year Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers, where he progressed becoming a good horseman and learning French, which proved useful. Upon returning to England in late 1786, he astonished his mother with his improvement.
Despite his new promise, he had yet to find a job and his family was still short of money, so upon the advice of his mother, his brother Richard asked his friend the Duke of Rutland to consider Arthur for a commission in the Army. Soon afterward, on 7 March 1787, he was gazetted ensign in the 73rd Regiment of Foot. In October, with the assistance of his brother, he was assigned as aide-de-camp, on ten shillings a day, to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Buckingham, he was transferred to the new 76th Regiment forming in Ireland and on Christmas Day, 1787, was promoted lieutenant. During his time in Dublin his duties were social. While in Ireland, he overextended himself in borrowing due to his occasional gambling, but in his defence stated that "I have known what it was to be in want of money, but I have never got helplessly into debt". On 23 January 1788, he transferred into the 41st Regiment of Foot again on 25 June 1789, still a lieutenant, he transferred to the 12th Regi
Johanna Clara Louise Lehzen, better known as Baroness Louise Lehzen, was the governess, adviser and companion, to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Born to a Lutheran pastor in Hanover, in 1819 Lehzen entered the household of the Duchess of Kent and her husband Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. Five years Lehzen became governess to their only child, Princess Victoria. Lehzen became protective of her, who resided in a household dominated by the controlling Kensington System, implemented by the Duchess and her comptroller Sir John Conroy. "Dear, good Lehzen" soon came to supersede all others--including her own mother--in Alexandrina’s eyes. Princess Alexandrina became second-in-line to the British throne in 1827. Lehzen encouraged the princess to become strong and independent from the Duchess and Conroy's influence, causing friction between the two and Lehzen. Attempts to remove the governess, who had the support of Alexandrina’s uncles George IV, William IV, Leopold I of Belgium, were unsuccessful.
When Victoria became queen in 1837, Lehzen served as a sort of unofficial private secretary, enjoying apartments adjacent to Victoria's. The Queen's marriage to Prince Albert in 1840 led to significant changes in the royal household. Albert and Lehzen detested each other, after an illness of the Princess Royal in 1841, Lehzen was dismissed, her close relationship with the Queen came to an end, although the two continued to write letters to each other. Lehzen spent her last years in Hanover on a generous pension, dying in 1870. Historian K. D. Reynolds writes that Lehzen was a major influence on Victoria's character, in particular giving her the strength of will to survive her troubled childhood and life as a young queen. Johanna Clara Louise Lehzen was born in Hanover on 3 October 1784, the youngest of seven daughters and two sons of Lutheran pastor Joachim Friedrich Lehzen and his wife Melusine Palm. Forced by circumstances to work for her living since she was young, Lehzen was employed by the von Marenholtzes, an aristocratic German family, where she earned glowing references.
Based on these references, Lehzen became part of the household of Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in December 1819, when she served as governess to twelve-year-old Princess Feodora of Leiningen, the daughter of the princess by her first marriage. Princess Victoria was married to the Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, who was, at the time, fourth in line for the British throne. Lehzen and the entire household were moved to England in 1817 so that the new Duchess of Kent's child might be born there, strengthening the child's claim to the throne; the baby was a girl, christened "Alexandrina Victoria" after her mother and her godfather, Alexander I of Russia. The Duke of Kent died quite in 1820, followed by his father, King George III. Victoria's uncle, the Prince Regent, ascended the throne as King George IV. Victoria was now third in line to the throne, after her uncles the Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence, both of whom were well past middle age and neither of whom had legitimate heirs.
As the eventual heir, Victoria had to be educated accordingly. Feodora was now 14, no longer required the services of a governess. After the dismissal of nursemaid Mrs. Brock, Lehzen – as she was always known in the household – took over five-year-old Victoria's care in 1824; the Duchess and her comptroller, John Conroy made the appointment not only because Lehzen was German, but because they believed she was unlikely to operate independently of their wishes. Twentieth century historian Christopher Hibbert describes Lehzen as "a handsome woman, despite her pointed nose and chin, emotional, humourless." Though she at first feared Lehzen's stern manner, "dear, good Lehzen" soon came to occupy a place in Victoria's heart that superseded all others, including her own mother, the Duchess of Kent. Lehzen encouraged the princess to distrust her mother and her mother's friends, to maintain her independence; the governess was uninterested in money and lacked ambition for herself, instead choosing to devote her time and energy to the princess.
Victoria took to calling Lehzen "Mother" and "dearest Daisy" in private, writing Lehzen was "the most affectionate, devoted and disinterested friend I have." As part of the controlling Kensington System devised by Conroy, after 1824 Victoria was to be accompanied by Lehzen at all times during the day. In 1827, the Duke of York died, making the Duke of Clarence heir presumptive, Victoria second-in-line to the throne. Conroy complained that the princess should not be surrounded with commoners, leading George IV to award them both titles. George IV himself died in 1830, was duly succeeded by his brother the Duke of Clarence, who became King William IV. William formally recognised Victoria as his heir presumptive. According to Lehzen, around this time the famous scene took place, in which Lehzen slipped a copy of the genealogy of the House of Hanover into one of the princess's lesson books. After perusing it for some time, Victoria came to see that her father had been next in line after the king, that Queen Adelaide had no surviving children.
This was the first time Victoria came to realise the destiny, assumed by many since her birth.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth