Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge

Prince Adolphus, 1st Duke of Cambridge (Adolphus Frederick; 24 February 1774 – 8 July 1850), was the tenth child and seventh son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He held the title of Duke of Cambridge from 1801 until his death. He also served as Viceroy of Hanover on behalf of his brothers George IV and William IV. His granddaughter, Mary of Teck, was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and paternal grandmother of the current monarch, Elizabeth II.


Early life

Prince Adolphus was born at Buckingham Palace, the tenth child and seventh son of George III and Queen Charlotte,[1] as well as being the youngest son to survive infancy.

On 24 March 1774, the young prince was christened in the Great Council Chamber at St. James's Palace by Frederick Cornwallis, The Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were Prince John Adolphus of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (his great-uncle, for whom the Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, stood proxy), Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel (his first cousin once-removed, for whom the Earl of Jersey, Extra Lord of the Bedchamber, stood proxy) and The Princess of Orange (the wife of his first cousin once-removed, for whom the Dowager Countess of Effingham, former Lady of the Bedchamber to The Queen, stood proxy).[2]

He was tutored at home before being sent to the University of Göttingen in Germany in summer 1786, along with his brothers Prince Ernest (created Duke of Cumberland in 1799) and Prince Augustus (created Duke of Sussex in 1801).[1]

Military career

In 1791, he and Prince Ernest went to Hanover to receive military training under the supervision of the Hannoverian commander Field Marshal von Freytag. He rose to the ranks of colonel in 1794, to lieutenant general in 1798. In 1800 - stationed in the Electorate of Hanover - he attended the foundation of a village in the course of the cultivation and colonisation of the moorlands in the north of Bremen and named the municipality after himself Adolphsdorf (since 1974 a component locality of Grasberg).[3]

In the course of the War of the Second Coalition against France (1799–1802) he travelled to Berlin in 1801, in order to prevent the impending Brandenburg-Prussian occupation of the Electorate.[1] France demanded it, as it was stipulated in the Treaty of Basel (1795), obliging Brandenburg-Prussia to ensure the Holy Roman Empire's neutrality in all the latter's territories north the demarcation line of the river Main, including Hanover. Regular Hanoveran troops therefore had been commandeered to join the multilateral so-called Demarcation Army. His efforts were in vain.[1] Also the following plan failed, to recruit additional soldiers in Hanover to be commanded by the Prince. 24,000 Brandenburg-Prussian soldiers invaded and he could only flee the capitulation by conveying the command to his paternal uncle General Johann Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn.

In 1803 he was appointed as commander-in-chief of the new founded King's German Legion[1] and in 1813 he became field marshal.[1] George III appointed Prince Adolphus a Knight of the Garter on 6 June 1786 and created him Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, and Baron Culloden on 17 November 1801.[1]

The Duke served as colonel-in-chief of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards (Coldstream Guards after 1855) from September 1805 and as colonel-in-chief of the 60th (The Duke of York's Own Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot from January 1824. In his time as Hanoveran Viceroy the Duke became name-giving for the Hanoveran Regiment of the Cambridge-Dragoons (German: Cambridge-Dragoner), stationed in Celle, where the Bundeswehr used their baracks, the Cambridge-Dragoner Kaserne, until 1995. The march of the Hannoversches Cambridge-Dragoner-Regiment is part of the Bundeswehr's traditional music repertoire.


After the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817, the Duke was set the task of finding a bride for his eldest unmarried brother, the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) in the hope of securing heirs to the throne—Charlotte had been the only legitimate grandchild of George III, despite the fact that the King had twelve surviving children. After several false starts, the Duke of Cambridge settled on Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. The Duke of Clarence agreed with alacrity, and the way was cleared for the Duke of Cambridge to find a bride for himself.

The Duke of Cambridge was married first at Kassel, Hesse on 7 May and then at Buckingham Palace on 1 June 1818 to his second cousin Augusta (25 July 1797 – 6 April 1889), the third daughter of Prince Frederick of Hesse.

He was, as is shown in the list of issue below, the maternal grandfather of Mary of Teck, consort of George V. This makes Adolphus the great-great-grandfather of the present British monarch, Elizabeth II


From 1816 to 1837, the Duke of Cambridge served as viceroy of the Kingdom of Hanover on behalf of his elder brothers, George IV and later William IV.[1] When his niece, Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne on 20 June 1837, the 123-year union of the crowns of Great Britain (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801) and Hanover ended.[1] The Duke of Cumberland became King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover and the Duke of Cambridge returned to Britain.[1]

Later life

The Duke of Cambridge died on 8 July 1850 at Cambridge House, Piccadilly, London, and was buried at Kew.[1] His remains were later removed to St. George's Chapel, Windsor. His only son, Prince George, succeeded to his peerages.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 24 February 1774 – 17 November 1801: His Royal Highness The Prince Adolphus
  • 17 November 1801 – 8 July 1850: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge

His full style at death was Field Marshal His Royal Highness The Prince Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, Baron Culloden, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order


British Honours


The Duke's arms were the Royal Arms of the House of Hanover, with a three point label of difference. The first and third labels containing two hearts, and the centre label bearing a red cross. His arms were adopted by his youngest daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide and her heirs included them in their arms impaled with the arms of the Duke of Teck.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had three children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge 26 March 1819 17 March 1904 married 1847, Sarah Louisa Fairbrother; had issue (this marriage was contracted in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act and was not recognized in Law).
Princess Augusta of Cambridge 19 July 1822 4 December 1916 married 1843, Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenberg-Strelitz; had issue
Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge 27 November 1833 27 October 1897 married 1866, Francis, Duke of Teck; had issue, including Mary of Teck, later queen consort


16. George I of Great Britain
8. George II of Great Britain
17. Sophia Dorothea of Celle
4. Frederick, Prince of Wales
18. John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
9. Caroline of Ansbach
19. Eleanor Erdmuthe Louise of Saxe-Eisenach
2. George III of the United Kingdom
20. Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
10. Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
21. Magdalena Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels
5. Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
22. Charles, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
11. Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst
23. Sophia of Saxe-Weissenfels
1. Prince Adolphus,
Duke of Cambridge
24. Adolf Frederick I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
12. Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
25. Maria Katharina of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
6. Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prince of Mirow
26. Christian William I of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
13. Christiane Emilie of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
27. Antoine Sybille of Barby-Muhlingen
3. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
28. Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen
14. Ernest Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen
29. Sofie of Waldeck
7. Princess Elizabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen
30. George Louis I of Erbach-Erbach
15. Sophia Albertine of Erbach-Erbach
31. Amelie Katherine of Waldeck-Eisenberg

See also


  1. a b c d e f g h i j k Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  3. Johannes Kessels, "Fast wie eine Königsfamilie: Neue Majestäten heißen alle Helmke oder Kück", in: Wümme-Zeitung; 2. Juni 2009.
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 24 February 1774 Died: 8 July 1850
Court offices
Preceded by
General von Bülow
as Governor, with the Privy Council 
Viceroy of Hanover
Succeeded by
Ernest Augustus I
as King, due to the end of the
personal union with the UK 
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of York and Albany
Colonel of the Coldstream Guards
Succeeded by
The Earl of Strafford
Academic offices
Preceded by
The 1st Viscount Melville
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
The 2nd Viscount Melville
Other offices
Preceded by
The Duke of York and Albany
President of the Foundling Hospital
Succeeded by
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Maitland
Grand Master of the Order of St Michael
and St George

Succeeded by
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Duke of Cambridge
4th creation
Succeeded by
Prince George