Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany

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Prince Edward
Duke of York and Albany
Edward, Duke of York (Pompeo Batoni).jpg
Born (1739-03-25)25 March 1739
Norfolk House, St James's Square, Westminster
Died 17 September 1767(1767-09-17) (aged 28)
Prince's Palace, Monaco-Ville
Burial 1 November 1767
Westminster Abbey, London
Full name
Edward Augustus
House Hanover
Father Frederick, Prince of Wales
Mother Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha

Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany KG PC FRS (Edward Augustus;[1] 25 March 1739 – 17 September 1767), was the younger brother of George III of the United Kingdom, the second son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

Early life

The Duke of York (centre), together with his brother, the future George III of the United Kingdom and their tutor, Francis Ayscough, Dean of Bristol, ca. 1749.

The young prince was baptised Edward Augustus, at Norfolk House, by The Bishop of Oxford, Thomas Secker, and his godparents were his great-uncle The King in Prussia (for whom The Duke of Queensberry stood proxy), The Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (who was represented by Lord Carnarvon), and his maternal aunt The Duchess of Saxe-Weissenfels (for whom Lady Charlotte Edwin, a daughter of the late 4th Duke of Hamilton, stood proxy).[2]

As a boy the Duke of York, with his brother, went through long hours of schooling in arithmetic, Latin, geometry, writing, religion, French, German, Greek and even dancing to be well rounded. For the future George III the young Prince Edward, Duke of York, was his only constant companion but it was Edward who was their mother’s favorite. As he grew up, quite unlike his simple and solitary brother, the Duke of York became a very popular figure in London society. Those who knew the Duke of York described him as silly, frivolous, rather a chatter-box, someone who loved a good practical joke and who did not keep the most upright company.[3]

Seven Years War

The Duke of York, aged 15, by Liotard

Edward showed an interest in naval affairs and sought permission to serve with the Royal Navy. He participated in the naval descents against the French coast taking part in the failed Raid on St Malo, which ended in the Battle of St. Cast in 1758.

He was made Captain on 14 June 1759,[4] Rear-Admiral of the Blue in 1761 and Vice-Admiral of the Blue in 1762.[5]

Later life

The Duke of York, 1763, as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

He was created Duke of York and Albany and Earl of Ulster by his paternal grandfather, George II, on 1 April 1760.[6]

When Edward's brother ascended the throne on 25 October 1760 as George III, he named Edward a privy counsellor.

From the time his brother became king and until the birth of the king's first child, the future George IV, on 12 August 1762, the duke was heir presumptive to the British throne.

On 27 July 1765 he was initiated into the Masonic Order.[7]

In the late summer of 1767, on his way to Genoa, Edward fell ill and had to be landed in the harbour of Monaco. Despite the care and attention he was given, he died in the Palace of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, on 17 September. The state bedchamber where the ill duke died has since been known as the York Room. After his death, his body was returned to London aboard HMS Montreal, and is interred in Westminster Abbey.[8]


Prince Edward approx. 1764–1765


  • In 1762, James Boswell published “The Cub at Newmarket”, a poem which he dedicated to Prince Edward, without getting his permission. Boswell met the prince at the Newmarket races in 1760 during his first visit to London. The cub referenced in the work is Boswell himself. The dedication reads:




Duke of YORK


PERMIT me to take this method of thanking your Royal Highness, for condescending to like the following Sketch. Or, in other Words, permit me to let the World know that this ſame Cub has been laughed at by the Duke of YORK;---- has been read to your Royal Highness by the Genius himself, and warmed by the immediate beams of your kind Indulgence.

HAD I been able to conceal this, I should have imagined that I had not the least Spark of the Enthusiasm of Parnassus in my Composition.---- To be so deficient in Vanity, which, if I am not mistaken, may be reckoned an inseparable Characteristic of a Poet.

THIS Trifle, SIR, would not presume to interrupt you, when engaged in matters of Consequence. It only begs leave to pay it's Respects in an hour devoted to cheerful Festivity.

I wish your Royal Highness a long, a merry, and a happy Life; and am,

Your obliged

Devoted Servant.[9]

  • Prince Edward is an important character in Norah Lofts' historical novel The Lost Queen (1969), chronicling the life of his youngest sister, Caroline Matilda, Queen Consort of Denmark and Norway as wife of King Christian VII. Edward is mentioned as having had a special link with her, stronger than with his other siblings. The book also depicts Edward as having planned shortly before his death to elope with a commoner woman with whom he was in love, marry her in Russia and never go back to Britain – which is not firmly attested in historical sources.

Places and people named after Prince Edward

Titles, styles, honour and arms

Coat of arms of the Prince Edward, the Duke of York and Albany

Titles and styles

  • 25 March 1739 – 1 April 1760: His Royal Highness Prince Edward[1]
  • 1 April 1760 – 17 September 1767: His Royal Highness The Duke of York and Albany



Edward was granted use of the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of five points, the centre bearing a cross gules, the other points each bearing a canton gules.[10]



  1. 1.0 1.1 In the London Gazette, the Prince is called simply 'Prince Edward' (16 November 1756; 28 June 1757; 18 April 1758; 27 October 1759; 1 January; 2 February 1760)
  2. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  4. A political index to the histories of Great Britain & Ireland, or, a complete register of the hereditary honours, public offices, and persons in office : from the earliest periods to the present time. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  5. Joseph Haydn and Horace Ockerby, The Book of Dignities, London 1894, p. 814
  6. Yvonne's Royalty: Peerage. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  8. Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. The Cub at Newmarket (1762). James Boswell .info. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.
  10. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family. Retrieved on 2012-06-06.

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