Frederick, Prince of Wales

From Academic Kids

Frederick, Prince of Wales, by , 1735
Frederick, Prince of Wales, by Jacopo Amigoni, 1735
Template:House of Hanover

His Royal Highness The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales (Frederick Louis) (February 1, 1707 - March 31, 1751) was the only man of that name ever to hold the title Prince of Wales, and is best remembered as the father of King George III of the United Kingdom and as the subject of the epigram which begins:

"Here lies poor Fred,
Who was alive, and is dead..."

Early life

Prince Frederick Louis, the grandson of the then Elector of Hanover (later King George I of Great Britain) and Sophia of Celle, was born in Hanover, Germany as Duke Friedrich Ludwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg. His parents, Electoral Prince George (later King George II of Great Britain) and Princess Caroline of Ansbach, were called upon to leave the country when their eldest son was only seven years old, and they did not see him again until he arrived in England in 1728 as a grown man. By then, they had several younger children, and they rejected Frederick both as their son and as a person, referring to him as a "foundling" and nicknaming him "Griff", short for the mythical beast known as a griffin.

Prince of Wales

The motives for the ill-feeling between Frederick and his parents may include the fact that he had been set up by his grandfather, even as a small child, as the representative of the house of Hanover, and was used to presiding over official occasions in the absence of his parents. He was not permitted to go to England until his father took the throne as King George II of Great Britain on 11 June, 1727.

He had a will of his own and sponsored a court of ‘opposition’ politicians at his residence, Leicester House. Frederick and his group supported the Opera of the Nobility in Lincoln's Inn Fields as a rival to Handel's royally-sponsored opera at the King’s Theatre in Drury Lane. Frederick was a genuine lover of music who played the cello; he enjoyed the natural sciences and the arts, and became a thorn in the side of his parents, thwarting their every ambition and making a point of opposing them in everything, according to the court gossip Lord Hervey. At court the favorite was Frederick's younger brother, Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, to the extent that the king looked into ways of passing over Frederick in the succession.

Patron of the arts

Unlike the king, Frederick was a knowledgeable amateur of painting, who patronized immigrant artists like Amigoni (illustration above right) and Jean Baptiste Vanloo, who painted the portraits of the prince and his consort for Frederick's champion William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath. The list of other artists he employed—Philip Mercier, Wooton, Phillips and the French engraver Goupy—represents some of the principal figures of the English Rococo. William Kent's neo-Palladian state barge of 1732 is still preserved, though Sir William Chambers' palace at Kew for his widow Augusta (1757) was demolished in 1802.

Domestic life

Quickly accumulating large debts, Frederick relied for an income on his wealthy friend, George Bubb Dodington. The prince's father refused to make him the financial allowance that the prince considered should have been his, and Parliament was obliged to intervene, resulting in further bad feeling between the two.

Although in his youth he was undoubtedly a spendthrift and womaniser, Frederick settled down, on his marriage, in 1736, to the sixteen year old Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and soon became a devoted family man, taking his wife and eight children (his youngest daughter was born posthumously) to live in the countryside at Cliveden, since he was effectively banished from court.


His political ambitions remained unfulfilled, because he died prematurely at the age of forty-four. Although the cause of death has been commonly attributed to an abscess created by a blow on the head by a cricket ball or a tennis ball, this story is apocryphal - in fact, a burst abscess in the lung was given as the cause of death. Frederick died at Leicester House in London and he was buried at Westminster Abbey.

Legitimate issue

HRH Princess Augusta, Princess Royal31 August 173731 March 1813married 1764, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick; had issue
HM George III, King of Great Britain4 June 173829 January 1820married 1761, Charlotte-Sophia, Duchess of Mecklenburg; had issue
HRH Edward, Duke of York14 March 173917 September 1767 
HRH Princess Elizabeth Caroline30 December 17404 September 1759 
HRH William, Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh14 November 174325 August 1805married 1766, Maria Walpole, Countess of Waldegrave; had issue
HRH Henry, Duke of Cumberland27 November 174518 September 1790married 1767, Olivia Wilmot; had issue
married 1771, The Hon. Lady Anne Luttrell; no issue
HRH Princess Louisa Anne8 March 174913 May 1750 
HRH Prince Frederick William13 May 175029 December 1765 
HRH Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales11 July 175110 May 1775married 1766, Christian VII, King of Denmark, had issue

External links

sv:Fredrik Ludvig av Wales


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