CollectionPapers of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
ReferenceGEO/MAIN/54424-54505a, 54505e
TitlePapers of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathern
Date1769-1795
DescriptionThis collection is principally comprised of correspondence and has been catalogued in the following series:

1. Correspondence from, to and regarding Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn and Anne, Duchess of Cumberland and Strathearn, 1769-1795.
2. Financial records of Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, 1766-1780.
LanguageEnglish
Extent1 volume, 68 documents
LevelCollection
Admin HistoryPrince Henry Frederick was born 7 November 1745 at Leicester House. He was the grandson of George II and the sixth child (and fourth son) of the heir to the throne, Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his wife Augusta, Princess of Wales (née Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha).
Shortly before Prince Henry's majority in 1766 he was bestowed with the titles Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, and Earl of Dublin. He was also appointed Ranger of Windsor Forest and Great Park in the same year.
In 1768, the Duke entered the Royal Navy as a Midshipman assigned to the HMS Venus bound for Corsica. However, due to the French invasion of the Corsican Republic he returned to England shortly after. The Duke was promoted through the ranks to Rear- Admiral in 1769 and Vice-Admiral in 1770. He subsequently became Admiral of the Blue in 1778 and Admiral of the White in 1782, but did not assume command for either position. His association with the sea extended to his patronage of the Cumberland Fleet (which became the Royal Thames Yacht Club).
The Duke's marriage on 2 October 1771 to Anne Horton (née Lutterall, daughter of the British MP Simon Lutterall and widow of Christopher Horton) would become marred in controversy, as when he informed his brother, George III, of the marriage (a month after the event) he strongly disapproved of his brother's union with a commoner. The matter severely strained their relationship as the Duke, refusing to abandon his marriage, was banished from George III's presence. This event induced George III to pass the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 which forbade any descendent of George II to marry without the monarch's express permission. The Act would also have repercussions for his other brother, William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, who had secretly married six years previously, as he consequently revealed his marriage to George III and was similarly excluded from favour. The Duke of Cumberland reconciled with George III in 1780 after the Gordon Riots, and he had maintained a good relationship with his nephew, George, Prince of Wales (later George IV).
The Duke's marriage was not his first encounter with scandal. In 1769 it was rumoured that he had married Olivia Wilmot and fathered a daughter (also named Olivia Wilmot). The alleged daughter married John Thomas Serres and later styled herself as Princess Olive of Cumberland, although her claim was never proven. The same year as the supposed marriage to Olivia Wilmot the Duke was sued by Lord Grosvenor for adultery with his wife, for which Grosvenor was awarded the sum of £10,000 in damages.
In common with many of his family, the Duke of Cumberland suffered various bouts of ill health and frequented Brighthelmstone [Brighton] to benefit from the waters and sea air, which he recommended to his nephew, George, Prince of Wales, who would become one of the town's most famous residents. However, due to financial constraints much of the Duke's time was spent with his wife on the continent.
Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, died at his residence Cumberland House, London, on 18 September 1790 and was interred at Westminster Abbey. He was survived by his wife, Anne, who died in 1808 at Trieste in Italy, their union had been without issue.
Custodial HistoryThe majority of these records are believed to have been part of the original acquisition from Apsley House in 1912. See File level for alternative custodial histoy.
ArrangementThis collection is comprised of two series to reflect the separate physical location of the records and possible administrative history; the original order is unknown.
Catalogued skeletally to File level, Autumn 2020.
Related MaterialFor correspondence related to Olivia Serrres and a copy of her Will, see also GEO/MAIN/35830-35831, 35951, 35955-35958
RepositoryRoyal Archives
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