Frederick, Prince of Wales
The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales (Frederick Louis) (February 1, 1707 - March 31, 1751) was a member of the British Royal Family, the eldest son of King George II. He was born into the House of Hanover and was known as Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover. Under the Act of Settlement passed by the English Parliament, Frederick was in the direct line of succession to the British throne. He moved to England following the accession of his father, and became the Prince of Wales. He predeceased his father however, and the throne, upon the death of King George II on 25 October 1760, passed to Prince Frederick's eldest son, Prince George (King George III).
Prince Frederick was famous for having a hostile relationship with his parents.
Prince Frederick Louis, the grandson of the then Elector of Hanover (later King George I of Great Britain) and Sophia Dorothea of Celle, was born in Hanover, Germany as Duke Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover. 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. In fact, Frederick continued to be known as Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover (with his British HRH style) even after his father had been created Prince of Wales.
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, John Wootton, Phillips and the French engraver Joseph 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.
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.
The full epigram:
"Here lies poor Fred who was alive and is dead, Had it been his father I had much rather, Had it been his sister nobody would have missed her, Had it been his brother, still better than another, Had it been the whole generation, so much better for the nation, But since it is Fred who was alive and is dead, There is no more to be said!"
- quoted by William Makepeace Thackeray, "Four Georges"
Titles, Styles, Honours & Arms
- 1707-1714: His Serene Highness Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover
- 1714-1726: His Royal Highness Prince Frederick Louis of Hanover and Wales
- 1726-1727: His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh
- 1727: His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and Edinburgh
- 1727-1751: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
|HRH Princess Augusta||31 August 1737||31 March 1813||married 1764, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick; had issue|
|HM George III, King of Great Britain||4 June 1738||29 January 1820||married 1761, Charlotte-Sophia, Duchess of Mecklenburg; had issue|
|HRH Edward, Duke of York||14 March 1739||17 September 1767|
|HRH Princess Elizabeth Caroline of Wales||30 December 1740||4 September 1759|
|HRH William, Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh||14 November 1743||25 August 1805||married 1766, Maria Walpole, Countess of Waldegrave; had issue|
|HRH Henry, Duke of Cumberland||27 November 1745||18 September 1790||(an alleged marriage to Olive Wilmot in 1767 did not occur)
married 1771, The Hon. Lady Anne Luttrell; no issue
|HRH Princess Louisa Anne||8 March 1749||13 May 1768|
|HRH Prince Frederick William||13 May 1750||29 December 1765|
|HRH Princess Caroline Matilda of Wales||11 July 1751||10 May 1775||married 1766, Christian VII, King of Denmark, had issue|
|Duke of Edinburgh
HRH Prince George of Wales