duke of York, Frederick Augustus

(1763—1827) army officer and bishop of Osnabrück

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The second son of George III, Frederick was made bishop of Osnabrück when he was 6 months old, but pursued a career in the army. In 1793 he commanded an expedition against the French in Flanders. After a bright cavalry victory at Beaumont in April 1794, he was badly beaten at Turcoing in May, and recalled. In 1795 he was made field marshal and in 1798 appointed commander‐in‐chief. A second expedition to Holland in 1799 proved even more disastrous. In 1809 after allegations in Parliament that his mistress, Mary Anne Clarke, had used her influence to sell army commissions, he was forced to resign, but came back in 1811 and held the post until his death. Baron Stockmar wrote of him that he was ‘very bald, and not a very intelligent face’. But he was unlucky to be remembered chiefly in a nursery rhyme.

Subjects: British History.

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