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Somerset, Charles Seymour, 6th duke of

Somerset, Charles Seymour, 6th duke of (1662–1748). Charles Seymour succeeded to the dukedom at the age of 16 when his elder brother was shot in Italy, and married the heiress to the vast Percy estates. He was gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles II and James II and given the Garter in 1684. But in 1687 he refused to make a public introduction to the papal nuncio and was dismissed by James from his post and his lord-lieutenancies. At the Glorious Revolution, he joined William of Orange, but his support for Princess Anne in her family quarrels with her sister and brother-in-law kept him out of favour. When Anne succeeded in 1702, he was appointed master of the horse. In 1708 he gave support to Marlborough and Godolphin in their power struggle against Harley and lost his post in 1712 as a consequence. In 1714 his attendance at the council on Anne's death strengthened the Hanoverian position, and he was restored to the mastership. His nickname ‘the proud duke’ testified to an arrogance of which many stories were circulated. Horace Walpole thought ‘his whole stupid life one series of pride and tyranny’ and Macaulay that his pride was ‘almost a disease’.

J. A. Cannon

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