Frederick Augustus duke of York

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York, Frederick Augustus, duke of (1763–1827). 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 and culminated in a humiliating capitulation at Alkmaar. 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. His father's death in 1820 left him next in succession to his elder brother George IV, whose only daughter, Princess Charlotte, had died in 1817. Though not a successful commander in the field, the duke was a good administrator and cared much for the army. 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.

J. A. Cannon

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