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Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort

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Nationality  British
Political party  Tory

Name  Henry 7th
Spouse  Georgiana FitzRoy
Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort
Born  5 February 1792 (1792-02-05)
Died  November 17, 1853, Badminton House, United Kingdom
Parents  Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort
Children  Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort
Grandchildren  Lord Henry Arthur George Somerset, Henry Somerset, 9th Duke of Beaufort, Lord Henry Somerset
Grandparents  Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort

Major Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort, KG (5 February 1792 – 17 November 1853), styled Earl of Glamorgan until 1803 and Marquess of Worcester between 1803 and 1835, was a British peer, soldier, and politician.

Contents

Background

Beaufort was the eldest son of Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort, and Lady Charlotte Sophia, daughter of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford. Lord Granville Somerset was his younger brother.

Military and political career

Beaufort was commissioned a cornet in the 10th Hussars on 18 June 1811. He was promoted to lieutenant in the 14th Light Dragoons on 21 August, but transferred back to the 10th Hussars on 6 September. Worcester also served as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain between 1812 and 1814.

In 1813, Beaufort was returned as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Monmouth Boroughs, as a Tory, and continued to hold the seat until 1831. On 26 October 1815, he transferred to the 7th Hussars. In the following year, he was appointed a Lord of the Admiralty under Lord Liverpool, serving on the Board until 1819. On 2 December 1819, he was made a captain in the 37th Foot, and on 30 December, was promoted to the rank of major.

In the contentious election of 1831, Beaufort was defeated by Benjamin Hall at Monmouth Boroughs. While Hall's victory was overturned on petition and Beaufort regained the seat, he again lost to Hall in the 1832 election. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel commandant of the Gloucestershire Yeomanry in 1834. In 1835, he successfully contested West Gloucestershire, but left the House when he succeeded as Duke of Beaufort that November. In 1836, he became High Steward of Bristol and was appointed a Knight of the Garter on 11 April 1842.

Family

Beaufort married Georgiana Frederica Fitzroy (1792–1821), daughter of the Hon. Henry FitzRoy and Lady Anne Wellesley, on 25 July 1814. Georgiana's paternal ancestors included the Schuyler family, the Van Cortlandt family and the Delancey family of British North America. They had two daughters:

  • Lady Charlotte Augusta Frederica Somerset (1816–1850), married, on 5 December 1844, Baron Philipp von Neumann (4 December 1781 – 14 January 1851), an Austrian diplomat, by whom she had issue.
  • Lady Georgiana Charlotte Anne Somerset (1817–1884), married, in 1836, Christopher Bethell-Codrington, MP (1805–1864) and had issue.
  • After the death of his wife in 1821, he married her younger half-sister, Emily Frances Smith, daughter of Charles Culling Smith, on 29 June 1822; they were both daughters of Lady Anne Smith, the Duke of Wellington's sister. (This marriage, in contravention of the canon laws of the Church of England, rendered his marriage potentially annullable for many years: for this reason Wellington himself strongly opposed it.) They had seven children, one son and six daughters:

  • Henry Charles FitzRoy Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort (1824–1899), married Lady Georgiana Charlotte Curzon and had issue.
  • Lady Emily Blanche Charlotte Somerset (1828–1895), married George Hay-Drummond, 12th Earl of Kinnoull and had issue.
  • Lady Rose Caroline Mary Somerset (1829–1885), who eloped to marry Captain Francis Frederick Lovell.
  • Lady Henriëtta Louisa Priscilla Somerset (1831–1863), married John Morant.
  • Lady Geraldine Harriett Anne Somerset (1832–1915).
  • Lady Katherine Emily Mary Somerset (1834–1914), married Arthur Walsh, 2nd Baron Ormathwaite.
  • Lady Edith Frances Wilhelmina Somerset (1838–1915), married William Denison, 1st Earl of Londesborough, and had issue.
  • In 1840, Beaufort bought the house at 22 Arlington Street in St. James's, a district of the City of Westminster in central London from John Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden and proceeded to expend enormous sums refurbishing the interior of the house. He renamed the house after his title and during his residency it was known as "Beaufort House." He hired architect Owen Jones, who had studied the Alhambra to embellish the interiors. Beaufort sold the house a year before he died to William Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton.

    Beaufort died in 1853, aged 61 at Badminton House, Gloucestershire, and was buried at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton. He is best known today for his two marriages, and his involvement, as a very young man, with the courtesan Harriette Wilson, to whom he apparently proposed marriage.

    Fictional portrayal

    Both Beaufort and Harriette Wilson feature as minor characters in Black Ajax by George MacDonald Fraser.

    References

    Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort Wikipedia


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