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George FitzRoy, Duke of Northumberland -  Nash Ford PublishingGeorge FitzRoy,
Duke of Northumberland
(1665-1716)

Born: 28th December 1665
at Oxford, Oxfordshire
Duke of Northumberland
Die
d: 28 June 1716 at Epsom, Surrey

George FitzRoy (alias Palmer) was the third and youngest illegitimate son of King Charles II, by Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine (alias Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland). He was born in 'a fellow's chamber' at Merton College, Oxford in December 1665 and was created Baron of Pontefract in the county of Yorkshire, Viscount Falmouth in the county of Cornwall, and Earl of Northumberland on 1st October 1674. He was employed on secret service at Venice in 1682 and, upon his return to England, was created Duke of Northumberland on 6th April 1683, and elected and installed knight of the Garter on 10th January and 8th April 1684 respectively. He served as a volunteer on the side of the French at the Siege of Luxemburg in the Summer of the same year, returning to England in the Autumn. John Evelyn, the diarist, who met him at dinner at Sir Stephen Fox's soon after his return, described him as "of all his Majesty's children the most accomplished and worth the owning," and is "extremely handsome and well shaped." He particularly praised his skill in horsemanship. He commanded the second troop of horse guards in 1687, was appointed a lord of his Majesty's bedchamber in December 1688, Constable of Windsor Castle in 1701, and was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey in 1701 and of Berkshire in 1712. He succeeded the Earl of Oxford as Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Horse in March 1703 and, on 10th January 1710, he obtained the rank of Lieutenant-General. He was sworn of the Privy Council on 7th April 1713 and was also Chief Butler of England. He married clandestinely, in March 1686, a great beauty, Catherine, the daughter of Robert Wheatley, a poulterer, of Bracknell in Berkshire, and relict of Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, a captain in the Royal Horse Guards. However, he appears to have regretted such a lowly marriage and, soon afterwards, he is said, with the assistance of his brother, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, to have attempted to privately convey her abroad to an English convent in Ghent. After her death in 1714, he remarried, within the year, to Mary, the sister of Captain Mark Dutton. The Duke died, without legitimate issue, suddenly at Epsom on 28th June 1716.  Frogmore House, near Windsor in Berkshire, was chief amongst his seats, and it was here that his second wife died, some twenty-two years later. 

 

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