Ernest I

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Ernest I
Portrait painted in 1859 by George Hamilton-Fitzgerald
ReignNovember 1 1821 - 4 August 1873
Coronation3 December 1821
PredecessorGeorge II
SuccessorEdward VII
Reign1821 – 1873
Born10 May 1798
Palace of Whitehall, London, Britain
Died4 August 1873
Brightstone House, Isle of Wight
Burial12 August 1873
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
SpouseCharlotte Sophia of Pomerania (m. 1821)
FatherGeorge II
MotherWilhelmina Marianne of the Netherlands

Ernest I (Ernest Benedict Augustus; 1798-1873), was the King of the United Kingdom from 1821 to 1873. His reign saw the transformation of the nation into one of the world’s first industrialized global powers. At a length of 51 years, 9 months, and 3 days, his reign was the second longest in British history. He was the first British monarch to use the title of Emperor of India. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VII.


Prince Ernest Benedict Augustus was born at Whitehall Palace alongside his slightly older fraternal twin sister, Caroline Augusta on the 11 of May 1798, to of the future King George II and his wife Princess Wilhelmina Marianne of the Netherlands. Prince Benedict George had been married to Princess Wilhelmina Marianne of the Netherlands in order to better cement the claim of the house of Schomberg on Great Britain. This is because she was a direct descendant of the younger son of King William III, Maurice II of Orange, while the Schombergs only link to the throne was through the line of Elizabeth Stuart, a daughter of King James I & VI.

Ernest and Caroline were inseparable in childhood and always in adult life were closer to each other than they were with their spouses and/or lovers. Caroline never married but was rumored to have had numerous secret female lovers. At the age of five, Ernest became first in line to the throne when his grandfather passed away from Syphilis and Benedict George came to the throne as King George II. In 1818 Ernest would be engaged to Princess Charlotte Sophia of Pomerania (1796-1877) and the two would marry three years later. Only two months after his wedding, Ernest’s time as Prince of Wales would come to an abrupt end after his father’s unexpected death from Pneumonia.

Ernest’s reign would be marked by the continued expansion of the Empire and the industrial revolution. A charismatic and easily likable man he would work to restore the reputation of the monarchy after the unpopular Frederick and George I in the eyes of the public. Fearing another future succession crisis, Ernest would make sure to produce more than enough heirs to continue the House of Schomberg, with Charlotte bearing 11 of his children. Their relationship would be relatively happy with the two respecting each other, but the two grew distant once their duties to produce heirs were fulfilled.

Continuing the trend set by his father, he would take a rather offhand approach to politics and would allow Parliament to make most decisions, however, he would occasionally step in and would even refuse to sign Royal Assent on three separate occasions. He would strongly support the total abolishment of slavery across the British Empire in 1833 and would also encourage further colonization and settlement efforts. In 1869 Parliament would grant him the title of Emperor of India after control of the continent was formally transferred from the East India Company to the British Government. Ernest would be devastated by the death of his grandson Prince Charles of Wales in 1870 and would become a paranoid recluse in his twilight years. In 1873 Ernest would experience a stroke while on a trip to the Isle of Wight and would die several hours later of the hemorrhage. Princess Royal Caroline outlived her twin for fourteen more years. He would be succeeded by his son Edward VII.


  • Paternal great-grandparents:
    • Edward, 3rd Duke of Leinster (1701-1774)
    • Lady Valerie Primrose (1699-1764)
  • Paternal grandparents:
    • George I (1743-1804)
    • Lady Barbara Beauclerk-Lennox (1750-1819)
  • Father: King George II (1779-1821)
  • Mother: Wilhelmina Marianne of the Netherlands (1782-1858)
  • Spouse: Charlotte Sophia of Pomerania (1796-1877)
  • Siblings:
    • Princess Caroline Augusta of Great Britain (1798-1888)
    • Princess Eleanor of Great Britain (1800-1871)
    • Catherine of Great Britain, Queen of Denmark (1801-1869)
    • Amelia of Great Britain, Duchess of Milan (1803-1831)
    • Prince George Alexander, Duke of Fife (1804-1855)
  • Children:
    • Charlotte of Great Britain, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel (Charlotte Sophia Augusta) (1822-1897), Married Landgrave Frederick Paul II of Hesse-Kassel (1819-1884)
      • Mary of Hesse-Kassel, Queen of Denmark (1844-1924)
      • Princess Anne of Hesse-Kassel (1846-1919)
      • Landgrave Wilhelm XII of Hesse-Kassel (1847-1921)
    • Edward VII (Edward Augustus) (1824-1878), Married Princess Marie Louise of Sweden (1827-1908)
      • Prince Charles of Wales (Charles David Ernest Augustus) (1848-1870)
    • Wilhelmina of Great Britain, Duchess of Saxe-Altenburg (Wilhelmina Augusta) (1825-1889), Married Duke Leopold August of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1825-1866)
      • Princess Friederike Leopoldine (1850-1944)
      • Duke Moritz of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1851-1915)
    • Alexander I & IV (Alexander Victor) (1827-1896)
    • Prince Alfred, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (Alfred Augustus) (1827-1880), Married Princess Georgiana Victoria of Hanover (1845-1921)
      • Queen Elizabeth III (Elizabeth Georgiana Augusta) (1871-1947)
      • Princess Margaret of Clarence, Countess of Snowden (Margaret Alice) (1873-1950)
      • Princess Alexandra of Clarence (Alexandra Louise) (1874-1958)
      • Princess Marianne of Clarence, Queen of Norway (Marianne Caroline) (1874-1941)
    • Princess Henrietta of Great Britain (Henrietta Adelaide) (1829-1910)
    • Prince William, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (William Henry) (1831-1893), Married Princess Beatrice of Schleswig-Holstein (1837-1889)
      • Prince Edmund of Cumberland (Edmund Henry Benedict Augustus) (1853-1879)
      • Prince Charles, 2nd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (Charles Joseph Victor Frederick) (1855-1919)
      • Princess Victoria of Cumberland, Duchess of Portland (Victoria Elizabeth Frederica Beatrice) (1855-1929)
      • Prince Frederick of Cumberland, Earl of Tay (Frederick William Ernest David) (1856-1924)
      • Princess Matilda of Cumberland, Queen of Portugal (Matilda Theodora Alexandra Henrietta) (1858-1949)
      • Princess Sophia of Cumberland, Marchioness of Londonderry (Sophia Margaret Alexandrina Louise) (1860-1937)
      • Prince Robert of Cumberland, Earl of Broomridge (Robert William Duncan Ernest) (1861-1942)
    • Princess Amelia of Great Britain (Amelia Louise) (1832-1877)
    • Prince Adolphus, Duke of Sussex (Adolphus Frederick) (1834-1903)
    • Prince Lionel, Duke of Cambridge (Lionel Benedict) (1836-1911), Married Princess Pauline of Wurttemberg (1842-1907)
      • Prince Francis, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (Francis Lionel Ernest George) (1864-1931)
      • Princess Mary of Cambridge (Mary Adelaide Pauline) (1866-1909)
    • Princess Philippa of Great Britain, Duchess of Grafton (Philippa Augusta) (1837-1933), Married Charles FitzRoy, 7th Duke of Grafton (1841-1922)
      • Lady Jane FitzRoy (1867-1929)
      • Lady Rose FitzRoy (1869-1942)
      • Ernest Henry FitzRoy, 8th Duke of Grafton (1870-1940)

Titles and honours

  • 1798-1804: His Royal Highness Prince Ernest of Wales
  • 1804-1821: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
  • 1821-1873: His Majesty the King

The official style of Ernest I as king was "Ernest, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, etc.".

See also