A selection of Lord Lexden's letters this year to The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The New Statesman, The Spectator and others. You can read letters from previous years in the menu to the left.
16/01/20 - Another Duke of Sussex who went his own way
Sir, Prince Harry’s Hanoverian predecessor as Duke of Sussex, Prince Augustus, loved breaking the rules. He is the only royal to marry twice without the monarch’s consent required under the Royal Marriages Act. After the death of Lady Augusta Murray (“History repeats itself as the Sussexes fall out of favour”, Jan 13), he married Lady Cecilia Buggin, widow of a London Alderman, in 1831. The match won widespread public support, enhanced by the duke’s endorsement of parliamentary reform and the enfranchisement of Jews to the horror of his right-wing family. Though Lord Melbourne, the prime minister, thought “it would be very ridiculous” to grant the illegal wife any public recognition, in 1840 Queen Victoria created her Duchess of Inverness “as long as she did not go out or take place before any other duchess”. A rebel to the last, her husband rejected in his will a burial at Windsor in favour of Kensal Green cemetery, proving his piety by accumulating some 1,000 editions of the Bible.
House of Lords
08/01/20 - George III - a most conscientious king
The Daily Telegraph
SIR - It is very good that George III is to be the subject of an exhibition that will “seek to redefine what is known about the monarch” (report, January 3).
That should include his remarkable stamina and devotion to state affairs. It was his habit to rise at six in the morning to deal with ministerial papers that had arrived overnight. After a morning ride, breakfast and divine service, he worked until eight-thirty in the evening, with a break in the afternoon for public occasions such as receptions for ministers and courtiers. He wrote all his own letters and policy papers until 1805 when failing eyesight compelled him to use a secretary. He was the only Hanoverian monarch to keep up such a strict daily routine, playing the flute, harpsichord or piano in the evenings for recreation.
A leading authority on the period, Professor Peter Jupp, concluded that “ by the end of the 1770s he was probably the best-informed statesman of his time on the full range pf policy issues.” Sadly, mastery of detail was not always rewarded by political success.