The First Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry is now the Second Duke of Sussex. What was the first one like? Alistair Lexden revealed some of his quirks of character in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on 23 May.

SIR--Charles Moore (Notebook, May 21) refers to the affection in which the first Duke of Sussex was held.

Curiously, his “civil and obliging” nature, commended by the diarist Thomas Creevey, was initially withheld from his niece, the young Queen Victoria.

“I always screamed when I saw him”, she wrote, having been told he would administer severe punishment if she misbehaved. Later, she was much attracted by his soft-heartedness and eccentricities. He sobbed throughout her wedding in 1840, adorned by a black skull-cap to keep his head warm.

In return for his affection she removed the stigma attached to the second wife he had married illegally, by creating her Duchess of Inverness in her own right. Together they amassed a library of some 50,000 books, including some 1,000 editions of the Bible.

Lord Lexden
London SW1