To enquire about this item please enter your details below and we will contact you shortly.

(Your details will not be shared with any third parties)

Tick the box below if you would like to receive the Armoury of St James's Bulletin - a quarterly e-newsletter that showcases an exclusive selection of the latest military antiques offered at our premises in Piccadilly Arcade.

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
The Father of Queen Victoria - A Pair of Royal Silver Dishes, 1789
Hover over image to zoom, click to expand.

The Father of Queen Victoria - A Pair of Royal Silver Dishes, 1789

Measurements: 40cm (15.7in) x 23cm (9in) x 4.5cm (2in)



Silver. A pair of George III silver oval two-handled open vegetable dishes each with a bead border and handles to each end. The centre of each engraved with Royal crest borne by Prince Edward Augustus - comprising a lion statant guardant wearing the St. Edward’s Crown and standing atop a larger representation of the same, encircled by the Garter and a representation of the collar of the Order of St. Patrick, the whole surmounted by a coronet of a prince of the blood.  Maker’s mark of  Robert Sharp. Hallmarked London 1789.

Prince Edward August (1767-1820) was the fourth son of George III and the father of Queen Victoria. On the creation of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick by George III in 1783, he was appointed the senior of fifteen Founder Knights, and in 1786 he became the first ‘Royal Knight’ of the Order of the Garter. Despite these honours, Prince Edward was only little better behaved than his elder brothers - a fact that enabled his daughter, Queen Victoria, after hearing Lord Melbourne’s opinions, to write in her private journal of 1 August 1838 ‘from all what I heard, he was the best of all’.

At the time the present dishes were made, Prince Edward was twenty-two years old and although nominally an officer in the Royal Fusiliers, was completing his education at Geneva. It was here that he met his long term mistress Madame St. Laurent, the wife of a French officer, Baron Fortisson. In 1790 she joined Prince Edward in Gibraltar where he was serving with his regiment. When the King found out about the affair, Edward was ordered home in disgrace and despatched his son to distant Quebec where once again Madame St Laurent joined him to remain at his side for the next twenty-eight years. Edward proved something of a success in Canada and is credited with the first use of the term ‘Canadian’ when he used it to quell a riot in 1792 between the two groups at a polling station in Charlesbourg. In recent times he has been styled the ‘Father of the Canadian Crown’.

Following the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars the Prince was promoted Major-General in October 1793 and the next year served successfully in the West Indies campaign being mentioned in dispatches and receiving the thanks of parliament. After 1794, he settled at Halifax, the HQ of the Royal Navy’s North American Station and was instrumental in shaping that settlement's military defences as well as enlivening the social life of the garrison with the help of Madame St Laurent. After suffering a fall from his horse in late 1798, he was allowed to return to England and in April 1799 was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin. In 1802 he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar and took up his post with express orders to restore discipline among the drunken troops. Although generally well regarded for his friendliness toward others and popularity with servants, his harsh handling of the situation precipitated a mutiny leading to his recall without return in May 1803. He was nevertheless allowed to retain the governorship for the rest of his life. Given a generally liberal outlook in social and political affairs, it seems he was naturally zealous when it came to military matters.

The death of his niece Princess Charlotte of Wales in 1817, the only legitimate grandchild of George III, cast doubt over the royal succession and encouraged Prince Edward, then aged 50, to marry Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Their only child Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, who was born in 1819, became a source of great pride, and caused him to tell his friends to look at her well, for one day she would be Queen of England. The Prince meanwhile in an attempt to address his many debts retired with his family to a rented cottage in Devon where he died in January 1820.