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Beauclerk, Charles, first duke of St Albans (1670–1726), army officer, the illegitimate son of Charles II and Nell Gwyn, was born at his mother's house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, on 8 May 1670. It is said that one day when the king was with ...

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Beaufort, Edmund, first duke of Somerset (c. 1406–1455), magnate and soldier, was the younger brother of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset (1404–1444); John and Edmund were the second and third sons of John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset and of Somerset (c. 1371–1410), who was the eldest son of ...

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Beaufort, John, marquess of Dorset and marquess of Somerset (c. 1371–1410), soldier and administrator, was the first offspring of the liaison between John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (1340–1399), and Katherine Swynford (1350?–1403) [see Katherine, duchess of Lancaster]. He became a staunch supporter of ...

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Beaufort, John, duke of Somerset (1404–1444), magnate and soldier, was the second son of John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset and of Somerset (d. 1410), and Margaret Holland, daughter of Thomas Holland, earl of Kent. He succeeded to the earldom of Somerset on the death of his elder brother, ...

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Beaufort, Thomas, duke of Exeter (1377?–1426), magnate and soldier, was the youngest of the three illegitimate sons of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and Katherine Swynford [see Katherine, duchess of Lancaster]. His brothers were John Beaufort and Henry Beaufort...

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Bruce, Edward, earl of Carrick (c. 1280–1318), soldier and claimant to the Irish throne, was the third, or possibly fourth, son of Robert VI de Brus (d. 1304), son of the claimant for the Scottish throne, and Marjory, countess of Carrick. He had two older brothers, ...

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Edward [Edward of Woodstock; known as the Black Prince], prince of Wales and of Aquitaine (1330–1376), heir to the English throne and military commander, was the eldest son of Edward III (1312–1377) and Philippa of Hainault (1310x15?–1369).

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Edward, prince of Wales and of Aquitaine (1330–1376) tomb effigy by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury; photographer: Mrs Mary Tucker

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Fitzcharles, Charles, earl of Plymouth (c. 1657–1680), courtier and army officer, was born, probably in Bruges, in 1657, the illegitimate son of Charles II (1630–1685), and Catherine Pegge (d. 1678). His mother's liaison with the exiled king had come to an end by 1658, and he was brought up by her in the ...

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FitzRoy [formerly Palmer], George, duke of Northumberland (1665–1716), courtier and army officer, was born on 28 December 1665 at Merton College, Oxford, the third and youngest son of Charles II and Barbara Palmer, countess of Castlemaine (bap. 1640, d. 1709). For the first few years of his life he was officially the son of his mother's husband, ...

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Prince Frederick, duke of York and Albany (1763–1827) by Sir David Wilkie, 1822–3 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Frederick, Prince, duke of York and Albany (1763–1827), army officer and bishop of Osnabrück, was the second son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He was born at St James's Palace, London, on 16 August 1763, and on 27 February 1764 was elected to the bishopric of ...

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Humphrey [Humfrey or Humphrey of Lancaster], duke of Gloucester [called Good Duke Humphrey] (1390–1447), prince, soldier, and literary patron, was the youngest son of Henry, earl of Derby, later Henry IV, and his first wife, Mary de Bohun (d. 1394). He was protector of ...

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Plantagenet, Arthur, Viscount Lisle (b. before 1472, d. 1542), soldier, diplomat, and administrator, was the illegitimate son of Edward IV (1442–1483).

The identity of Arthur's mother and his date of birth have given rise to much speculation. The editor of his correspondence, Muriel St Clare Byrne...

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Thomas [Thomas of Lancaster], duke of Clarence (1387–1421), prince and soldier, was the second son of Henry IV, born in London in the autumn of 1387 to Mary de Bohun (c.1369–1394), Henry's first wife. As children he and his brothers moved around the ...

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William Augustus, Prince, duke of Cumberland (1721–1765), army officer, was born at Leicester House, London, on 15 April 1721, the second surviving son of George, prince of Wales, the future George II, and his wife, Caroline. The eldest son, Frederick, was still abroad in ...

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Prince William Augustus, duke of Cumberland (1721–1765) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1758 Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. By permission of the Duke of Devonshire and the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees