HRH Field Marshal The Prince Edward, Duke of Kent KG KP GCB
He is not named on the Regimental Boards, but he can be claimed by The Queen’s as the most illustrious of the many distinguished men to succeed to their colonelcy. The third son of HM King George III, he was born on 2nd November 1767. Having no expectations of inheriting the crown, he became a professional soldier and acquired his first commission with the Regiment of Guards, in the Army of Hanover. By the time he was nineteen years of age, he was their Colonel.
He transferred to the British Army in April 1789, acquiring the colonelcy of The 7th (Royal Fusiliers). Little more than a year later he departed that regiment to become Colonel of the 2nd or Queen’s Royal Regiment of Foot. This appointment was of even shorter duration (February to August, 1790). He then moved on, becoming Colonel of the 1st or The Royal Regiment of Foot (later The Royal Scots). Each of these appointments may be attributed largely to his status as a member of the Royal family, and one to whom the expense of acquiring and sustaining a colonelcy was of no consequence. However, he must have made good use of his youthful years in uniform because, when war with Revolutionary France was declared in 1793, he was swiftly committed to active service.
Promoted to senior command, he served in the campaign of 1794-1795 to eject the French from the Caribbean islands of Martinique and St Lucius, and subsequently received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. Having won his spurs in battle, he was appointed in 1799 to be Commander-in-Chief, British North America (Canada). Three years later he moved to Gibraltar as Governor.
He remained a bachelor until 1818 when, aged 51, he married Princess Victoria Maria Louisa, of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. There was one child by this marriage, a daughter named Alexandrina Victoria, born on 24th May 1819. Less than twenty years later she was crowned at Westminster Abbey as Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It was during her reign that his old regiment, The Queen’s, gained eleven of their principal Battle Honours and the Empire reached its pinnacle of global power and influence.
Her father was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal in 1805 but, sadly, he did not live to see his only child ascend the throne. He died on 23rd January 1820 at the early age of fifty-three.