Princess Sophia of Gloucester

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Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Portrait by Sir William Beechey, c. 1803-5
Born(1773-05-29)29 May 1773
Mayfair, Middlesex
Died29 November 1844(1844-11-29) (aged 71)
Blackheath, Kent
Burial10 December 1844
Sophia Matilda
FatherPrince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
MotherMaria Walpole

Princess Sophia of Gloucester (Sophia Matilda; 29 May 1773 – 29 November 1844) was a great-granddaughter of King George II of Great Britain and niece of King George III.


Princess Sophia as a young child.

Princess Sophia was born in Grosvenor Street, Mayfair. Her father was Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the third son of The Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales. Her mother, the Duchess of Gloucester, born Maria Walpole, was the illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward Walpole.

She was privately baptized in a drawing room at her parents' home in Mayfair, Gloucester House, on 26 June 1773, by Charles Moss, Bishop of St David's. She had three godparents: The Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, her paternal uncle; the Duchess of Cumberland and Strathearn, her aunt by marriage; and the Queen of Denmark and Norway, her paternal aunt, who was represented by a proxy. George III had been asked to stand as godfather, but he declined, upset by his brother's marriage to Maria Walpole, a commoner.[citation needed]

Sophia was considered as a potential bride for the Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (who later ruled as King William IV), but she expressed no enthusiasm for the match.[1]

She lived at Gloucester Lodge on the Gloucester Road from about 1805 and remained there after her mother's death in 1807, but by 1809 she had sold the villa to George Canning. She also lived at New Lodge in Winkfield, near Windsor in Berkshire.

In 1811, Sophia visited the Royal Yacht Squadron, at Northwood on the Isle of Wight with her brother the Duke of Gloucester: the Gloucester Hotel, by the Parade, was named in their honour.[2]

From 1816, Sophia held the office of Ranger of Greenwich Park and had a home at the Ranger's House, Blackheath.

Sophia was an early patron of the new seaside town of St Leonard's on Sea, where she stayed at Gloucester Lodge on Quarry Hill in 1831. The building was formerly named the Castellated Villa, but was renamed in her honour.[3]

Sophia died at the Ranger's House, Blackheath, on 29 November 1844, unmarried. She was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.[4]


Titles and styles

  • 29 May 1773 – 23 July 1816: Her Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester
  • 23 July 1816 – 29 November 1844: Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester[5]
    • 16 December 1834 – 29 November 1844: Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester[5]

As a great-granddaughter in the male-line of George II, Sophia had the style of Highness from birth. On 22 July 1816, Sophia's brother, Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, married their cousin Princess Mary, a daughter of George III. On their wedding day, the Prince Regent bestowed the style of Royal Highness on the Duke of Gloucester. The next day, Sophia was also bestowed with this style, giving her equal rank with her brother.

See also


  1. ^ Williams, Kate (2010). Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch. Ballatine Books. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-345-46195-7.
  2. ^ "Parishes: Northwood Pages 268-271 A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912". British History Online. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Gloucester Lodge A Grade II Listed Building in Saint Leonards, East Sussex". British Listed Buildings.
  4. ^ "Royal Burials in the Chapel since 1805". College of St George - Windsor Castle. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  5. ^ a b The London Gazette styles her "Princess Sophia of Gloucester" consistently [1][2][3] up to and including The Duke of Clarence's Wedding, 14 July 1818. After this point, (or at least after her brother's death (his funeral Gazette, 16 December 1834) the Gazette consistently styles her "Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester" [4][5][6]

External links