Frederick, Prince of Wales
Frederick was born in Hanover, the grandson of the Elector of Hanover
and son of the future George II and his Queen Caroline.
His grandfather became George I of Great Britain on the death of
Queen Anne and departed for England together with Frederick’s
parents and sisters, leaving the seven year old Frederick behind
as regent. He did not follow his family to England until 1728, after
his father’s coronation, and family relations were forever
strained in part due to this long separation, but also because of
his popularity with the people, compared with that of his father
and younger brother, William Duke of Cumberland. Frederick was a
cellist and interested in art, literature, astronomy and other sciences.
In 1731 he leased the Kew estate, close to Richmond Lodge and the
Dutch House (now Kew Palace) where Queen Caroline resided. He spent
little time at Kew until after his mother’s death in 1737.
William Kent was then commissioned to alter the nearby Kew Park,
which became known as the White House. In 1736 he married Princess
Augusta, daughter of Frederick Duke of Saxe Gotha. Kew became a
family retreat; they had seven children, five of them sons, including
the future George III.
In the late 1740s Frederick increased the Kew estate by 42.5 acres,
of which 32 were planted and landscaped by 1751. Frederick planned
architectural embellishments for Kew, including an aqueduct, a mount
of philosophers’ statues, and a Grecian Pavilion. In 1750,
in May alone, he spent £216 on trees and shrubs, many of them
the exotic species, which were the origin of the plant collections
of the botanic gardens. Frederick himself organised the planting
and during one of these sessions he was caught in a storm and contracted
pleurisy. He appeared to be recovering when, in 1751 aged only 44,
he suddenly died in London, probably from pneumonia or possibly
from an abscess caused by the impact of a cricket ball some years
earlier. His loss was mourned by botanists as they "thought
highly of him for his love of plants".
On to: Augusta,
Princess of Wales