Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales (February 1, 1707 - March 31, 1751) was the only man of that name ever to hold the title Prince of Wales, and is best remembered as the father of King George III of the United Kingdom and as the subject of the epigram which begins:
"Here lies poor Fred,
Who was alive, and is dead..."
Prince Frederick Lewis, the grandson of the then Elector of Hanover (later King George I of Great Britain) was born in Hanover, Germany as Duke Friedrich Ludwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg. His parents, Electoral Prince George and Princess Caroline of Ansbach, were called upon to leave the country when their eldest son was only seven years old, and they did not see him again until he arrived in England in 1728 as a grown man. By then, they had several younger children, and they rejected Frederick both as their son and as a person, referring to him as a "foundling" and nicknaming him "Griff", short for the mythical beast known as a griffin.
The motives for the ill-feeling between Frederick and his parents may include the fact that he had been set up by his grandfather, even as a small child, as the representative of the house of Hanover, and was used to presiding over official occasions in the absence of his parents. He had a will of his own, and there are various stories about his unpleasant habits, but these are not altogether borne out by the known facts: that he was, for example, a lover of music, science and the arts. He was summoned to England when his father took the throne as King George II of Great Britain, and immediately became a thorn in the side of his parents, thwarting their every ambition and making a point of opposing them in everything.
Although in his youth he was undoubtedly a spendthrift and womaniser, Frederick settled down, on his marriage, in 1736, to the much younger Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and soon became a devoted family man, taking his wife and eight children (his youngest daughter was born posthumously) to live in the countryside at Cliveden, since he was effectively banished from court. His political ambitions remained unfulfilled, because he died, in strange circumstances (usually attributed to an abscess created by a blow on the head by a cricket or tennis ball), at the age of forty-four. His death occurred at Leicester House in London and he was buried at Westminster Abbey.
His and Augusta's nine children included:
- Augusta - (August 31, 1737 - March 31, 1813).
- King George III of the United Kingdom - (June 4, 1738 - January 29, 1820).
- Edward Augustus, Duke of York - (March 25, 1739 - September 17, 1767).
- Elizabeth Caroline - (December 30, 1740 - September 4, 1759).
- William Henry, Duke of Gloucester - November 14, 1743 - August 25, 1805).
- Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland - (November 27, 1745 - September 18, 1790).
- Louisa Anne - (March 8, 1749 - May 13, 1750).
- Frederick William - (May 13, 1750 - December 29, 1765).
- Caroline Matilda of Wales, later Queen consort of Denmark and Norway - (July 11, 1751 - May 10, 1775).