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- Parents and Ancestry
- Early Life and Exile
- Teenage Years
- Career During The First English Civil War
- Second English Civil War and Interregnum
- Career Following The Restoration
- Later Life
- Death and Family
- in Fiction
Rupert's father was Frederick V of the Palatinate, of the Palatinate-Simmern branch of the House of Wittelsbach. As Elector Palatine, Frederick was one of the most important princes of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also head of the Protestant Union, a coalition of Protestant German states. The Palatinate was a wealthy state, and Frederick lived in great luxury. Frederick's mother, Countess Louise Juliana of Nassau, was daughter of William the Silent and half-sister of Maurice, Prince of Orange, who as stadtholders of Holland and other provinces were the leaders of the Dutch Republic. Rupert's mother was Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I of England. Thus Rupert was nephew of King Charles I of England, and first cousin of King Charles II of England, who made him Duke of Cumberland and Earl of Holderness. His sister Electress Sophia was the mother of George I of Great Britain. Rupert was named in honour of Rupert, King of Germany, a famous Wittelsbach ancestor.
Rupert was born in Prague, Bohemia in 1619, and was declared a prince by the principality of Lusatia. His father had just been elected King of Bohemia by the largely Protestant estates of Bohemia. This was perceived as an act of rebellion by the Catholic House of Habsburg, who had been Kings of Bohemia since 1526, and initiated the Thirty Years' War. Frederick was not supported by the Protestant Union, and in 1620 was defeated by Emperor Ferdinand II in the Battle of White Mountain. Rupert's parents were mockingly termed the "Winter King and Queen" as a consequence of their reigns in Bohemia having lasted only a single season.Rupert was almost left behind in the court's rush to escape Ferdinand's advance on Prague, until courtier Kryštof z Donína (Christopher Dhona) tossed the prince into a carriage at the last moment. Rupert accompanied his parents to The Hague, where he spent his early years at the Hof te Wassenaer (the Wassenaer Court). Rupert's mother paid her children little at...
Rupert spent the beginning of his teenage years in England between the courts of The Hague and his uncle King Charles I, before being captured and imprisoned in Linz during the middle stages of the Thirty Years' War. Rupert had become a soldier early; at the age of 14 he attended the Dutch pas d'armes with the Protestant Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. Later that year he fought alongside him and the Duke of Brunswick at the Anglo-German siege of Rheinberg, and by 1635 he was acting as a military lifeguard to Prince Frederick. Rupert went on to fight against imperial Spain in the successful campaign around Breda in 1637 during the Eighty Years' War in the Netherlands.By the end of this period, Rupert had acquired a reputation for fearlessness in battle, high spirits and considerable industry. In between these campaigns Rupert had visited his uncle's court in England. The Palatinate cause was a popular Protestant issue in England, and in 1637 a general public subscription helped fu...
Rupert is probably best remembered today for his role as a Royalist commander during the English Civil War. He had considerable success during the initial years of the war, his drive, determination and experience of European techniques bringing him early victories. As the war progressed, Rupert's youth and lack of maturity in managing his relationships with other Royalist commanders ultimately resulted in his removal from his post and ultimate retirement from the war. Throughout the conflict, however, Rupert also enjoyed a powerful symbolic position: he was an iconic Royalist Cavalier and as such was frequently the subject of both Parliamentarian and Royalist propaganda,an image which has endured over the years.
After the end of the First English Civil War Rupert was employed by the young King Louis XIV of France to fight the Spanish during the final years of the Thirty Years' War. Rupert's military employment was complicated by his promises to the Holy Roman Emperor that had led to his release from captivity in 1642, and his ongoing commitment to the English Royalist faction in exile. He also became a Knight of the Garterin 1642. Throughout the period Rupert was inconvenienced by his lack of secure income, and his ongoing feuds with other leading members of the Royalist circle.
Following the Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660, Rupert returned to England, where Charles had already largely completed the process of balancing the different factions across the country in a new administration. Since most of the better government posts were already taken, Rupert's employment was limited, although Charles rewarded him with the second highest pension he had granted, £4,000 a year. Rupert's close family ties to King Charles were critical to his warm reception; following the deaths of the Duke of Gloucester and Princess Mary, Rupert was the King's closest adult relation in England after his brother, the Duke of York, and so a key member of the new regime. Rupert, as the Duke of Cumberland, resumed his seat in the House of Lords. For the first time in his life, Rupert's financial position was relatively secure, and he had matured. Near-contemporaries described how "his temper was less explosive than formerly and his judgement sounder". Rupert continu...
After the end of his seagoing naval career Rupert continued to be actively involved in both government and science, although he was increasingly removed from current politics. To the younger members of the court the prince appeared increasingly distant—almost from a different era. The Count de Gramont described Rupert as "brave and courageous even to rashness, but cross-grained and incorrigibly obstinate... he was polite, even to excess, unseasonably; but haughty, and even brutal, when he ought to have been gentle and courteous... his manners were ungracious: he had a dry hard-favoured visage, and a stern look, even when he wished to please; but, when he was out of humour, he was the true picture of reproof". Rupert's health during this period was also less robust; his head wound from his employment in France required a painful trepanning treatment, his leg wound continued to hurt and he still suffered from the malaria he had caught while in the Gambia.
Rupert died at his house at Spring Gardens, Westminster, on 29 November 1682 after a bout of pleurisy, and was buried in the crypt of Westminster Abbey on 6 December in a state funeral. Rupert left most of his estate, worth some £12,000, equally to Hughes and Ruperta. Hughes had an "uncomfortable widowhood" without Rupert's support, allegedly not helped by her unproductive gambling. Presents from Rupert such as his mother's earrings were sold to the Duchess of Marlborough, while a pearl necklace given by Elector Frederick to Electress Elizabeth was sold to fellow actress Nell Gwynn. Hughes sold the house in Hammersmith to two London merchants: Timothy Lannoy and George Treadwell—it was then purchased by the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbachand became known as Brandenburg (or Brandenburgh) House. Ruperta later married Emanuel Scrope Howe, future MP and English general, and had five children, Sophia, William, Emanuel, James and Henrietta. Through William's daughter, Mary, Rupert is an a...
According to Ian Gentles: 1. Charles I's nephew. Prince Rupert of the Rhine, was a famed warrior who won hardly any battles on land or sea. Beloved by his men for his death-defying courage and his high sense of military honour, he was nonetheless a bad tempered and arrogant leader. His defects of character became more accentuated with age. Yet he remains one of the most romantic figures in English history, admired for his reckless cavalry charges, and his equally reckless naval charges against the much stronger Parliamentary, and later Dutch, fleets....The prince alienated many because he was frequently irascible, tactless, impatient, and—most seriously—a poor judge of character. In Canada, the city of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, the community of Prince Rupert in the city of Edmonton, Alberta and the Rupert River in Quebec are all named after the Prince. Rupert's Bay on St Helena may also be named after him. In Bristolthere was also a street, Rupert Street, and formerly a publi...Prince Rupert is the protagonist of Poul Anderson's alternative history/fantasy book A Midsummer Tempest, where the Prince, with the help of various Shakespeareancharacters who are actual persons i...Prince Rupert is the key character in the King Crimson song Lizard from their 1970 album of the same name. The 23-minute suite includes several sections, one named Prince Rupert Awakes and another...Prince Rupert appears in The Oak Apple and The Black Pearl, volumes 4 and 5 of The Morland Dynasty, a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. He is assisted during the Civil Wa...Prince Rupert and his sister Elisabeth are minor characters in Eric Flint's 1632 series books Grantville Gazette IV and Grantville Gazette VI
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