Edgar Stuart, Duke of Cambridge, Son of King James II of England

by Susan Flantzer
© Unofficial Royalty 2023

Edgar’s coat of arms; Credit – By Alexcoldcasefan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18934468

Edgar Stuart, Duke of Cambridge was born at St. James’s Palace in London, England on September 14, 1667. He was the sixth of the eight children and the youngest of the four sons of the future King James II of England, who was then Duke of York, and his first wife Anne Hyde. Edgar’s paternal grandparents were King Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France. His maternal grandparents were Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon and his second wife Frances Aylesbury. The name Edgar had roots in the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex with Edgar the Peaceful, King of the English and in Scotland with Edgar, King of Scots.

Edgar’s parents with their only surviving children, the future Queen Mary II and the future Queen Anne by Peter Lely between 1668 and 1670; Credit – Wikipedia

At the time of his birth, his three brothers who had been born before Edgar had all died. His only living siblings were his two elder sisters, the future Queen Mary II of England and the future Queen Anne of England, who turned out to be the only surviving children of their parents’ eight children. Edgar’s uncle King Charles II of England had married Catherine of Braganza in 1662, and five years later, their marriage was still childless. By this time King Charles II had eleven illegitimate children so the issue was not with him. Edgar was second in the line of succession after his father. Regarding Edgar’s birth, the diarist Samuel Pepys noted, “The King [Charles II] and the Duke of York [Edgar’s father] and the whole Court is mighty joyful at the Duchess of York’s being brought to bed this day of a son.”

Edgar had seven siblings:

Edgar was christened at the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace in London, England on September 16, 1667.

His godparents were:

On October 7, 1667, Edgar’s uncle King Charles II created him Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Cambridge, and Baron of Dauntsey, the same titles that had been bestowed upon his deceased elder brother James who had died four months earlier.

Edgartown, Massachusetts on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, established in 1642, was named after Edgar when it was incorporated in 1671. Martha’s Vineyard was then part of the colony of New York, named for Edgar’s father, the Duke of York, in 1664.

Edgar’s mother Anne, Duchess of York by Peter Lely around 1670; Credit – Wikipedia

After Edgar’s birth, his mother Anne, Duchess of York admitted that she never again felt well. She gave birth in 1669 to Henrietta who died in infancy. By 1670, Anne was very ill with breast cancer, and once again pregnant. She gave birth to her last child Catherine on February 9, 1671 (died in December 1671) while in the advanced stages of breast cancer. Edgar’s mother died on March 31, 1671, at the age of 34.

Edgar did not survive his mother for long. He died at  Richmond Palace in Surrey, England on June 8, 1671, three months short of his fourth birthday. On June 12, 1671, he was buried at Westminster Abbey in London, England in a vault under the monument to his great-great-grandmother Mary, Queen of Scots in the south aisle of the Henry VII Chapel. His coffin was placed on top of his mother’s coffin.

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Works Cited

  • Edgar Stuart, Duke of Cambridge (2022) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Stuart,_Duke_of_Cambridge (Accessed: February 21, 2023).
  • Flantzer, Susan. (2016) Anne Hyde, Duchess of YorkUnofficial Royalty. Available at: https://www.unofficialroyalty.com/anne-hyde-duchess-of-york/ (Accessed: February 21, 2023).
  • Flantzer, Susan. (2017) King James II of EnglandUnofficial Royalty. Available at: https://www.unofficialroyalty.com/king-james-ii-of-england/ (Accessed: February 21, 2023).
  • Holmes, Frederic. (2005) The Sickly Stuarts: The Medical Downfall of a Dynasty. Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton.
  • Weir, Alison. (1989) Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books.
  • Williamson, David. (1996) Brewer’s British Royalty: A Phrase and Fable Dictionary. London: Cassell.

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