Luneberg, Geneva, and the Runaway Prince, Part 3 to the Life & Works of
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
On May 30th, 1786, Edward was gazetted Colonel in the army. In 1787, he was sent to Geneva. In 1790, "wearied out by the petty and perpetual espionage, thwarted on most occasions by the Baron; chafed by ever occurring annoyances arising from the position he had to maintain, with the stinted allowance assigned him, he resolved to visit England."9 Once in London, his brothers met him almost in secret. The problem was that their father did not know that Edward had run away from the Baron. A message was sent to the King that his son had returned home unexpectedly.
"Dire was the wrath of the King, his displeasure was inexorable. Prince Edward had returned without his sanction, therefore he refused to see him, and in a few days sent him peremptory written orders under seal to proceed, within twenty-four hours, to Gibraltar, and only admitted him to his presence for a few ["cold and curt"] minutes on the night before his departure. ... [And this] after an absence of six years from his family ..."10
Before making up his mind to send his twenty-two year old son to think things over on the isolated rock we know as Gibraltar, to act there in its British garrison as a middling officer, a courtier spoke up in favour of the young prince, King George exclaimed: "Edward has returned to England without my consent or knowledge; he has left his post without leave. His presence here is an act of most daring and deliberate disobedience; and you call me to sanction it?"11
Prince Edward set sail for Gibraltar from Southampton on January 30th, 1790.
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