ISSUE 13, April 2005

Editorial
The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, who joined the Antients
 
The Duke of Atholl, former Grand Master of the Antients


Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent
Edward (1767-1820) was, like his brothers, Frederick and Ernest, destined for a military life. As a soldier he was known as a strict disciplinarian who sometimes treated his men too harshly, but outside of the army he was interested in liberal politics, social reform and charities. The early socialist Robert Owen was among his circle of friends.
    His military training took him to Geneva, where in 1789 he was initiated into Masonry in the Loge Union des Cours of the Grand Orient of Geneva. It was also in Geneva where he met the French noblewoman Julie de St. Laurent, who became his mistress and companion for 28 years.
    In 1790 he was placed in command of the garrison in Gibraltar and the Moderns used this as an opportunity to make him Provincial Grand Master there. Edward had two unsuccessful postings running the Gibraltar garrison.
    His policy of closing public houses and confining the men to barracks when there was little to do, led to two mutinies and his withdrawal by the Duke of York. In 1791 he was stationed in Quebec with his regiment, the Royal Fusiliers, and he spent the next nine years in Canada and the West Indies.
    Edward was still unpopular with his men, but socially with the local population he and Madam St. Laurent proved a success. During this period Edward agreed to become Provincial Grand Master for Lower Canada for the rival Antients Grand Lodge.
    It is not known why Edward decided to join the Antients, but his decision to do so would be significant for both Grand Lodges. He certainly helped the cause of the Antients in Canada. In 1791 there were only three Antients lodges in Canada, but there were 20 by 1813, some of which had switched allegiance from the Moderns.
    In 1794 he expressed his desire to see the unification of the two rival Grand Lodges. He was made Duke of Kent in 1798 and returned to England in 1800. His interest in Freemasonry extended to other Orders, and from 1804–1806 he was Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
    In 1813 the Duke of Atholl, who had also been keen on unification, stepped down as Grand Master of the Antients Grand Lodge and Edward took his place. With his brother the Duke of Sussex as Grand Master of the Moderns, unification took place and the United Grand Lodge of England was born at the end of 1813.
    It was about this time that Edward’s involvement in Masonry stopped. In 1817 the Prince of Wales’s daughter had died and public pressure was put on the other brothers to produce an heir to the throne to succeed the Prince Regent. Madam St. Laurent retired to a nunnery in 1818 and the Duke of Kent married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg. By 1820, the year of Edward’s death he had fathered a daughter, Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who the world would later know as Queen Victoria.


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