Kent, Victoria Mary Louisa (DNB00)

KENT, VICTORIA MARY LOUISA, Duchess of (1786–1861), fourth daughter of Francis Frederic Antony, hereditary prince (afterwards duke) of Saxe-Saalfeld-Coburg, by Augusta Carolina Sophia, daughter of Henry, count Reuss-Eberstadt, was born at Coburg on 17 Aug. 1786, and married on 21 Dec. 1803 to Emich Charles, hereditary prince, afterwards prince of Leiningen-Dachsburg-Hardenburg, a widower twenty-three years her senior. The marriage was happy, and on the death of the prince (4 July 1814) he left his widow guardian of their only son, Charles Frederick William Ernest (1804–1856), and regent of the principality. Her only other child by the prince was Anne Feodorowna Augusta Charlotte Wilhelmina (1807–1872), who resided with her mother till her marriage on 18 Feb. 1828 to Ernest Christian Charles, prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Princess Victoria Mary married in 1818 a second husband, Edward Augustus, duke of Kent [q. v.], fourth son of George III. The marriage ceremony took place at Coburg on 29 May, and was repeated at Kew on 13 July. By the Duke of Kent she had an only daughter, Alexandrina Victoria, queen of England. On the duke's death on 23 Jan. 1820 the duchess was in straitened circumstances, having only a jointure of 6,000l. and an allowance of 3,000l. made her by her brother Leopold. In 1825, however, parliament voted her an annuity of 6,000l. towards the support and education of her daughter Victoria, and a further annuity of 10,000l. was granted her in 1831. In the previous year she had been appointed regent of the realm in the event of her daughter succeeding to the throne while yet a minor. She resided at Kensington Palace, devoting herself to the education of her daughter, and during the reign of George IV saw little society; but as the Princess Victoria grew up she took her from time to time to visit most of the places of interest in England, and gathered round her at Kensington a small highly intellectual coterie. She regretted the princess's accession to the throne in 1837 as depriving her of her one interest and occupation. Thenceforward she accompanied the court on its periodical migrations.

She died of cancer at Frogmore on 16 March 1861, and was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor on 25 March, whence her remains were transferred to the Frogmore mausoleum.

[Almanach de Gotha for 1790, 1805–6, 1817, 1829; Commons' Journals, lxxx. 471, lxxxvi. pt. ii. p. 727; Duke of Buckingham's Memoirs of the Courts and Cabinets of William IV and Victoria, ii. 23; Greville Memoirs, 1837–52, i. 15; Gent. Mag. 1861, pt. i. p. 456; Sir Theodore Martin's Life of the Prince Consort.]

J. M. R.