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Forbidden Wife – The Life and Trials of Lady Augusta Murray

Home / About Ramsgate / News / Forbidden Wife – The Life and Trials of Lady Augusta Murray

09 November 2020

St. Laurence Mausoleum 16.07.2018
“Forbidden Wife – The Life and Trials of Lady Augusta Murray” by Julia Abel Smith. Recommended by Barbara Byne of St Laurence Church.

This amazing story is about the daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunmore who met and married the 6th son of George III. The marriage was not recognised as they had not had the King’s permission to marry. The book reads like a novel and traces her life from childhood when she and her mother joined the Earl in America. He was the last Royal Governor of Virginia and they rubbed shoulders with George Washington. Re-enactors of the story have visited St. Laurence Church several times over the years, from Virginia, to see the resting place of the family they portray in America, the mausoleum in the Churchyard and their monuments in the Church.

When the Earl moved on to be the Governor of the Bahamas, it was considered too dangerous for his family to join him and they left him and went to Paris where they joined the Court of Marie Antoinette. After returning to London, they went to Italy, where Lady Augusta met Prince Augustus Frederick and married him in Rome. The book explains that they had another ceremony in St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, London, but still the King did not give his permission. Eventually, because the Earl and his Duchess retired to Southwood House at St. Lawrence, Lady Augusta, who had been left by “her husband”, moved to Ramsgate to be near them. She had been given an allowance and with it was able to buy land on the East Cliff of Ramsgate, where the names of the roads: D’ Este Road, Augusta Road, Augusta Steps, Arklow Square and Truro Road are reminders of this family and their saga.

It all ends in St. Laurence Churchyard in the mausoleum which is “unnoticed and sad”. The book finishes, “However, six coffins remain unmolested: two contain the unacknowledged grandchildren of King George III and a third their mother the duchess he denied.” It is also of interest that Augustus Frederick was the first Duke of Sussex.
Written by:
Barbara Byne