Ernest Augustus, king of Hanover, fifth son of George III. of England, born June 5, 1771, died Nov. 18, 1851. He was for many years a member of the British house of lords as duke of Cumberland, and was a field marshal in the British army. Against the desire of his mother, he married in 1815 Frederica Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, widow of Prince Louis of Prussia and of the prince of Solms-Braunfels. The grant which he asked from parliament on occasion of his marriage not being accorded to him, he took up his residence in Germany, but returned to England in 1829 to vote against the Catholic emancipation bill, although it was proposed by his former political friend, the duke of Wellington. He again applied to parliament for money, for the education of his son George Frederick; but as it was only granted under condition that the young prince should be instructed in England and in the spirit of English institutions, he was compelled to remove his family from Germany. Grave imputations upon his private character, and his unbending opposition to all popular reforms, combined to make his residence in England as disagreeable to himself as it was hateful to the people.
On the death of William IV. (June 20, 1837) the crown of Great Britain devolved on Queen Victoria, and the succession to the throne of Hanover being limited to the male line, the two countries were separated, and the duke of Cumberland, eldest surviving brother of William, ascended the throne of Hanover. Here he became notorious for his tyrannical disposition. His first act was to abrogate the constitution of 1833, which had been sanctioned by William IV. In 1848 he yielded for a time to the exigencies of the moment, and granted a more liberal constitution. Shortly before his death he concluded a treaty with Prussia, by which Hanover joined the German Zollverein (Sept. 7, 1851). He was succeeded by his son, George V. (born May 27, 1819), who, though blind, reigned till Hanover was annexed to Prussia in 1866, when he took up his abode at Hietzing, near Vienna.