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Ernest was the 5th son of King George III. After attending the University of Göttingen he joined the Hanoverian army and fought against the French. He lost an eye in battle in 1794.
He was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale in 1799 and entered the House of Lords where he became known as a reactionary Tory, with a particular interest in maintaining the protestant ascendancy in Ireland.
The Duke was unpopular, and a series of scandals led to his voluntary exile on the Continent from 1818 to 1828. When he returned, he tried vigorously to prevent the proposed Catholic Emancipation bill from becoming law. However, few politicians trusted him or would work with him.
The Duke was Irish Grand Master of the Orange Order from 1817 until he was forced to disband the lodges in 1836 amid allegations of sedition.
In 1837, on the death of his brother King William IV, he inherited the throne of Hanover, and lived there for most of the rest of his life.
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