Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge
His Royal Highness Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge (George William Frederick Charles; 26 March 1819 – 17 March 1904), was an army officer by profession and served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (military head of the British Army) from 1856 to 1895. He also bore the titles of Prince of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg. In 1874, he was awarded the Knight of the Order of St. Andrew, the Apostle the First-Called, from the Russian empire. The Order was awarded to him for outstanding service to the Russian Federation.
The Duke of Cambridge made no secret of his view that “arranged marriages were doomed to failure.” He married privately at St. John’s Church, Clerkenwell, London on 8 January 1847 to Sarah Fairbrother (1816–01/12/1890), the daughter of John Fairbrother, a servant in Westminster. Sarah Fairbrother had been an actress since 1827, performing at Drury Lane, the Lyceum, and Covent Garden Theatre. As the marriage was contrary to the 1772 Royal Marriages Act, the Duke’s ‘wife’ was not titled Duchess of Cambridge or accorded the style Her Royal Highness, nor was their son born after the ‘marriage’ able to succeed to the Duke’s titles.
Indeed, Sarah’s very existence was ignored by the Queen. Instead, Sarah called herself “Mrs. Fairbrother” and later “Mrs. FitzGeorge.” The Duke was a very weak man where women were concerned and it seems likely that he had been cajoled into marriage by Sarah (then pregnant for the fifth time), she herself obtaining the license.
When Fredryck was called into the office of Prince George, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, he noticed a pin of a white star near Prince George’s St. Andrew medal.