Authorised form of nameRupert (1619 - 1682); Prince and Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria; Duke of Cumberland and Earl of Holderness
Dates1619 - 1682
Place of birthPrague, Bohemia [modern day Czech Republic], Europe
Date of birth17 December 1619
Place of deathSpring Gardens, London, England, Europe
Date of death29 November 1682
Dates and placesBaptism:
Prague Castle chapel, Bohemia [modern day Czech Republic], Europe (31 March 1620)
Henry VII's chapel, Westminster Abbey, London, England, Europe (6 December 1682)
OccupationSoldier; Virtuoso
University of Oxford (MA 1636); Inner Temple (admitted 1661)
Volunteer in the Lifeguards of the Prince of Orange (1635); visited England and found favour at court (1636); took part in the siege of Breda (1637) and the defeat at Vlotho (1638); imprisoned at Linz, Austria (1638-1641); Captain-General of the King's Horseguards, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Army (1644-1645); Privy Councillor (1662); Colonel of a regiment of horse (1667); Constable of Windsor Castle (1668); Colonel of the Barbadoes Regiment of Dragoons (1672); Admiral of the Fleet (1673); General of the Army against the Dutch (1673); First Lord of the Admiralty (1673-1679); Commissioner for the Government of Tangier (1673-1679); Colonel of Prince Rupert's Regiment of Dragoons (1678); died of a fever
Earl of Holderness and Duke of Cumberland 1644
Membership categoryRoyal Fellow
Date of election22/03/1665
Age at election45
Other Royal Society activitySubmitted a paper on the manufacture of gunpowder (1663); Developed a water-raising engine, described by Robert Hooke (FRS 1663) (1663); Sent variety of objects to be presented to the Society from abroad, e.g. horse teeth from Germany (1663); Proposed as a Fellow on 5 October 1664
RelationshipsParents: Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart
Children: Dudley Bard; Ruperta Howe
Additional relatives: grandfather King James [V]I
General contextUnlike his cousin and founder of the Royal Society, Charles II, Prince Rupert was much more interested in the Society's work and contributed objects, inventions, and papers to their meetings. One of these objects was the tadpole-shaped glass beads, named Prince Rupert's drops and object of intense study from the Society. He was also the proposer and namesake of the mathematical paradox of Prince Rupert's cube. His inventions lay mostly within the area of military and metallurgy. Most of his estate was left to his mistress Peg Hughes and their daughter Ruperta.

Prince Rupert was one of the principal sponsors of the newly founded Royal African Company, a British trading company established by Royal Charter in 1660 which enslaved and sold African people. The company was chartered by Charles II, the founding royal Patron of the Royal Society, which was also chartered in 1660. The RAC was made up of and funded by members of the Stuart royal family and London merchants many of whom were, or went on to become, Fellows of the Royal Society. The Royal Society itself held shares in the company from 1682 until 1699.
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Rupert IM006512.jpg

Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Foster; Dalton; ODNB
Brodsley, L et al. 1986-7. 'Prince Rupert's Drops', in Notes and Records, vol. 41, pp. 1-26
Ochs, K H. 1984-5. 'The Royal Society of London's History of Trades Programme: An Early Episode in Applied Science', in Notes and Records, vol. 39, pp. 129-158
Wolbarsht, M L and Sax, D S. 1961. 'Charles II, a Royal Martyr', in Notes and Records, vol. 16, pp. 154-157
Signed the first page of the Charter Book.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA6056
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
IM/003925Rupert, Princend
DM/5/101A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
CLP/3i/11Paper, 'To make small shot of different sizes' by Prince Rupert[1663]
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