Arnold van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle

Arnold van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle

Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle KG, and lord of De Voorst in Guelders (Gelderland) (c. 1670 – May 30, 1718), was the son of Oswald van Keppel and his wife Anna Geertruid van Lintelo. De Voorst is a large country house near Zutphen, financed by William III, and not unlike the royal palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn.

Arnold Joost van Keppel was born in the Dutch Republic about 1670 and was the heir of a junior branch of an ancient and noble family in Gelderland, and 12th in descent from Walter van Keppel, living in 1179. He achieved fame and wealth as the right-hand man of William III of Orange. As page to the king, Keppel accompanied William to England in the Revolution of 1688, and became Groom of the Bedchamber and Master of the Robes in 1695. In 1696 he was created Baron Ashford of Ashford, Kent, Viscount Bury in Lancashire. On February 10, 1697 William made van Keppel Earl of Albemarle, Viscount Bury and Baron Ashford.

In 1700, William gave Albemarle extensive lands in Ireland, but Parliament obliged the king to cancel this grant. William instead granted him £50,000. The same year he was created a Knight of the Garter. He served both with the English and Dutch troops, was major-general in 1697, colonel of several regiments and governor of 's-Hertogenbosch.

Handsome and engaging, he rivalled Portland (whose jealousy he aroused in the royal favour), possessed William's full confidence, and accompanied him everywhere. In February 1702 William, then prostrated with his last illness, sent Albemarle to the Netherlands to arrange the coming campaign, and he only returned in time to receive William's last commissions on his deathbed.

After the death of William III, who bequeathed to him 200,000 guilders and some lands, Albemarle returned to the Netherlands, took his seat as a noble in the States-General, and became a general of cavalry in the Dutch army. He joined the forces of the allies in 1703 in the War of Spanish Succession, was present at the Battle of Ramillies in 1706 and at Oudenaarde in 1708, and distinguished himself at the siege of Lille. He commanded at the siege of Aire in 1710, led Marlborough's second line in 1711, and was general of the Dutch forces in 1712, being defeated at Denain after the withdrawal of Ormonde and the English forces and taken prisoner. He died on May 30, 1718, at the age of forty-eight.

Albemarle married Geertruid, daughter of Adam van der Denijn, by whom he had :
* William Anne, who succeeded him as 2nd Earl of Albemarle. He married the granddaughter of Charles II of England
* Sophia (1716-1773), who married General John Thomas.

Among his direct descendants are Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and author Violet Trefusis


* Edmund Lodge "The Genealogy of the Existing British Peerage", 1859. [ at Googe Books]

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