Prince Rupert, 1619–82, count palatine of the Rhine. Born in Prague, he was the son of Frederick the Winter King, elector palatine and king of Bohemia, and Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England. Rupert grew up in the Netherlands and studied at Leiden. Active in the later part of the Thirty Years War against the Holy Roman Empire, he was at the siege of Breda (1637) and was taken prisoner (1638). Released in 1641, he went to the aid of his uncle, King Charles I of England, in the civil wars. Despite his youth Rupert became an outstanding royalist general. His cavalry was generally successful, and he was created earl of Holderness and duke of Cumberland. Despite his defeat at Marston Moor (1644) he was made a general of the king's army. However, Rupert's support of peace proposals and his surrender of Bristol (1645) to Sir Thomas Fairfax resulted in his dismissal by the king, and in 1646 he was ordered to leave England. He went to France, soon became reconciled with Charles, and commanded a fleet assisting the king's forces in Ireland. After the triumph of Parliament over the monarchy, Rupert went (1654) to Germany, where he remained until the Restoration of the Stuart kings under Charles II (1660). Returning to England, he became a privy councillor to Charles II, and, as an admiral, played an important part in the Dutch Wars. A man of many artistic and scientific interests, Rupert also took part in colonial and commercial schemes, notably in the ventures of the Hudson's Bay Company.
See biographies by E. Scott (1899), B. Fergusson (1952), F. Knight (1967), and C. Spencer (2008).