Before his succession to the Norfolk title, when he was known as Bernard Edward Howard, he was married on 23 April 1789 to Lady Elizabeth Belasyse (1770-1819), daughter of Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl of Fauconberg of Newborough, by whom he had a son, Henry Charles Howard, later 13th Duke of Norfolk (1791-1856). The union was not a happy one, however, the Duchess having prior to her marriage fallen in love with the Hon. Richard Bingham (later 2nd Earl of Lucan). They were divorced by Act of Parliament in 1794.
The Duke, an ardent Roman Catholic and strong supporter of Catholic Emancipation, died at Norfolk House, 31 St. James’s Square, Westminster on 16 March 1842. He was buried eight days later at the Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle.
The 12th Duke of Norfolk’s extensive service of plate, the bulk of which bears the London hallmarks for 1816/17, must have been ordered from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, the royal goldsmiths of 32 Ludgate Hill, almost as soon as he succeeded to the title on 16 December 1815.
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