breast star, 9.8cm x 9.6cm, in silver, gold and enamel. Some enamel damage to wreath around central motif, otherwise good very fine. (1)
Ernst Friedrich Herbert Graf zu Munster (Count of Munster) and Baron of Grathaus was born on the 1st March 1766 in Osnabruck, he was the only son of Georg Ludwig Dietrich von Munster (1721-73), and was Lord Steward for Frederick of York, whilst his mother Eleonore von Grothaus zu Ledenburg (1734-94) was an adviser to Caroline von Braunschweigh-Wolfenbuttel who later became the wife of George IV.
Ernst was educated at Philantrophin in Dessau, he then studied at Ritterakademie in Luneburg followed by studying law at Gottingen University from 1784 to 1787, during his time he met up with the three youngest sons of King George III, Princes Ernest, Augustus and Adolphus.
After his degree he joined the administration in the Electorate of Hanover, but this was interrupted by George III who ordered him to go to Rome on a private mission where he was to accompany Prince Augustus back to Britain. Augustus had married Lady Augusta Murray against the will of his father and without the sanction necessary since the Royal Marriage Act of 1872. Munster arrived back in Britain in September 1794. He stayed in Windsor for four mounths he then left for Italy again with Augustus, this time he went to Rome and Naples for the purpose of studying ancient art and architecture, he returned to Hanover in 1798.
His breakthrough in the Hanoverian Government dated to 1801 when George III sent him to St.Petersburg to ensure the Russian government considered Hanoverian interests in the new territorial arrangements for Germany. He gained popularity within diplomatic circles despite failing to achieve a substantial territorial indeminification for Hanover.
He married Countess Wilhelmine Charlotte Countess of Schaumburg-Lippe on 7th November 1814, she was the daughter of the Regent Juliane von Hessen-Philippsthall and Philip II Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe. The couple met in the drawing academy of Tischbein in Hanover. A portrait of the couple was painted by Peter Edward Strohling, Ernst is seen wearing a wig in the style of his ruler King George IV.
In addition to his work he was an active member of the Vienna Congress for the House of Hannover, which was part of the English Crown. For his work during the Vienna Congress, he received the title of Land Steward through the Prince Regent George on the 12th of August 1814. The regent awarded him for his work at Vienna with the estate of Derneburg which he made his main residence and restructured as a castle. At the Congress in 1815 he had to care for the German assets of the House of Hanover which he successfully did. The electorate became the Kingdom of Hanover and gained territories at the North Sea, partially ruled earlier in personal union, such as the Duchies of Bremen-Verden and partially ruled by others, to wit East Frisia. However the bulk of another duchy ruled before the Great French War in personal union, Saxe-Lauenburg north of the river Elbe was assigned in personal union to Denmark.
Ernst was known as a very talented diplomat in London and as a very knowledgeable source for continental politics after the Napoleon era. He was favoured as a guest of George IV's table.
With time his popularity decreased and on the death of George IV and pressure from Hanover and the brother of William IV Adolphus Frederick William IV he was asked to resign, he left London in 1831 after twenty six years in office. He was decorated with the newly created Hanoverian honorary office of Erblandmarschall and the British Order of the Bath. He returned to his castle in Derneburg.
When Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland succeeded William IV as King of Hanover in 1837, Munster was once more expected to return to politics but at the age of 71 he refrained from active engagement. His son George Herbert took on his father's title as steward of his properties at the age of 18. He also was an Ambassador in London from 1873 to 1885. Count Ernst died on 20th May 1839 at Derneburg and was buried in the Chapel there.