Colonel Fitzwilliam is a character in Pride and Prejudice. He is the youngest son of an earl and the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lady Anne Darcy. This makes him the cousin of Anne de Bourgh and the Darcy siblings, Fitzwilliam and Georgiana. His first name is unknown and never mentioned. He is about 30 years old at the beginning of the novel. He is the co-guardian of Miss Georgiana Darcy, along with his cousin, Mr. Darcy. He has an older brother who never appears in the book. As he is older than Darcy and Anne de Bourgh, it is likely that his father has several years on both of his sisters, since he also has another son.
His rank in the military is that of a colonel.
He tells Elizabeth that he must marry for money in order to support himself, which is why the two of them can never be more than friends.
Personality and traitsEdit
He is seen to be "most truly" a gentleman. He is also described as being well-bred and capable of talking pleasantly and smart enough to enjoy talking with Elizabeth. He is very charming. He is "not handsome" and although the son of an earl, has very little inheritance.
He approved of Darcy rescuing one of his friends from an unsuitable marriage, whom he correctly guessed was Bingley, and jested that is was a "triumph", not knowing that Jane Bennet, the lady in question, was Elizabeth's sister. In doing so he provided, though unknowingly, more reason for Elizabeth to dislike his cousin.
Titles and stylesEdit
As the younger son of an earl, Fitzwilliam would have been styled at his birth as The Honourable Mr. (First name) Fitzwilliam.
As a colonel, he is styled as The Honourable Colonel (First name) Fitzwilliam.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ As was standard for the time (Georgian) in the British Army, officers, or their family, purchased their commission and rank. This wasn’t a decoration or an honorary title, rather it was a position of authority and responsibility. An officer position and rank, within an actual unit/regiment had to be vacant and available (usually after a death or retirement) for purchase. The price depended on the officer rank and prestige of the regiment. In 1800, a colonel’s commission in the 49th Hertfordshire Regiment of Foot (prestigious infantry regt) would have probably cost at least £3,500 (£300k plus today). It is likely that Fitzwilliam‘s character, the youngest son of a wealthy Earl, would have purchased an available commission in the most prestigious regiment he, or his family, could find at the time. Considering Britain was at war in 1812 (Napoleonic Wars, War of 1812, et al), and had been for most of Austen’s life, most, if not all, Colonels in British Army regiments, especially the prestigious ones, would have fought in one or more of the many military campaigns and wars of the time.