Prince Edward was baptised on 30 November 1767; his godparents were The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (his paternal uncle by marriage), Duke Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (his maternal uncle), The Hereditary Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (his paternal aunt) and The Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) (his twice-paternal great-aunt).
The Fusiliers were ordered to Canada in May 1791. The prince was promoted to the rank of major-general in October 1793 and lieutenant-general in January 1796. On 24 April 1799, he was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin, and was later, in May, promoted to the rank of general and appointed the commander-in-chief of the forces in British North America. See Commander-in-Chief, North America. For most of this period he lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was instrumental in shaping that port's military defences for protecting the important Royal Navy base, as well as influencing the city's and colony's socio-political and economic institutions.
On 24 May 1802, the Duke began an appointment as Governor of Gibraltar, with express orders by the government to restore discipline among the troops. However, the Duke's harsh discipline precipitated a mutiny by soldiers in the Royal Fusiliers and the 25th Regiment on Christmas Eve 1802. The Duke of York, then the commander-in-chief of the British Army, recalled him in May 1803 after receiving reports of the mutiny. The Duke refused to return to England, despite orders to, until his successor arrived. The Duke of Kent formally held the governorship of Gibraltar until his death, although the Duke of York forbade him to return. As a consolation for the end of his active military career, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal and appointed Ranger of Hampton Court Park on 5 September 1805. The Duke of Kent continued to serve as honorary colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) until his death. Prince Edward became a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick on 5 February 1783 and a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 2 May 1786. George III made him a member of the Privy Council on 5 September 1799. His elder brother, the Prince Regent (later King George IV), created the Duke of Kent a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the military division on 2 January 1815 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order (military division) on 12 August 1815.
The Duke of Kent became engaged to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (17 August 1786 – 16 March 1861), the daughter of Duke Franz Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and the widow of Emich Karl, Prince of Leiningen. She was also the sister of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the widower of Princess Charlotte Augusta. The couple married on 29 May 1818 at Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg and again on 11 July 1818 at Kew Palace, Richmond Park, Surrey. They had one child,
The Duke took great pride in his daughter, bringing the infant to a military review, to the outrage of the Prince Regent, who demanded to know what place the child had there.
The Duke of Kent died on 23 January 1820 at Woodbrook Cottage, Sidmouth, Devon, after a brief illness apparently brought on by a long walk on a cold, wet day with insufficient footwear. He was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. He died only six days before his father, George III and less than a year after his daughter's birth.
The Duke of Kent predeceased his father and his three elder brothers, but, since none of his elder brothers had any surviving legitimate children, his daughter, Victoria, succeeded to the throne on the death of King William IV in 1837.
Victoria reigned until 1901, and her grandchildren eventually married into almost all of Europe's royal families. They included the Queens Consort of Norway, Greece, Romania and Spain, the Crown Princess of Sweden, The Empress of all the Russias, the King of the United Kingdom, and the German Emperor. Victoria was given a military funeral, as she had requested, as the daughter of a soldier.