Cultural depictions of George III of the United Kingdom

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George III of the United Kingdom has featured in many examples of popular culture.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.


Theatre and opera

The 1969 music theatre piece Eight Songs for a Mad King by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies depicts the increasing madness and eventual death of the king as he talks to birds. George's insanity is the subject of the 1986 radio play In the Ruins by Nick Dear (adapted for the stage in 1990 with Patrick Malahide as George) and the 1991 play The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett (with Nigel Hawthorne as George in the premiere production, for which he received the Laurence Olivier Award). Dear's play centres on George looking back on his life in 1817 (the year before his death), whilst Bennett's concerns George's first bout of insanity in late 1788 and early 1789, which those in the royal court, including his own son, use as a way to sidestep regal authority. Hawthorne reprised his role in the film version of the play.

<i>Eight Songs for a Mad King</i> opera

Eight Songs for a Mad King is a monodrama by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies with a libretto by Randolph Stow, based on words of George III. The work was written for the South-African actor Roy Hart and the composer's ensemble, the Pierrot Players. It was premiered on 22 April 1969.

Peter Maxwell Davies English composer and conductor

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was an English composer and conductor. In 2004 he was made Master of the Queen's Music.

In the Ruins is a 1984 radio play by the British playwright Nick Dear, in which George III of the United Kingdom looks back on his life in 1817, the year before his death. It premiered on BBC Radio 3 in June 1984 and was adapted for the stage at the Bristol Old Vic in 1990, starring Patrick Malahide and directed by Paul Unwin.

George also appears as a character in the Broadway musical Hamilton (played by Jonathan Groff in the original Broadway cast [1] ) to sing three short musical numbers. Here, he is depicted as a cross between a scorned lover and a manchild who lightheartedly comments on the start of the American Revolutionary War, its aftermath, and finally John Adams' succession as President of the United States. While most of the play's songs are in the style of hip-hop, R&B, contemporary pop, or soul, George's numbers mimic the popular music of the British Invasion. [2] He also appears as Prince of Wales and later king in the play Mr Foote's Other Leg by Ian Kelly (who played George in the play's premiere production in 2015).

<i>Hamilton</i> (musical) 2015 musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda about Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung-and-rapped through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow. Incorporating hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes, and color-conscious casting of non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures, the musical achieved both critical acclaim and box office success.

Jonathan Groff American actor and singer

Jonathan Drew Groff is an American actor and singer. Groff rose to prominence in 2006 for his performance in the lead role of Melchior Gabor in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening, for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He returned to Broadway in 2015 to play the role of King George III in Hamilton, a performance for which he earned a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also appeared on the cast recording, which won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.


King George III appears in the following novels:

Susanna Clarke British author

Susanna Mary Clarke is an English author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), a Hugo Award-winning alternative history. Clarke began Jonathan Strange in 1993 and worked on it during her spare time. For the next decade, she published short stories from the Strange universe, but it was not until 2003 that Bloomsbury bought her manuscript and began work on its publication. The novel became a best-seller.

<i>Victory of Eagles</i> novel by Naomi Novik

Victory of Eagles is the fifth novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. The series follows the actions of William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire.

Naomi Novik American writer

Naomi Novik is an American writer. She wrote the Temeraire fantasy/alternate history series of nine novels. Her first book, His Majesty's Dragon, won the 2007 Compton Crook Award for best first novel in the science fiction and fantasy category. She was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2007 and 2016, and won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2016 for Uprooted.


On film, George has been portrayed by:

Arthur Donaldson (actor) actor

Arthur Donaldson, was a Swedish-American actor. He appeared in 71 films between 1910 and 1934.

<i>America</i> (1924 film) 1924 film by D. W. Griffith

America, also called Love and Sacrifice, is a 1924 silent historical war romance film. It describes the heroic story of the events during the American Revolutionary War, in which filmmaker D. W. Griffith created a film adaptation of Robert W. Chambers’ novel The Reckoning. The plot mainly centers itself on the battles of the New York State, with romance spliced into the individual movie scenes.

Olaf Hytten was a Scottish actor. He appeared in more than 280 films between 1921 and 1955. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and died in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack. His interment was located in Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery.



On television, George has been portrayed by:

Albert Lieven actor

Albert Lieven was a German actor.

Russell Thorndike British actor and novelist

Arthur Russell Thorndike was a British actor and novelist, best known for the Doctor Syn of Romney Marsh novels. Less well-known than his sister Sybil but equally versatile, Russell Thorndike's first love was writing and, after serving in World War I, he devoted himself to it.

<i>Israel Potter</i> novel by Herman Melville

Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile is the eighth book by American writer Herman Melville, first published in serial form in Putnam's Monthly magazine between July 1854 and March 1855, and in book form by G. P. Putnam & Co. in March 1855. A pirated edition was also published in London by George Routledge in May 1855. The book is loosely based on a pamphlet (108-page) autobiography that Melville acquired in the 1840s, Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter.


The popular 1970s U.S. children's educational series Schoolhouse Rock features a song entitled "No More Kings" which paints George III as a tyrant reluctant to allow the colonies out from under his boot.

George III's papers do not include a diary. [6] The TV series The X-Files uses a fictional anecdote that George III's diary entry on July 4, 1776 read: "Nothing important happened today", as a plot device and as the title of the ninth-season premiere. (In fact, George could anyway not have been notified of transatlantic events until weeks later).


George appeared in the final episode of the British radio comedy Revolting People in 2006, played by Timothy West, where he is almost convinced into calling off the American Revolutionary War. [7]


There are several extant statues of the king, not only in London (at the junction of Pall Mall and Cockspur Street, near Trafalgar Square, and in the courtyard of Somerset House) but also elsewhere - on London Street in Liverpool, on the Bargate in Southampton, at one end of the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park and the painted King's Statue in Weymouth, Dorset.


  1. Hamilton. "Hamilton – Official Broadway Site - Get Tickets". Hamilton. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  2. "Brian d'Arcy James, Jonathan Groff, and Andrew Rannells on Playing Hamilton Fan Favorite King George III". Vulture. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  3. Adams, Douglas (1982). Life, the Universe and Everything. London: Pan Books Ltd. p. 14. ISBN   0-330-26738-8.
  5. The Windsors, Christmas special, 2016
  6. National Register of Archives. Papers of George, III (1738–1820) King of Great Britain and Ireland. GB/NNAF/P136128

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