|King of the United Kingdom and Hanover|
|Reign||29 January 1820 – 26 June 1830|
|Coronation||19 July 1821|
|Prince Regent of the United Kingdom|
|Regency||5 February 1811 – 29 January 1820|
|Born||12 August 1762|
St James's Palace, London, England
|Died||26 June 1830 67) (aged|
Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England
|Burial||15 July 1830|
Royal Vault, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
(m. 1795;died 1821)
|Issue||Princess Charlotte of Wales|
|Mother||Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. At the time of his accession to the throne, he was acting as Prince Regent, having done so since 5 February 1811, during his father's final mental illness.
George IV was the eldest child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. He led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and commissioned Jeffry Wyatville to rebuild Windsor Castle. George's charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his dissolute way of life and poor relationships with his parents and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He excluded Caroline from his coronation and asked the government to introduce the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in an unsuccessful attempt to divorce her.
His rule was tarnished by scandal and financial extravagance. His ministers found his behaviour selfish, unreliable and irresponsible, and he was strongly influenced by favourites.During most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory over Napoleon and negotiated a peace settlement with the French. After Liverpool's retirement, George IV was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it. His only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, predeceased him in 1817, as did his eldest younger brother Prince Frederick in 1827, so he was succeeded by his second younger brother, William IV, as Frederick had no legitimate children.
George was born at St James's Palace, London, on 12 August 1762, the first child of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. As the eldest son of a British sovereign, he automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth; he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester a few days later.On 18 September of the same year, he was baptised by Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were his maternal uncle Adolphus Frederick IV, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (for whom the Lord Chamberlain, William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, stood proxy); his paternal grand-uncle Prince William, Duke of Cumberland; and his grandmother Augusta, Dowager Princess of Wales. George was a talented student, and quickly learned to speak French, German and Italian, in addition to his native English.
At the age of 18, the Prince of Wales was given a separate establishment, and in dramatic contrast to his prosaic, scandal-free father, threw himself with zest into a life of dissipation and wild extravagance involving heavy drinking and numerous mistresses and escapades. He was a witty conversationalist, drunk or sober, and showed good, but grossly expensive, taste in decorating his palace. The Prince of Wales turned 21 in 1783, and obtained a grant of £60,000 (equivalent to £7,685,000 today ) from Parliament and an annual income of £50,000 (equivalent to £6,404,000 today ) from his father. It was far too little for his wants – his stables alone cost £31,000 a year. He then established his residence in Carlton House, where he lived a profligate life. Animosity developed between the prince and his father, who desired more frugal behaviour on the part of the heir apparent. The King, a political conservative, was also alienated by the prince's adherence to Charles James Fox and other radically inclined politicians.
Soon after he reached the age of 21, the prince became infatuated with Maria Fitzherbert. She was a commoner (though granddaughter of a baronet), six years his elder, twice widowed, and a Roman Catholic.Nevertheless, the prince was determined to marry her. This was in spite of the Act of Settlement 1701, which barred the spouse of a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, and the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which prohibited his marriage without the King's consent.
Nevertheless, the couple went through a marriage ceremony on 15 December 1785 at her house in Park Street, Mayfair. Legally the union was void, as the King's consent was not granted (and never even requested).However, Fitzherbert believed that she was the prince's canonical and true wife, holding the law of the Church to be superior to the law of the State. For political reasons, the union remained secret and Fitzherbert promised not to reveal it.
The prince was plunged into debt by his exorbitant lifestyle. His father refused to assist him, forcing him to quit Carlton House and live at Fitzherbert's residence. In 1787, the prince's political allies proposed to relieve his debts with a parliamentary grant. The prince's relationship with Fitzherbert was suspected, and revelation of the illegal marriage would have scandalised the nation and doomed any parliamentary proposal to aid him. Acting on the prince's authority, the Whig leader Charles James Fox declared that the story was a calumny. 21,765,000 today ) to pay his debts and £60,000 (equivalent to £8,111,000 today ) for improvements to Carlton House.Fitzherbert was not pleased with the public denial of the marriage in such vehement terms and contemplated severing her ties to the prince. He appeased her by asking another Whig, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, to restate Fox's forceful declaration in more careful words. Parliament, meanwhile, granted the prince £161,000 (equivalent to £
In the summer of 1788, the King's mental health deteriorated, possibly as the result of the hereditary disease porphyria.He was nonetheless able to discharge some of his duties and to declare Parliament prorogued from 25 September to 20 November. During the prorogation he became deranged, posing a threat to his own life, and when Parliament reconvened in November, the King could not deliver the customary speech from the throne during the State Opening of Parliament. Parliament found itself in an untenable position: according to long-established law it could not proceed to any business until the delivery of the King's Speech at a State Opening.
Although arguably barred from doing so, Parliament began debating a regency. In the House of Commons, Charles James Fox declared his opinion that the Prince of Wales was automatically entitled to exercise sovereignty during the King's incapacity. A contrasting opinion was held by the prime minister, William Pitt the Younger, who argued that, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, the right to choose a regent belonged to Parliament alone. ... to assume the government, than any other individual subject of the country." Though disagreeing on the principle underlying a regency, Pitt agreed with Fox that the Prince of Wales would be the most convenient choice for a regent.He even stated that, without parliamentary authority "the Prince of Wales had no more right
The Prince of Wales—though offended by Pitt's boldness—did not lend his full support to Fox's approach. The Prince of Wales's brother, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, declared that George would not attempt to exercise any power without previously obtaining the consent of Parliament.Following the passage of preliminary resolutions Pitt outlined a formal plan for the regency, suggesting that the powers of the Prince of Wales be greatly limited. Among other things, the Prince of Wales would not be able either to sell the King's property or to grant a peerage to anyone other than a child of the King. The Prince of Wales denounced Pitt's scheme, declaring it a "project for producing weakness, disorder, and insecurity in every branch of the administration of affairs." In the interests of the nation, both factions agreed to compromise.
A significant technical impediment to any Regency Bill involved the lack of a speech from the throne, which was necessary before Parliament could proceed to any debates or votes. The speech was normally delivered by the King, but could also be delivered by royal representatives known as Lords Commissioners; but no document could empower the Lords Commissioners to act unless the Great Seal of the Realm was affixed to it. The seal could not be legally affixed without the prior authorisation of the sovereign. Pitt and his fellow ministers ignored the last requirement and instructed the Lord Chancellor to affix the Great Seal without the King's consent, as the act of affixing the Great Seal in itself gave legal force to the bill. This legal fiction was denounced by Edmund Burke as "forgery, fraud",a "glaring falsehood", and as a "palpable absurdity". The Duke of York and Albany described the plan as "unconstitutional and illegal." Nevertheless, others in Parliament felt that such a scheme was necessary to preserve an effective government. Consequently, on 3 February 1789, more than two months after it had convened, Parliament was formally opened by an "illegal" group of Lords Commissioners. The Regency Bill was introduced, but before it could be passed the King recovered. The King declared retroactively that the instrument authorising the Lords Commissioners to act was valid.
The Prince of Wales's debts continued to climb, and his father refused to aid him unless he married his cousin Princess Caroline of Brunswick.In 1795, the prince acquiesced; and they were married on 8 April 1795 at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace. The marriage, however, was disastrous; each party was unsuited to the other. The two were formally separated after the birth of their only child, Princess Charlotte, in 1796, and remained separated thereafter. The Prince remained attached to Maria Fitzherbert for the rest of his life, despite several periods of estrangement.
George's mistresses included Mary Robinson, an actress whom he paid to leave the stage;Grace Elliott, the divorced wife of a physician; and Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey, who dominated his life for some years. In later life, George's mistresses were the Marchioness of Hertford and the Marchioness Conyngham.
George was rumoured to have fathered several illegitimate children. James Ord (born 1786)—who moved to the United States and became a Jesuit priest—was reportedly his son by Fitzherbert.Late in life, George told a friend that he had a son who was a naval officer in the West Indies, whose identity has been tentatively established as Captain Henry A. F. Hervey (1786–1824), reportedly George's child by the songwriter Lady Anne Lindsay (later Barnard), a daughter of James Lindsay, 5th Earl of Balcarres. Other reported children include Major George Seymour Crole, the son of theatre manager's daughter Eliza Crole; William Hampshire, the son of publican's daughter Sarah Brown; and Charles "Beau" Candy, the son of a Frenchwoman with that surname. Anthony Camp, Director of Research at the Society of Genealogists, has dismissed the claims that George IV was the father of Ord, Hervey, Hampshire and Candy, as fictitious.
The problem of the Prince of Wales's debts, which amounted to the extraordinary sum of £630,000 in 1795 69,246,000 today ), was solved (at least temporarily) by Parliament. Being unwilling to make an outright grant to relieve these debts, it provided him an additional sum of £65,000 (equivalent to £7,144,000 today ) per annum. In 1803, a further £60,000 (equivalent to £5,829,000 today ) was added, and George's debts as at 1795 were finally cleared in 1806, although the debts he had incurred since 1795 remained.(equivalent to £
In 1804, a dispute arose over the custody of Princess Charlotte, which led to her being placed in the care of the King. It also led to a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into Princess Caroline's conduct after the Prince of Wales accused her of having an illegitimate son. The investigation cleared Caroline of the charge but still revealed her behaviour to have been extraordinarily indiscreet.
In late 1810, the King's mental health once again broke down, following the death of his youngest daughter, Princess Amelia. Parliament agreed to follow the precedent of 1788; without the King's consent, the Lord Chancellor affixed the Great Seal of the Realm to letters patent naming Lords Commissioners. The letters patent lacked the Royal Sign Manual, but were sealed by request of resolutions passed by both Houses of Parliament. The Lords Commissioners appointed by the letters patent, in the name of the King, then signified the granting of Royal Assent to a bill that became the Regency Act 1811. Parliament restricted some of the powers of the Prince Regent (as the Prince of Wales became known). The constraints expired one year after the passage of the Act.The Prince of Wales became Prince Regent on 5 February 1811.
The Regent let his ministers take full charge of government affairs, playing a far smaller role than his father. The principle that the prime minister was the person supported by a majority in the House of Commons, whether the King personally favoured him or not, became established.His governments, with little help from the Regent, presided over British policy. One of the most important political conflicts facing the country concerned Catholic emancipation, the movement to relieve Roman Catholics of various political disabilities. The Tories, led by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, were opposed to Catholic emancipation, while the Whigs supported it. At the beginning of the Regency, the Prince of Wales was expected to support the Whig leader, Lord Grenville. He did not, however, immediately put Grenville and the Whigs into office. Influenced by his mother, he claimed that a sudden dismissal of the Tory government would exact too great a toll on the health of the King (a steadfast supporter of the Tories), thereby eliminating any chance of a recovery.
In 1812, when it appeared highly unlikely that the King would recover, the Prince of Wales again failed to appoint a new Whig administration. Instead, he asked the Whigs to join the existing ministry under Perceval. The Whigs, however, refused to co-operate because of disagreements over Catholic emancipation. Grudgingly, the Prince of Wales allowed Perceval to continue as Prime Minister.
On 11 May 1812, Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham. The Prince Regent was prepared to reappoint all the members of the Perceval ministry under a new leader. The House of Commons formally declared its desire for a "strong and efficient administration",so the Prince Regent then offered leadership of the government to Lord Wellesley and afterwards to Lord Moira. He doomed the attempts of both to failure, however, by forcing each to construct an all-party ministry at a time when neither party wished to share power with the other. Possibly using the failure of the two peers as a pretext, the Prince Regent immediately reappointed the Perceval administration, with Lord Liverpool as Prime Minister.
The Tories, unlike Whigs such as Lord Grey, sought to continue the vigorous prosecution of the war in Continental Europe against the powerful and aggressive Emperor of the French, Napoleon I.An anti-French alliance, which included Russia, Prussia, Austria, Britain and several smaller countries, defeated Napoleon in 1814. In the subsequent Congress of Vienna, it was decided that the Electorate of Hanover, a state that had shared a monarch with Britain since 1714, would be raised to the Kingdom of Hanover. Napoleon returned from exile in 1815, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington, brother of Lord Wellesley.
During this period George took an active interest in matters of style and taste, and his associates such as the dandy Beau Brummell and the architect John Nash created the Regency style. In London Nash designed the Regency terraces of Regent's Park and Regent Street. George took up the new idea of the seaside spa and had the Brighton Pavilion developed as a fantastical seaside palace, adapted by Nash in the "Indian Gothic" style inspired loosely by the Taj Mahal, with extravagant "Indian" and "Chinese" interiors.
When George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent, then aged 57, ascended the throne as George IV, with no real change in his powers.By the time of his accession, he was obese and possibly addicted to laudanum.
George IV's relationship with his wife Caroline had deteriorated by the time of his accession. They had lived separately since 1796, and both were having affairs. In 1814, Caroline left the United Kingdom for continental Europe, but she chose to return for her husband's coronation, and to publicly assert her rights as queen consort. However, he refused to recognise Caroline as queen, and commanded British ambassadors to ensure that monarchs in foreign courts did the same. By royal command, Caroline's name was omitted from the Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy of the Church of England.
The King sought a divorce, but his advisors suggested that any divorce proceedings might involve the publication of details relating to the King's own adulterous relationships. Therefore, he requested and ensured the introduction of the Pains and Penalties Bill, under which Parliament could have imposed legal penalties without a trial in a court of law. The bill would have annulled the marriage and stripped Caroline of the title of Queen. The bill proved extremely unpopular with the public, and was withdrawn from Parliament. George decided, nonetheless, to exclude his wife from his coronation at Westminster Abbey, on 19 July 1821. Caroline fell ill that day and died on 7 August; during her final illness she often stated that she thought she had been poisoned.
George's coronation was a magnificent and expensive affair, costing about £243,000 (approximately £23,558,000 in 2023; for comparison, his father's coronation had only cost about £10,000). Despite the enormous cost, it was a popular event. In 1821, the King became the first monarch to pay a state visit to Ireland since Richard II of England. The following year he visited Edinburgh for "one and twenty daft days". His visit to Scotland, organised by Sir Walter Scott, was the first by a reigning monarch since the mid-17th century.
George spent most of his later reign in seclusion at Windsor Castle,but he continued to intervene in politics. At first it was believed that he would support Catholic emancipation, as he had proposed a Catholic Emancipation Bill for Ireland in 1797, but his anti-Catholic views became clear in 1813 when he privately canvassed against the ultimately defeated Catholic Relief Bill of 1813. By 1824 he was denouncing Catholic emancipation in public. Having taken the coronation oath on his accession, George now argued that he had sworn to uphold the Protestant faith, and could not support any pro-Catholic measures. The influence of the Crown was so great, and the will of the Tories under Prime Minister Liverpool so strong, that Catholic emancipation seemed hopeless. In 1827, however, Liverpool retired, to be replaced by the pro-emancipation Tory George Canning. When Canning entered office, the King, hitherto content with privately instructing his ministers on the Catholic Question, thought it fit to make a public declaration to the effect that his sentiments on the question were those of his revered father, George III.
Canning's views on the Catholic Question were not well received by the most conservative Tories, including the Duke of Wellington. As a result, the ministry was forced to include Whigs.Canning died later in that year, leaving Lord Goderich to lead the tenuous Tory–Whig coalition. Goderich left office in 1828, to be succeeded by Wellington, who had by that time accepted that the denial of some measure of relief to Roman Catholics was politically untenable. George was never as friendly with Wellington as he had been with Canning and chose to annoy the Duke by pretending to have fought at Waterloo disguised as a German general. With great difficulty Wellington obtained the King's consent to the introduction of a Catholic Relief Bill on 29 January 1829. Under pressure from his fanatically anti-Catholic brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the King withdrew his approval and in protest the Cabinet resigned en masse on 4 March. The next day the King, now under intense political pressure, reluctantly agreed to the Bill and the ministry remained in power. Royal Assent was finally granted to the Catholic Relief Act on 13 April.
George's heavy drinking and indulgent lifestyle had taken their toll on his health by the late 1820s. While still Prince of Wales, he had become obese through his huge banquets and copious consumption of alcohol, making him the target of ridicule on the rare occasions that he appeared in public; 17 stone 7 pounds (111 kg; 245 lb). By 1824, his corset was made for a waist of 50 inches (130 cm). He had gout, arteriosclerosis, peripheral edema ("dropsy"), and possibly porphyria. In his last years, he spent whole days in bed and had acute and serious spasms of breathlessness.by 1797, his weight had reached
George's last years were marked by increasing physical and mental decay and withdrawal from public affairs. Privately, a senior aide to the King confided to his diary: "A more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist ... There have been good and wise kings but not many of them ... and this I believe to be one of the worst." By December 1828, like his father, George was almost completely blind from cataracts, and had such severe gout in his right hand and arm that he could no longer sign documents. In mid-1829, David Wilkie reported the King "was wasting away frightfully day after day", and had become so obese that he looked "like a great sausage stuffed into the covering". The King took laudanum to counteract severe bladder pains, which left him in a drugged and mentally impaired state for days on end. He underwent surgery to remove a cataract in September 1829, by which time he was regularly taking over 100 drops of laudanum before state occasions.
By the spring of 1830, George's imminent end was apparent. Now largely confined to his bedchambers, having completely lost sight in one eye and describing himself "as blind as a beetle", he was forced to approve legislation with a stamp of his signature in the presence of witnesses. 20 stone (130 kg; 280 lb). Attacks of breathlessness due to dropsy forced him to sleep upright in a chair, and doctors frequently tapped his abdomen in order to drain excess fluid. Despite his obvious decline, George was admired for clinging doggedly to life. His will to live and still-prodigious appetite astonished observers; in April 1830, the Duke of Wellington wrote that the King had consumed for breakfast "a Pidgeon and Beef Steak Pye ... Three parts of a bottle of Mozelle, a Glass of Dry Champagne, two Glasses of Port [and] a Glass of Brandy", followed by a large dose of laudanum. Writing to Maria Fitzherbert in June, the King's doctor, Sir Henry Halford, noted "His Majesty's constitution is a gigantic one, and his elasticity under the most severe pressure exceeds what I have ever witnessed in thirty-eight years' experience." Though George had been under Halford's care since the time of the Regency, the doctor's social ambitions and perceived lack of competence were strongly criticised, with The Lancet labelling Halford's bulletins on the King's health as "utterly and entirely destitute of information", subsequently characterising Halford's treatment of George, which involved administering both opium and laudanum as sedatives, as appearing to lack sense or direction.His weight was recorded to be
George dictated his will in May and became very devout in his final months, confessing to an archdeacon that he repented of his dissolute life, but hoped mercy would be shown to him as he had always tried to do the best for his subjects. ... I shall be released about Monday."By June, he was unable to lie down, and received the Sacrament on 14 June in the presence of Lady Conyngham, Halford, and a clergyman. While Halford only informed the Cabinet on 24 June that "the King's cough continues with considerable expectoration", he privately told his wife that "things are coming to a conclusion
At about three in the morning of 26 June 1830 at Windsor Castle, George awoke and passed a bowel movement – "a large evacuation mix'd with blood". ... I was up the stairs in five minutes, and he died but eight minutes afterwards." Other accounts state the King placed his hands on his stomach and said "Surely, this must be death", or that he called out "Good God, what is this?", clasped his page's hand, and said "my boy, this is death". George died at 3:15 a.m. An autopsy conducted by his physicians revealed George had died from upper gastrointestinal bleeding resulting from the rupture of a blood vessel in his stomach. A large tumour "the size of an orange" was found attached to his bladder; his heart was enlarged, had heavily calcified valves and was surrounded by a large fat deposit.He then sent for Halford, allegedly calling to his servants "Sir Henry! Sir Henry! Fetch him; this is death!" Accounts of George's final moments and last words vary. According to Halford, following his arrival and that of Sir William Knighton, the King's "lips grew livid, and he dropped his head on the page's shoulder
The King was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 15 July.
George's only legitimate child, Charlotte, had died from post-partum complications in 1817, after delivering a stillborn son. George III's second son, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, had died childless in 1827, so the throne passed to the third son of George III, Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who reigned as William IV.
George was described as the "First Gentleman of England" on account of his style and manners.He was bright, clever, and knowledgeable, but his laziness and gluttony led him to squander much of his talent. The Times wrote that he would always prefer "a girl and a bottle to politics and a sermon".
The Regency period saw a shift in fashion that was largely determined by George. After political opponents put a tax on wig powder, he abandoned wearing a powdered wig in favour of natural hair.He wore darker colours than had been previously fashionable as they helped to disguise his size, favoured pantaloons and trousers over knee breeches because they were looser, and popularised a high collar with neck cloth because it hid his double chin. His visit to Scotland in 1822 led to the revival, if not the creation, of Scottish tartan dress as it is known today.
During the political crisis caused by Catholic emancipation, the Duke of Wellington said that George was "the worst man he ever fell in with his whole life, the most selfish, the most false, the most ill-natured, the most entirely without one redeeming quality". ... the most extraordinary compound of talent, wit, buffoonery, obstinacy, and good feeling—in short a medley of the most opposite qualities, with a great preponderance of good—that I ever saw in any character in my life."However, his eulogy delivered in the House of Lords called George "the most accomplished man of his age" and praised his knowledge and talent. Wellington's true feelings were probably somewhere between these two extremes; as he said later, George was "a magnificent patron of the arts
Upon George's death, The Times captured elite opinion succinctly: "There never was an individual less regretted by his fellow-creatures than this deceased king. What eye has wept for him? What heart has heaved one throb of unmercenary sorrow? ... If he ever had a friend – a devoted friend in any rank of life – we protest that the name of him or her never reached us".
There are many statues of George IV, a large number of which were erected during his reign. In the United Kingdom, they include a bronze statue of him on horseback by Sir Francis Chantrey in Trafalgar Square.
In Edinburgh, "George IV Bridge" is a main street linking the Old Town High Street to the north over the ravine of the Cowgate, designed by the architect Thomas Hamilton in 1829 and completed in 1835. King's Cross, now a major transport hub sitting on the border of Camden and Islington in north London, takes its name from a short-lived monument erected to George IV in the early 1830s.A square and a neighbouring park in St Luke's, Islington, are also named after George IV.
At birth, he was entitled to the dignities Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, Electoral Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Duke of Rothesay.Under the Act of Parliament that instituted the regency, the prince's formal title as regent was "Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".
George's coat of arms as the Prince of Wales was the royal arms (with an inescutcheon of Gules plain in the Hanoverian quarter), differenced by a label of three points Argent.The arms included the royal crest and supporters but with the single arched coronet of his rank, all charged on the shoulder with a similar label. His arms followed the change in the royal arms in 1801, when the Hanoverian quarter became an inescutcheon and the French quarter was dropped altogether. The 1816 alteration did not affect him as it only applied to the arms of the King.
As king, his arms were those of his two kingdoms, the United Kingdom and Hanover, superimposed: Quarterly, I and IV Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or (for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland); overall an escutcheon tierced in pall reversed (for Hanover), I Gules two lions passant guardant Or (for Brunswick), II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure (for Lüneburg), III Gules a horse courant Argent (for Westphalia), overall an inescutcheon Gules charged with the crown of Charlemagne Or, the whole escutcheon surmounted by a crown.
|Ancestors of George IV|
Charles I was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. He was born into the House of Stuart as the second son of King James VI of Scotland, but after his father inherited the English throne in 1603, he moved to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life. He became heir apparent to the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1612 upon the death of his elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. An unsuccessful and unpopular attempt to marry him to the Spanish Habsburg princess Maria Anna culminated in an eight-month visit to Spain in 1623 that demonstrated the futility of the marriage negotiation. Two years later, he married the Bourbon princess Henrietta Maria of France.
George III was King of Great Britain and of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two kingdoms 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 the longest-lived and longest-reigning king in British history. 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 a 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.
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 216 days was longer than that of any previous British monarch and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. In 1876, the British Parliament voted to grant her the additional title of Empress of India.
The Regency era of British history officially spanned the years 1811 to 1820, though the term is commonly applied to the longer period between c. 1795 and 1837. King George III succumbed to mental illness in late 1810 and, by the Regency Act 1811, his eldest son George, Prince of Wales, was appointed prince regent to discharge royal functions. When George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent succeeded him as George IV. In terms of periodisation, the longer timespan is roughly the final third of the Georgian era (1714–1837), encompassing the last 25 years or so of George III's reign, including the official Regency, and the complete reigns of both George IV and his brother William IV. It ends with the accession of Queen Victoria in June 1837 and is followed by the Victorian era (1837–1901).
The Madness of King George is a 1994 British biographical historical comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own 1991 play The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III of Great Britain's deteriorating mental health, and his equally declining relationship with his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, particularly focusing on the period around the Regency Crisis of 1788–89. Two text panels at the end of the film note that the colour of the King's urine suggests that he was suffering from porphyria, adding that the disease is "periodic, unpredictable and hereditary."
Maria Anne Fitzherbert was a longtime companion of George, Prince of Wales. In 1785, they secretly contracted a marriage that was invalid under English civil law because his father, King George III, had not consented to it. Fitzherbert was a Catholic and the law at the time forbade Catholics or spouses of Catholics from becoming monarch, so had the marriage been approved and valid, the Prince of Wales would have lost his place in the line of succession. Before marrying George, Fitzherbert had been twice widowed. Her nephew from her first marriage, Cardinal Weld, persuaded Pope Pius VII to declare the marriage sacramentally valid.
Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was the only child of George, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick. She was expected to ascend the British throne after the deaths of her grandfather, George III, and her father, but died in childbirth at the age of 21, predeceasing them both.
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was a British Whig politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834. He was a scion of the noble House of Grey and the namesake of Earl Grey tea.
Spencer Perceval was a British statesman and barrister who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1809 until his assassination in May 1812. Perceval is the only British prime minister to have been assassinated, and the only solicitor-general or attorney-general to have become prime minister.
Ernest Augustus was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death in 1851. As the fifth son of King George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover, he initially seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but none of his elder brothers had a legitimate son. When his older brother William IV, who ruled both kingdoms, died in 1837, his niece Victoria inherited the British throne under British succession law, while Ernest succeeded in Hanover under Salic law, which barred women from the succession, thus ending the personal union between Britain and Hanover that had begun in 1714.
Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later Princess of Leiningen and subsequently Duchess of Kent and Strathearn, was a German princess and the mother of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. As the widow of Charles, Prince of Leiningen (1763–1814), from 1814, she served as regent of the Principality during the minority of her son from her first marriage, Carl, until her second wedding in 1818 to Prince Edward, fourth son of King George III.
William Brabazon Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby , PC (Ire) was a leading Irish Whig politician, being a member of the Irish House of Commons, and, after 1800, of the United Kingdom parliament. Ponsonby was the son of the Hon. John Ponsonby, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Devonshire. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor of Ireland in 1784. He served as Joint Postmaster-General of Ireland (1784–1789).
The Regency Acts are Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed at various times, to provide a regent in the event of the reigning monarch being incapacitated or a minor. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were passed only when necessary to deal with a specific situation. In 1937, the Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent, and established the office of Counsellor of State, a number of whom would act on the monarch's behalf when the monarch was temporarily absent from the realm or experiencing an illness that did not amount to legal incapacity. This Act, as modified by the Regency Acts of 1943 and 1953, forms the main law relating to regency in the United Kingdom today.
The 1830 United Kingdom general election was triggered by the death of King George IV and produced the first parliament of the reign of his successor, William IV. Fought in the aftermath of the Swing Riots, it saw electoral reform become a major election issue. Polling took place in July and August and the Tories won a plurality over the Whigs, but division among Tory MPs allowed Earl Grey to form an effective government and take the question of electoral reform to the country the following year.
Princess Sophia was the twelfth child and fifth daughter of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Sophia is perhaps best known for the rumours surrounding a supposed illegitimate child to whom she gave birth as a young woman.
Events from the year 1820 in the United Kingdom. This year sees a change of monarch after a nine-year Regency.
Isabella Anne Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford was an English landowner, courtier and a mistress of King George IV when he was Prince of Wales. She was born in 1759 at Temple Newsam, Leeds, and was the eldest daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine, and his wife Frances Gibson Shepheard Ingram. She married Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford, in 1776, at age sixteen, being his second wife.
Charles Langdale ; 19 September 1787 – 1 December 1868) was a British politician, Roman Catholic layman, and biographer. He served as Whig Member of Parliament, wrote the memoirs of Maria Fitzherbert, and was a leading Roman Catholic figure during the 19th century.
Prince Regent is a British period television series made and transmitted by the BBC in 1979. It depicts the life of George IV from his youth time as prince regent and his reign as King. It consists of eight episodes of 50 minutes.