Hanover King: William IV

William Henry was born on the 21st August 1765 at Buckingham Palace, to parents King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Aged thirteen he joined the Royal Navy and saw service:

In 1780 was at the “Battle of Cape St.Vincent,” served in New York during the American War of Independence.  A plot had been sanctioned by George Washington, to kidnap him during his frequent walks around the city unescorted.  Once news got out he was assigned a guard.

In 1785 became Lieutenant of the HMS Pegasus, and promoted to captain in 1786, and later that year stationed in the West Indies under Horatio Nelson.  In 1788 commanded the HMS Andromeda and was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1789, commanding the HMS Valiant.  In 1798 he made admiral, and in 1811 promoted to Admiral of the Fleet.

In 1789 William became the Duke of Clarence, and lived with his mistress Dorothy Jordan.  She bore him ten illegitimate children, bearing the Fitzclarence surname.

George Fitzclarence, Earl of Munster

Henry Fitzclarence

Sophia Sidney, Baroness De L’Isle and Dudley

Lady Mary Fox

Lord Frederick Fitzclarence

Elizabeth Hay, Countess of Erroll

Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence

Lady Augusta Gordon

Lord Augustus Fitzclarence

Amelia Cary, Viscountess Falkland

Deeply in debt, William was forced to leave his mistress in 1811, and seek out an heiress to solve his financial issues.

William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen at Kew Palace on the 11th July 181, but she bore him no children who lived passed infancy.

Clarence house was built by John Nash between 1825 and 1827 as their home, one which he would live in, after he became King.

William’s brother’s died before him, without producing a legitimate heir to the English throne.  Princess Charlotte the daughter of George IV died in 1817, Frederick the Duke of York died in 1827, which made William heir to the English throne, something he had never expected.

On the 26th June 1830 William ascended to the English throne, and on the 8th September 1831, he was crowned King William IV of England, and King of Hanover.

William would never visit Hanover as its King, and appointed the task to his brother, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, acting as his Viceroy.

In August of 1830, the Duke of Wellington’s Tory Government lost the general election, and the Whigs, led by Lord Grey came to power.  The general election of 1831, gave the Whigs a majority in the Commons.

The Reform Act of 1832, which abolished abuses of the electoral system, was pushed through when King William created new Whig peers, getting the bill through the House of Lords.  It also meant, more people could vote, and a fair redistribution of Parliamentary seats.

In 1833, following years of campaigning by the Quakers and William Wilberforce, slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire.

The Factory Act of 1833 made it illegal for children under nine, to work in factories and reduced the number of hours worked by women and older children.

In 1834, the Poor Law Act was passed, creating workhouses for the poor.

In 1836 it became a compulsory act of law, that all births, deaths and marriages had to be registered.

Queen Adelaide attended to her husband day and night in his last ten days of life.

On the morning of the 20th June 1837 King William IV died at Windsor Castle and was buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor on the 8th July.  With no legitimate children, he was succeeded to the throne by his niece; Victoria who would become Queen of England and Ireland, and the post of King of Hanover went to his brother; Ernst, Duke of Cumberland.

Hanover King: George IV

On the 12th August 1762, George Augustus Frederick, was born at St.James Palace, London to parents George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Unlike his father, George had a string of mistresses, and became a notorious ladies man.  He would woo his targets, promising them his undying love, promises of a pension, and when tired of them, dropped them, seeking someone new.

Georges’ cavorting with women, young and old didn’t come cheap, as his debts rose, Parliament ordered that he marry a Protestant princess, and his debts would be settled.

On the 15th December 1785, George married Maria Fitzherbert, she a commoner, and a twice widowed Catholic.  The Royal Marriages Act of 1772, prohibited royal marriages without consent of the King, therefore the marriage was illegal.

By 1787, the Princes lifestyle of palaces, pictures, parties and mistresses had plunged him into debt.  With no help from his family to clear his debts, was forced to rely on political allies and a parliamentary grant.

He couldn’t announce his marriage to Maria fitzherbert, it would have scandalised the nation, and worse would follow, when it came out, it was an illegal marriage.  Any proposals to grant him aid, would be withdrawn.

He had no choice, but to publicly deny, such a marriage had ever taken place.

George Augustus Frederick, the Prince of Wales, became Regent representing his father; George III who suffered from bouts of madness in 1788.

In November of 1788, the King was unable to deliver the speech at the State Opening of Parliament.

William Pitt put forward, as the King was incapacitated, Parliament should appoint a Regent of their choice, however Charles James Fox believed that George, son of the King should automatically become Regent.

On the 3rd February 1789, Parliament was opened by an illegal group of Lords Commissioners, to discuss George’s position as Regent, but before it was passed, the King recovered, and the act became invalid.

In 1794, George cast aside his illegal wife Maria, for the Countess of Jersey.

On the 8th April 1795, George the Prince of Wales married Princess Caroline of Brunswick at the Chapel Royal at St.James Palace.

The marriage was a disaster from the beginning, both not suited to each other, and separated after the birth of Princess Charlotte in 1796.

The Prince remained with Maria Fitzherbert for most of his life…

In 1804, a dispute arose between George and Caroline over custody of Princess Charlotte, and the court stepped in and placed her under the care of the King.

In 1810, Princess Amelia, youngest daughter of George III died, sending him into bouts of madness.

The Regency Act of 1811, granted George to become Prince Regent with limited powers on the 5th February.

On the 29th January 1820, George Augustus Frederick, ascended to the English throne, upon the death of his father; King George III.

George, accused his wife Caroline of adultery and high treason, but his attempt failed on the 17th August 1820, when it was withdrawn.

George knew it was her right as his wife, to stand side by side at the coronation and be crowned Queen of England.

George excluded her from being present at his coronation, she would never be Queen.  The public humiliation was too much for her to bear, and she attempted suicide.

She administered to herself milk of magnesia plus laudanum, and slowly slipped away over the next few weeks claiming the King had poisoned her.  Caroline died on the 7th August 1821 at Brandenburg House and was buried at Brunswick Cathedral, and inscribed upon her coffin; “Caroline the injured Queen of England.”

On the 19th July 1821, George Augustus Frederick, was crowned King George IV of England at Westminster Abbey.

Prince George was now King George IV after living in his father’s shadow, and Regent for the last nine years.  He acted as King, but without the title and power.

King George IV was extravagant.  John Nash built the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, of Indian Gothic style, and undertook improvements to Buckingham Palace.

The King had charm; the first gentleman of England.  His way of life earned him contempt by his people, and the prestige of the monarchy lost its appeal with his subjects.

Lord Liverpool, Prime Minister during George’s reign as Regent then King, for a man who lived life to the full.

His subjects were angered by his extravagant spending, when Britain was involved in the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1828, the Duke of Wellington became Prime Minister, he who had taken on Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo and won.

The Catholic Relief Act was passed in 1829, which allowed Catholics to become Members of Parliament.  Initially rejected by the King, but with encouragement, passed by the Prime Minister; the Duke of Wellington.

On the 26th June 1830, King George IV died at Windsor Castle, and was buried at Windsor.

Hanover King: George III

George William Frederick, was born on the 4th June 1738 at Norfolk House, St.James Square, London to parents Frederick, the Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

On the 25th October 1760, George ascended to the English throne upon the death of his grandfather; King George II.

This eligible bachelor sought out a wife and Queen, to assist him running his new kingdom.  On the 8th September 1761, King George III of England married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  This proved to be a happy marriage, and unlike previous kings, he never took a mistress.

The couple had the following children:

George, the Prince of Wales (1762-1830)

Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany (1762-1827)

Prince William, the Duke of Clarence (1765-1837)

Charlotte, Princess Royal (1766-1828)

Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent (1767-1820)

Princess Augusta Sophia (1768-1840)

Princess Elizabeth (1770-1840)

Prince Ernst, the Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851)

Prince Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex (1773-1843)

Prince Adolphus, the Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850)

Princess Mary, the Duchess of Gloucester ( 1776-1857)

Princess Sophia (1777-1848)

Prince Octavius (1779-1783)

Prince Alfred (1780-1782)

Princess Amelia (1783-1810)

On the 22nd September 1761, George was crowned King George III of England along with his new wife, Queen Charlotte at Westminster Abbey.

In 1762 George purchased Bucking House, later known as Buckingham Palace, home to England’s monarchs.

The Earl of Bute is appointed Prime Minister, and in 1763 negotiates the Treaty of Paris, which ends the Seven Years War, which caused patriotic outrage amongst colonists in North America.

In 1764, George Grenville, Prime Minister of Britain introduced the Stamp Act, to raise revenue in British America.  In 1765 tax was levied on official documents, plus the introduction of tax charges, with tea carrying an exception.  The act caused much opposition in America.  This act was removed in 1766, but left much distrust in the colonies.

In 1770 George III, appointed Lord North as Prime Minister, for he was known as an effective administrator, but his government was dominated by constant disagreements with American colonists, in attempting to levy taxes upon them.

In 1772 he introduced the Royal Marriage Act; no member of the Royal family was permitted to marry, without the approval of the then Sovereign.

On the 16th December 1773, colonists protested by throwing chests of tea into Boston harbour, we know it now as the “Boston Tea Party.”

In April 1775, the relations between Britain and her American colonies would lead to the outbreak of war: The American War of Independence.

On the 4th July 1776, American Congress passed the Declaration of Independence; America’s case for freedom.

In 1781, British forces were defeated by American and French forces at the Battle of Yorktown, forcing a devastated North to resign his post as Britain’s Prime Minister.

On the 3rd September 1783, the Treaty of Paris recognises America’s Independence.

From 1783-1801 William Pitt serves as England’s new Prime Minister.

In 1788, King George III has an attack of porphyria, one of insanity, and his son, George the Prince of Wales had to step in and assist, becoming temporary Regent of England.

During his reign George suffered a number of attacks; 1788-1789-1801-1804, but the worst by far was in 1810, when he became permanently deranged.  He spent the last ten years of his life, in a fog of insanity, blind and deaf.  Death would have been a welcome release for him.

Princess Amelia daughter of King George III, his youngest and favourite died in 1810, aged twenty-seven, following many years of ill health, distressed George so much.  Maybe this was the final straw in his prolonged bouts of madness, and why he didn’t recover as he had done from previous attacks.

On the 14th July 1789, a revolution broke out in France, as the Bastille was stormed.

This violent upheaval towards the end of the 18th century, was caused by bankruptcy, high taxes, hunger and poverty, and the kings lack of authority.

On the 21st January 1793, King Louis XVI was sent to the guillotine, which sent shockwaves through Europe.

In 1798 Income Tax was introduced.

Britain was at war with France once again, and Nelson destroys the French Fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, plus French and Spanish Fleets off Trafalgar in 1805.  In 1809, British forces defeat the French at the Battle of Corunna, and in 1814 defeat Napoleon at Laon and Toulouse.

On the 18th June 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated by British and Prussian armies at the Battle of Waterloo.  He surrenders to the British on the 15th July and dies on the 5th May 1821, as a prisoner on the island of St.Helena.

In 1807, the Slave Trade Act is introduced by William Wilberforce, which saw the abolishment of slave trading throughout the British Empire.

In 1811, George, the Prince of Wales becomes Regent of England, as King George III was no longer fit to reign.

In 1815, Parliament passed the Corn Laws Act, protecting British agriculture from cheap imports.

Queen Charlotte died on the 17th November 1818 at Kew Palace in the presence of her son, Prince Regent; George the Prince of Wales, and on the 2nd December 1818 is buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor.

On the 29th January 1820, King George III died at Windsor Castle, and was buried at Windsor.

Hanover King: George II…

George Augustus was born on the 30th October 1683 at Herrenhausen, Hanover to parents George I and Sophia Dorothea.

On the 2nd September 1705, George Augustus married Caroline, the daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg, and they had the following children:

Frederick, Prince of Wales

Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

Princess Amelia

Princess Caroline

Prince George William

Prince William, Duke of Cumberland

Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel

Louisa, Queen of Denmark and Norway

In 1708, George Augustus leads the rearguard of Hanoverian Cavalry, during the War of Spanish Succession, when Hanover, Britain and Austria go to war against France.  The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, brought about peace with France.

In 1714, Frederick, the son of George Augustus was privately tutored in Hanover, whilst the family lived in Britain, at the request of George I.  Thus all relations between Frederick and his father broke down; they were like passing strangers in the night.

When King George I died, his son made the decision not to attend his father’s funeral in Hanover, showing to the people of Britain, where his heart belonged.  Truthfully his reason was more likely they didn’t get on when he was alive, due to the imprisonment of his mother.

On the 11th June 1727, George Augustus ascended to the English throne, and was crowned King George II of England, on the 11th October at Westminster Abbey.

It was expected, that George would dismiss Walpole and replace him in his government with Sir Spencer Compton.  However, after intervention by Caroline his wife, Walpole remained, for he held a majority in Parliament, and instability should be avoided at all costs.

In 1728, Frederick the Prince of Wales, came to England and took his place in Parliament, at the request of his father and King.

Frederick fell in love with Anne Vane, maid of honour to the Queen.  She was established in Grosvenor Street, and gave birth to a son; Fitz-Frederick Vane, and accepted by the Prince.  He had an affair, with a commoner, much to the disgust of his father.

On the 27th April 1736, Frederick married Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.  The long standing friction between father and son continued.  He excluded his parents, from attending the birth of his child on the 31st July 1737.  George replied by banishing him and his family from the Royal Court.

King George II attempted many times to take Britain to war in Europe, but Parliament stepped in many times pulling him back.

Walpole demanded that Britain stay out of the war brewing in Poland of 1733, over succession leaving Hanover to go solo; German states were victorious.  Yet George won the right a few years later, as Britain was dragged into the war of the Austrian succession in 1740-1748.  Britain achieved nothing; thousands dead and dying.

On the 20th November 1737, Queen Caroline died and was buried at Westminster Abbey, leaving George distraught, for he had lost his love.

In 1742, Walpole resigned his office after twenty years of service in government, as his support had eroded.

On the 23rd July 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, who went by other names; Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender, landed in Scotland, as he united the clans, a last ditch attempt to put a Stuart on the throne.

On the 21st September, the Scots were victorious at the Battle of Prestonpans.  On the 8th November, they crossed the border into England, capturing Carlisle, Manchester, Preston and Derby.  Then they came face to face with the Duke of Cumberland and his forces, who drove them back across the border and back into Scotland.

The final battle was at Culloden on the 16th April 1746, a crushing defeat for the Scots and a resounding victory for the English.

In the January and February of 1751, Frederick the Prince of Wales, had been designing his garden at Kew, caught a chill which developed into pneumonia.  On the 8th March he attended the House of Lords, and on the 20th March was seized by a coughing fit, and died before his wife could reach him.

The Seven Year War, commenced in 1756 when Britain declared War on France, based on the French threat upon the lands of Hanover.  Upon its conclusion, Britain’s growth and lands increased, with the seizure of French territory in North America, India, Caribbean and Spanish Florida.  Under William Pitt as England’s Prime Minister.

Robert Clive wins the “Battle of Plassey” in 1757, securing the Indian province of Bengal for Britain.

General Wolfe captures Quebec from the French in 1759, and British supremacy in Canada is assured.

On the 25th October 1760, King George II dies at Kensington Palace, and is buried at Westminster Abbey.  With instructions, that one side of each coffin, his and his wife’s be removed, so their remains could mingle in death… an act of true love.

Hanover King: George I

The Hanoverian era began, after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, who died without leaving a heir.

Her successor, was supposed to be Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth of Bohemia, the daughter of James I, who would continue the Protestant Stuart line.  This was not to be, for she died a few weeks earlier than Anne.

Parliament had sought to block any claim by the Catholic James Edward Stuart, by making George successor after his mother; Sophia of Hanover. 

George was born on the 28th May 1660 at Osnabruck, Hanover to parents Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick, Elector of Hanover, and Sophia Stuart, the granddaughter of James I of England.

George married Sophia Dorothea of Celle in 1682, and she bore him two children; George who became his successor, George II and Sophia who went on to marry Frederick William of Prussia.

Sophia Dorothea angered her husband, by having an affair with Phillip von Konigsmarck, a Swedish count.  The relationship became public knowledge, forcing George I to divorce his wife on the grounds of adultery, then banished her to Castle Ahlden on the 28th February 1695, where she lived out the rest of her life, partly in luxury, but incarcerated in her prison.  She died on the 13th November 1726, and was interred in the family crypt in the Old Church at Celle in May 1727.

As for her lover, Phillip von Konigsmarck, he had angered George I, so what happened to him?

Ernst August, Sophia’s father-in-law, ordered the arrest of Phillip von Konigsmarck, and during the exchange, one guard was injured and Konigsmarck lost his life.  His body was hidden, under the floor of Leine Palace, covered in quicklime to speed up decomposition.

On the 1st August 1714, George ascended to the English throne, and on the 20th October 1714, was crowned King George I of England at Westminster Abbey.

King George I could barely speak the English language, so communicated with his ministers in French.  For most of his reign, he resided in his homeland of Hanover, Germany.

King George I, relied much on his ministers, when it came to dealing with Parliament.  Robert Walpole, Lord of the Treasury, James Stanhope the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Charles Townsend the Secretary of state.

In 1715, the Jacobite uprising began in Scotland.  They were not happy with the British crown going to a Protestant, and demanded that the exiled “Old Pretender” James Edward Stuart heir to James II, be crowned King.  The rebellion was quashed at the “Battle of Sheriffmuir.”   16,000 Jacobites were beaten by 8,000 soldiers of the union.

In 1717 Robert Walpole resigned from the Government, as the national debt rose to £50 million.

In 1718, the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) was killed, and the threat of piracy was reduced.

In 1720, the stock market crashed, “South Sea Bubble” thousands of investors ruined.  George was governor of the South Sea Company, and was accused of aiding in the mismanagement of the company.  Robert Walpole came to his assistance.

In 1721, Robert Walpole is appointed as First Lord of the Treasury, a post he retains until 1742.

In 1722, Walpole leader of the Whigs, and head of an anti-war government, pushes his point through Parliament, and is dubbed “Prime Minister” in action without title.

He moved the government debt into a sinking fund, and created a policy of war avoidance and promoted trade and industry.

On the 11th June 1727, King George I of England died at Osnabruck in Germany, and was buried at Leineschlosskirche, Hanover.