George IV ruled only 10 years as his father lived for an extended period. George IV is better known as the Prince Regent as he acted for his father during his periods of "madness". This extended period was called the Regency which left its impact on English fashions, furniture, and architecture. George IV finally ascended to the thrones of Great Britain and Hanover, as King George IV, on January 29, 1820, and was crowned on July 19, 1821. His estraingment from his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, resulted in the most notorious royal sacandal since Henry VIII. George and Caroline had only one child. The differences between the king and queen made further children imossible. Princes Charlotte was born January 7, 1796. King George IV's often flagerent imorrality was in sharp contrast to the rule of his niece Victoria who gave her name to a periuod of suposed moral rectitude.
George III (1738-1820) was one of the longest reigning British monarchs--reining for an incredible 60 years. He is one of the best known English kings to Americans as he was king at the time of the American Revolution and played an important role in it. He is also well
known for the mental illness he suffered in the later years of his reign.
George fell in love with Sarah Lennox, a descendent of Charles II, but the Earl of Bute persuaded him to bring the relationship
to and end and instead arranged for him to marry a German princess, Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz. During their marriage
Queen Charlotte gave birth to fifteen children. It may indeed seem strange for an English monarch to marry a German woman,
but there were multiple reasons. The first was that if George married someone from another kingdom, he would improve
relations with that kingdom, and possibly gain more power. The second was that in fact George himself was partially German.
George The Third was actually the first member of his family who was not more German than English.
King George III and Queen Charlotte had an impressive 15 children.
George Augustus Frederick (1752-1830) was created Prince of Wales in 1762. As a little boy he wore identical dresses to his sisters. As was the custom at mid-18th century, once he was old enough to graduate from dresses, he wore small editions of the clothes worn by his father.
The Prince of Wales could not have been more different than his father--the plain living "Farmer George". He was known by the syncopants who he kept around his as 'Prinny'. He loved luxury and beautiful things--the more delicate and the refined thebetter. George as Prince of Wales became notorious for his profligacy and extravagance and was best remembered for these years as Prince of Wales. During that time he was a great patron of arts, but led an immoral life. He secretly married Maria Anne Fitzherbert, but had to divorce because she was Catholic. He then married his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick in 1795. When he tried to divorce Caroline, she was so enthusiastically supported by the public that her trial had to be abandoned.
George IV lived during tumultous times, although he was Princ of Wales and not King for most of that time.
The American Revolution (1776-83) was followed by the even more tulmultous French Rvolution (1789). Britain has a constitutional monarchy, but still opposed the new French Republic, especially after Louis XVI was guilotined in 1793.
The French Revolution soon gave way to the Napoleonic Empire. Napoleon's armies conquered virtually all of Europe. Even Russia for a time was under his sway. For a time only Portugal backed by Wellington' army resisted the French. AFrench invasion was possible until Wellington smashed the allied French-Spanish fleet at Trafalgur (1805). The danger from Napoleon, however, did not end until Waterloo (1815).
Prior to his oficial mairrage, George secretly married 28 year-old widow Maria Fitz Herbert when, as a virtuous Catholic, she refused to be his mistress. The marriage, however, was never acknowledged because her religion prevented an open marriage. The 1701 Act of Settlement prohibited the succession of a Catholic to the throne. English society was well aware of the marriage and accepted it. The Prince of Wales certainly had no interest in the sedate married life that his father enjoyed. He was by all accounts was a handsome man and he had an eye for the ladies. In this he appears to have adorded beautiful women much as he enjoyed beautiful pieces of art. George IV eventually married Caroline of Brunswick. The couple soon came to despise each other andlived apart. George eventually tried to divorce her and was determined that she never be crowned queen.
Prior to his oficial mairrage, George secretly married 28 year-old widow Maria Fitz Herbert when, as a virtuous Catholic, she refused to be his mistress. The marriage, however, was never acknowledged because her religion prevented an open marriage. The 1701 Act of Settlement prohibited the succession of a Catholic to the throne. The marriage was illegal in accordance with the terms of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. English society was well aware of the marriage and accepted it as long as it was not anounced publically.
The Prince also had numerous mistresses. The Prince of Wales had no interest in the sedate married life that his father enjoyed. He was by all accounts was a handsome man and he had an eye for the ladies. In this he appears to have adorded beautiful women much as he enjoyed beautiful pieces of art.
The divorce case of King George IV and Queen Caroline is one of the most dramatic and scandalous affairs of the 19th century. It was the first attempt by a British king to divorce his wife since Henry VIII. Queen Caroline was fortunate to live in more civilized times. The Prince was prevailed on by Parlimentarians to marry his cousin Caroline of Brunswick. Parliament promised to pay off his enormous debts. Caroline and the Prince of Wales were not well matched. They married (1795). Princess Caroline had a daughter, but then separated and the two lived separtely for the rest of their lives. The Prince of Wales accused her of giving birth to an illegitimate child (1806). Legally that was still treason. The Princess was found innocent by an inquiry commission. The Prince initiated furtur legal proceedings (1818). The only people who publicallu supported Caroline were Henry Brougham and his brother James. George became king (1820). Caroline demanded her place and status as queen. George wanted an elaborate coronation as was terrified that the Queen would spoil the event. Feorge took legal action to pervent her from obtaining the status of Queen. The case was argued before the House of Lords. Most of Lpndoin thought the Queen guilty, but the evidence was circumstantial. Brougham served as the Queen's lead attorney. The charges were eventually dropped when it became clear that they would not pass. Brougham gained great fame for representing the Queen. She died, however, before George's cornanation (1821).
George became prince regent in 1811. He served as Prince Regent for his blind and deranged father, George III. The pleasure-loving, extravagant Prince Regent gave his name to that exuberant style known as Regency, a neo-classical style based on Greek rather than Roman models, with some Egyptian and Chinese influences, as well. The Prince Regent might have been flamboyant, dissipated, and selfish, but he was also a discerning patron of the arts. His taste in literature was impressive. He was a fan of Sir Walter Scott's work and Jane Austen's work. He bought the paintings of John Constable, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and other English artists. He supported the founding of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. In fact, the Gallery's portico came from the Prince's residence, Carlton House, in Pall Mall. He commissioned the architect, John Nash, to build Buckingham Palace. He also set about renovating Windsor Castle. In short, the Prince's aesthetic sensibilities and his enthusiasm for the arts served to make the Regency period a time when
literature, art, and architecture flourished. This combination of danger, as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, and culture is what made the Regency Era so intriguing. George's service as Prince Regeant was a relatively brief 9 years. The wider era in which the styles we now know as the eRgency or the Empire Period in France really encompass the period from about 1790 to 1830. This was a particularly important period in boys' fashions as was in this period beginning in the late 18th century that the idea of specialized children's clothes became firmly established.
George IV socialized with a circle of aristocrats who took great pride in how they dressed. They styled themselves Corinthians and formed the Four-In-Hand Club. Beau Brummel was the most famous of the dashing young men of the Regency. He was not of artistocratic birth, but was drawn to the upper class life style. He was forced to leave England and died a pauper in Paris.
He finally ascended to the thrones of Great Britain and Hanover, as King George IV, on January 29, 1820, and was
crowned on July 19, 1821. His marriage to Caroline of Brunswick proved troubled, and the couple parted amid accusations of infidelity. When George refused to allow
Caroline to attend his coronation, he lost much of his popularity. George ruled until his death in 1830. He was know as "Prinny". Although his reign was notable for the granting
of political rights to Catholics, but was best remembered for his imoral life as Prince Regent.
George IV as Prince Reagent and King was a stroing supporter of the arts. He commissioned buildings, employing the best architects of the day, especially John Nash. He amassed large debts building and improving palaces, monuments and parks. He is most associated with the outrageous Brighton Pavilion an imaginative folly inspired by his passion for all things oriental. It was a costly endulgence and Parliament eventually demanded it be sold to help pay for Queen Victoria's expansion of Buckingham Palace.
George and Caroline had only one child. The differences between the king and queen made further children imossible. Princes Charlotte was born January 7, 1796. She appears to have been quite a head-strong young woman. She refused to marry the husband her father chose for here. Instead she mairred the dashing German, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg on May 2, 1816. She tragically died in childbirth of a stillborn son on November 6, 1817, eventually resulting in Queen Victoria inheriting the throne. Leopold was thus denined a life among British loyals. While in England, however, he managed to build relationships that would help him act as a match maker for the Princess Victoria and his cousin Prince Albert.
George IV ruled from 1820-30. As Princess Charlotte, George's only child, died in 1817, George was succeeded by his brother who ruled as William IV. After his short reign, the daughter of another brother, Victoria succeeded to the throne.
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