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"George I and II were largely disliked in Britain since they were seen as too foreign and too fond of Hanover. George III had the opposite problem, and despite reigning for, like, ever, he never visited Hanover."
History Matters, "Why did Britain lose Hanover?"

The royal dynasty that ruled Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1901. Victorian Britain and Queen Victoria get separate entries, since Victoria spent so long on the throne. King Edward VII and his successors (The House of Windsor) have their own pages, and are not Hanoverians (instead being of Queen Victoria's Prince Consort Albert's house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) due to the whole male succession thing.

The dynasty originated from the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg (also known as Hanover, after the ruler's residence when it became an Electorate), in what is now essentially the German state of Lower Saxony.note  The House of Hanover then was the younger branch of the House of Brunswick, which is descended from the medieval House of Welf (Anglicized: Guelph), who in turn were the senior, German branch of the House of Este (whose origins lay in Lombardy—that is, the area around Milan). Their first dynastic contact with Britain happened in 1168, when Duke Henry the Lion married Matilda, daughter of King Henry II of England. Since the House of Hanover was officially called the House of Brunswick-Luneburg (Braunschweig-Lüneburg), it is no surprise to see a large number of New World places named "Brunswick" or "New Brunswick", including a Canadian province (New Brunswick, founded 1784), towns in New Jersey (New Brunswick, founded 1714) and Georgia (Brunswick, founded 1771), and a suburb of Melbourne (Brunswick, founded 1846) even though the city of Brunswick lay outside the German realms of the monarchs.

On a less-lofty note, the Hanover dynasty were notably large of frame, with all the Hanoverian monarchs being at least somewhat on the hefty side at some point in their reigns; in some circumstances it made them look regally portly, but in other circumstances...well...just look at what we have to say about George IV below. Also, we should note here that it was a grand Hanoverian tradition for the Hanoverians to get into personal disputes and pissing contests with their eldest sons; this had a few lasting effectsnote  but more importantly the disputes are often hilarious in hindsight.

George I of Great Britain
Lived: 28 May 1660 — 11 June 1727
Reigned (in Britain): 1 August 1714 — 11 June 1727
Full Name: George Louis (Georg Ludwig)
Parents: Ernest Augustus, Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg-Calenberg, later Elector of Hanover and Princess Sophia of the Palatinate
Consort: Duchess Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Celle

George I (German: Georg) did not become King of Great Britain and Ireland until the age of 54, and had possibly less interest in ruling the country than any other actual monarch before or since (Richard the Lionheart, would maybe be his only competition in that regard). During his early life, he'd served in the wars against Louis XIV of France, for which he was made a prince-electornote  and the hereditary (and purely ceremonial) arch-treasurernote  of the Holy Roman Empire. George married his first cousin, Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Celle, for her huge tracts of land (to wit, the adjoining duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg-Celle) and an accompanying income of 1,000 thaler per year; this marriage was engineered by George's mother, who was famously shrewd at arranging strategic marriages for her children and other relatives, even if both bride and groom had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the marriage. As it happened, George and Sophia Dorothea was chief among Sophia of Hannover's arrangements where the couple were all but frog-marched down the aisle. Thus (to nobody's surprise, except perhaps George's mother), the marriage was a bad one, and Sophia Dorothea was suspected of cheating on George. Her supposed lover was murdered, possibly with George's knowledge, and after the ensuing divorce she was placed in a Luxury Prison Suite for the rest of her life. He never remarried, but had numerous mistresses, two of whom became known to the British people as "the ugly one" and "the fat one". He is Britain's only monarch between Elizabeth I and Edward VIII to not take a consort throughout his reign.

Ascended to the dukedom of Hanover in 1698 on the death of his father. The removal of Catholics from the line of succession to the British throne (56 of them were ahead of his family), and the death of the incumbent first-in-line, rather unexpectedly placed his mother Sophia—a granddaughter of James I—as heir presumptive to the reigning Queen Anne. Sophia was hardly young and died in 1714, just before Anne herself. George found himself heir and headed for the United Kingdom, but got stuck for a while at The Hague due to wind problems.

George, not having been anywhere near close to succeeding to the British throne until during his late forties, did not speak English, found communication with his British ministers difficult, and generally preferred Hanover to Britain anyway. Therefore, during his reign, Parliament became the dominant body in British government and the first "Prime Minister" (a title not yet in formal existence) emerged, Robert Walpole.

The South Sea Bubble

Proving that speculation is nothing new...

The South Sea Company held a monopoly on English trade with South America, particularly the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which was really getting going at this time (one of the effects of the War of the Spanish Succession was that Britain obtained the asiento, the exclusive right to sell slaves to Spanish colonies). The company was granted this monopoly by promising to finance England's ever rising national debt racked up after years of uninterrupted global warfare. The monopoly, unfortunately, was much less profitable than expected, so the company changed gears and ran what could be considered a proto-Ponzi scheme to make up for the cash difference.

Thus, the company bought a large portion of the British national debt and begun selling shares by the thousands. Engaging in practices that were distinctly dodgy to drive up the price, such as bribery, paying people to buy shares, and "selling" shares to politicians. The politicians didn't actually pay for them and then sold them back, thus increasing the share price. There were also increasingly ludicrous rumours profits being circulated by Company shills, including for a time, one Daniel Defoe.

Other companies joined in. (Some choice example are the company for inventing a wheel for perpetual motion, capital one million, and the notorious company "for carrying on an Undertaking of great Advantage; but nobody to know what it is." The proprietor of the latter company raised the then-huge sum of two thousand pounds in one day, and promptly skipped town.) In fact, mania for stock trading was at such a fever pitch that the South Sea Company, fearing that these new stocks would divert the needed funds required to hold up the scheme, had the government shut many of them down for attempted fraud.

By 1720, the price had reached its peak and people were selling en masse. Those who had bought shares on credit saw the price collapse and many ended up bankrupt. The banks had to write off a load of debt they could not get back. Parliament was recalled, investigated and found massive fraud going on. This was not the first "bubble"note  and it certainly wasn't the last. The UK still have not completely paid off all of the South Sea debt to this day.

King George was not directly involved, but the government became rather unpopular as a result.

George was often ridiculed in England for his wooden mannerisms and supposed inability to speak English (he handled royal business in French, and may have picked up the language later in life),note  but by and large, contemporary accounts held him to be a better choice than the Stuarts. His treatment of his wife did however embitter his son against him, starting a tradition among the Hanovers and Wettins/Windsors of father-son animosity that lasted until the reign of Edward VII. He died on a visit to Hanover, and was buried there, making him the last British monarch not to be buried in England.note 

All surviving descendants of his mother Sophia (and, therefore, the entire pool of potential heirs to the British throne) are also his descendants, as of all her other children only her daughter Sophia Charlotte also had issue, a son, who married George's daughter.

George II of Great Britain
Lived: 30 October 1683 — 25 October 1760
Reigned: 11 June 1727 — 25 October 1760
Full Name: George Augustus (Georg August)
Parents: King George I and Princess Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Luneburg
Consort: Princess Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach

Perhaps best known for the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie marched a Scottish army as far as Derby before turning back and being defeated at Culloden.

George was also the last British monarch to lead an army in battle (at Dettingen, in 1743), at the age of 60 no less.

Also, Britain reformed its calendar in 1752, omitting eleven days to switch from the Julian to Gregorian calendars, and also changing the start of the new year from 25 March to 1 January. The second of September was followed by the fourteenth, and dates were referred to as Old Style or New Style according to which calendar was being used. Most of the Continent had switched some time ago.

The song that became the UK's national anthem, 'God Save The King', was written and first performed during George II's reign – and remains used to this day.

As a point of trivia, Georg August was not only the last British Monarch born outside of Englandnote  but the last hereditary ruler of Hanover to be born any closer than Berlin.

In Germany he is primarily remembered for founding the University of Göttingen (known to this day as the Georg-August-Universtiät or Georgia Augusta), one of the most modern and innovative of German universities in the 18th century.

His wife and consort, Caroline of Ansbach, is considered to have been one of the most powerful and beloved of modern royal consorts. Wise, compassionate, and devoted to her faith, Caroline turned down the Catholic King of Spain (and Holy Roman Emperor) to marry George, then merely a minor Protestant German princeling. It was a rare love match for a royal; they were quite devoted to each other. As Princess of Wales and Queen she was beloved by not just Hanoverians but Jacobites as well, who (despite their religious differences) saw her as a voice of moderation, compassion, and reason. As an ally of Robert Walpole she had a great deal of influence on her husband and on the government of the day, but this was seen mainly in a positive light even by Walpole's opponents.note  Her early death in 1737 left both the country and George bereft. Paradoxically, George was both a devoted husband and notorious philanderer; all of his mistresses were cleared with his wife beforehand.note  He sincerely loved Caroline and her death was an enormous blow: when she begged him on her deathbed to remarry after she was gone (for reasons both personal and political), George insisted none could replace her as his wife and queen with the tearful cry, "Non, j'aurai des maîtresses!" ("No, I shall have mistresses!").

George and his eldest son Frederick, the Prince of Wales, carried on the Hanoverian tradition of mutual dislike between father and son. When George's ship was feared lost in a gale in the North Sea, Frederick held a dinner party in celebration. Caroline's early deathnote  was attributed by George to the rage she felt at Frederick over the stunt. Luckily for George (and possibly the nation—as shown by his charming reaction to reports of his father's possible death, Frederick was something of a piece of work) Frederick predeceased his father.

George's death was itself one of the more interesting royal deaths in British history. Being, like most members of his dynasty, rather a large man, with the wholly unhealthy diet characteristic of the 18th-century European upper classes, we shouldn't be too surprised that he died of heart disease (specifically, his right ventricle had ruptured as a result of an aortic aneurysm). However, the chain of events leading to it is darkly amusing: after finishing his morning hot chocolate, the King went to the loo to conduct his morning labours (did we mention that on account of the aforementioned awful diet, he had chronic constipation?), and a few minutes later his valet heard a crash. Yes, George II died taking a shit.

George II was buried at Westminster Abbey beside Caroline of Ansbach, making him the last British monarch to date to be entombed there. Eventually living to the age of 77, George was to this point the longest-lived monarch the land had ever seen. As holder of this record he was succeeded, as on the throne, by:

George III of the United Kingdom
Lived: 4 June 1738 — 29 January 1820
Reigned: 25 October 1760 — 29 January 1820
Full Name: George William Frederick (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich)
Parents: Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Consort: Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Nicknames: Farmer Georgenote ; Mad King George

"I glory in the name of Britain".

You know the mad King in Bridgerton or The Madness of King George, or the hot King in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story? Yeah - that's this guy.

The grandson of George II (his father Frederick, Prince of Wales having died young, as mentioned above), George III came to the throne aged just 22, and went on to become both the longest-lived and longest-reigning sovereign in British history by this point. The first Hanoverian to have been born in England and raised speaking English, he in fact never visited Hanover in his long life. Unlike his two predecessors, who were mostly interested in their German territories, George's attentions were firmly fixed on Britain; at his coronation speech, he famously proclaimed, "I glory in the name of Briton".note  He nevertheless also accepted the principle of constitutional monarchy; his occasional fights with Parliament were rarely all that contentious, and although he experimented with trying to control the government from outside the Cabinet he was never fully invested in that and gave it up as a fool's errand after the end of the American War of Independence. He took a personal interest in agriculture (fitting, given that Britain's Agricultural Revolution reached its height during his reign), and wrote pamphlets on agriculture under the pseudonym Ralph Robinson. These interests earned him the popular appellation "Farmer George".

Four major events happened during his reign: the American and French Revolutions, the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland (1800), and The Napoleonic Wars, after which the electorate of Hanover was upgraded to a kingdom. Since George was content to let Parliament run things most of the time (particularly when the Tories were in charge), it's best to just read those articles for further information.

A perhaps atypically-successful family man for a British monarch, George and his queen Charlotte had a happy marriage (despite first meeting only on their wedding day, when he was already King) and 15 children, of whom eleven lived to the age of at least 60. He was also a remarkably relaxed king, preferring to live in the countryside and much more informally than many of his more traditional courtiers would like; Queen Charlotte agreed with him, going on walks through country towns with him without any servants. A man of great personal piety (spending hours in prayer daily) and morality (never taking a mistress and never drinking to excess, and abhorring the womanizing, boozing, card-playing habits of his father—whom he tried to avoid, per Hanoverian tradition—as well as his brothers and, later, his sons), he is generally remembered as a good king in Britain.

The Americans have a more complex perspective, but even then most historians believe him to be Mis-blamed—he only had a significant role in the American crisis after the Boston Tea Party (which was beginning of the revolt's turn toward anti-monarchical sentiment), at which point his support for a military response was just one of several trump cards the hawks in Parliament had over the doves. It's worth noting that after the USA achieved independence, he commented that "I was the last person to consent to the separation [of America and Britain], but I will be the first to accept the friendship of the United States as an independent power." (We should also note that until very shortly before the beginning of the War of Independence, many Americans liked him too—and they liked his wife even more: both Charlotte, North Carolina and Mecklenburg County in which it sits are named for her. Ironically, the city became known as a "hornet's nest of rebellion" during the War of Independence.) He opposed Catholic Emancipation, but only because he believed it would violate the coronation oath he took to 'defend the [Protestant] faith'.

Sadly, he is also remembered for going periodically and eventually, permanently insane (the most likely speculations have been either from a medical condition known as porphyria or from bipolar disorder, but more than two centuries later, it's still a Riddle for the Ages), leading to...

The Regency (1811-1820)

In 1811, it was thought best that His Majesty, having lost the ability to perform the functions of his office (this was not the first time, but this time he did not recover), should be quietly removed from power. His son, the Prince of Wales (Prinny), took over and was the first "Prince Regent" for the next nine years. (It should be noted that from the Civil War onwards, Parliament had been growing in power - over the last century or so it had blossomed. Prinny, thankfully, did not have all that much power.)

The setting of a million historical romance novels. It's something about the tight trousers.

George IV of the United Kingdom
Lived: 12 August 1762 — 26 June 1830
Reigned: 29 January 1820 — 26 June 1830
Full Name: George Augustus Frederick (Georg August Friedrich)
Parents: King George III and Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Consort: Caroline of Brunswick, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Nicknames: Prinny; The Beau of Princes; The Prince of Whales note 

Prinny officially got the job in 1820. Once known as the First Gentleman of Europe (mainly because he dressed well and bathed regularly: his devotion to the dress and hygiene habits of Beau Brummell are responsible for popularising Brummell's understated, clean-cut look and fixed the essential standards of taste for men's fashion—good fabric, a simple, elegant cut, dark colours—to this day), he had largely degenerated into an obese Dirty Old Man (one of his less uncomplimentary nicknames before he became King was the "Prince of Whales") whose main preoccupation was depriving his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, of her rights as queen. The obesity may have contributed to the Brummell "look", as George favoured dark colours (because they were slimming), trousers (because they were looser than breeches and thus concealed his fat legs), and high collars (because they concealed his double chin) that went well with Brummell's signature cravat.

As for the wife, George barred her from his lavish coronation and she died just a few weeks later. She is the last British Queen to date to predecease her husband. His only legitimate child and heir, Charlotte, had died in childbirth in 1817, so he spent the next couple of years watching his brothers scramble to marry and produce a viable heir of the next generation. He himself never remarried after he was widowed in 1821, though he was free to do so and (as King) could theoretically marry any (Protestant) woman he wishednote , because by that point the succession had been secured with the births of a number of nieces and nephews, including the future Queen Victoria.

He was widely seen as a lazy, amoral wretch who lived only to eat and drink; by the time he ascended to the throne, he had grown too fat and lethargic even to womanize. One courtier said of him, "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." This from a friend.

He lived about the same time as Napoléon Bonaparte, and hence was there to see his rise and fall. The Napoleonic Wars, understandably, raged through his years as Regent. Britain's defeat of Napoleon (most notably at Waterloo under The Duke of Wellington) is definitely something he tried to take credit for—even though nothing of it can really be attributed to him.

The only remotely noteworthy aspect of George IV's reign was his about-face on the Catholic Question: after being very supportive of Catholic emancipation earlier in his life (and secretly marrying one), George publicly announced his opposition to the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 (which gave Catholics the vote). Fortunately, Parliament forced it through anyway - probably due to his opposition.

Upon his death, The Times entirely subscribed to Speak Ill of the Dead and eulogized him with the line,"there never was an individual less regretted by his fellow-creatures than this deceased king...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." (Continuing our theme of mutual dislike between Hanoverian monarchs and their parents, it should surprise nobody that before he lost his mind, George III found his son and heir a dissolute and thoroughly distasteful wastrel, and George IV thought his father a boring, pompous old git.)

The King's Cross area in London and its major railway station is specifically named after him. It stems from a large statue of his likeness that was built in 1835, was instantly despised by the day's art and architecture critics, and was demolished less than a decade later.

A number of early Charles Dickens works are actually set during this time, including Little Dorrit and The Pickwick Papers. Also, he was a bit into studying birds and subscribed to Audubon's famous The Birds of America series.

William IV of the United Kingdom
Lived: 21 August 1765 — 20 June 1837
Reigned: 26 June 1830 — 20 June 1837
Full Name: William Henry (Wilhelm Heinrich)
Parents: King George III and Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Consort: Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Nickname: Sailor Billy

"Sailor Billy", as he was known, was actually the third son of George III (the second son Frederick, or the literal Grand Old Duke of York, had died some years previously). As such, he was sent into the Navy where he proved to everyone's surprise a thoroughly competent officer; none other than Horatio Nelson wrote of him, "In his professional line, he is superior to two-thirds, I am sure, of the [Naval] list; and in attention to orders, and respect to his superior officer, I hardly know his equal."

In the civilian world William was notorious for his casual manners, including his preference for walking as opposed to being driven in a royal carriage. He shocked society by openly living with his mistress (who was—shock horror!—an actress and—double shock horror!—(Protestant) Irish to boot) and acknowledging their ten children - one of whom was the maternal ancestor of future Prime Minister David Cameron. He also sparked controversy with his political activities, first forcing his father to raise him to a dukedom by threatening to run for the House of Commons,note  then as the Duke of Clarence and St Andrews attacking government policies in the House of Lords. While no-one could have predicted he would become King years later, none of this seemed appropriate for a royal. Funnily enough, all of this—except for the political stuff—would be seen as preferable or at least not particularly objectionable in a monarch today (even the openly living with the mistress bit, although today we would simply expect the monarch to marry her and not some random foreign princess and have done with it), but at the time it was not universally agreed he was an improvement on his brother (many opted for "both awful").

After Princess Charlotte's death, he married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in a double ceremony with his brother Prince Edward, who married Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (the mother of Queen Victoria). It was a happy marriage, though Adelaide couldn't produce the coveted heir, giving birth to two daughters, one who died shortly after birth and one who lived only four months, and two stillborn boys. Although there were no further confirmed pregnancies after 1822, Adelaide became something of the Jennifer Aniston of her day, with rumours swirling that she was with child well into her husband's reign, which the King always dismissed as "damned stuff"; she did, however, become a loving stepmother to William's nine surviving illegitimate children. Because of her tragic history of childbirth and personal piety and modesty (and for taming her husband), Adelaide was very popular with the British people; when the new colony of South Australia was established in 1836, they named its capital city Adelaide after her.

Having no legitimate children of his own, he was quite fond of his heir, Edward's only child Victoria, as was Adelaide. Victoria's mother, the widowed Duchess of Kent, didn't appreciate this affection, and repeatedly snubbed William and Adelaide socially, overtly due to the household of illegitimate children she refused to let Victoria have contact with; she also refused to allow Victoria to attend William's coronation. William was offended by these insults to himself, his family, and his wife, and towards the end of his life infamously told the Duchess of Kent in front of an entire banquet hall full of people at Windsor Castle that his main goal now was only to live long enough to see his niece's 18th birthday, as he thought her mother "surrounded by evil advisers and (...) incompetent to act with propriety" in the case of a regency government. He did. By 27 days.

It was in William's reign that the Reform Act of 1832 was passed (extending the franchise to poor men and fundamentally weakening the power of the House of Lords, probably helping to avoid the fireworks that broke out on the Continent a decade later). His reign also saw the enactment of laws against child labour (although not banning it entirely), the abolition of slavery, and the first state provisions for the poor were made.

William IV is of interest for another reason - he remains the last British monarch to actually use his "reserve powers" without the permission of Parliament, in this case by appointing a Prime Minister against Parliament's will. This wasn't the flourish of remaining monarchical authority it seemed, though, since he actually didn't do this of his own accord but in response to a request from other powerful political figures. Even in the 19th century, though, the political fuss this act caused showed just how much the reality of the monarch as 'ruler' had been shattered.

Queen Adelaide
Lived: 13 August 1792 — 2 December 1849
Full Name: Adelaide Amelia Louise Theresa Caroline
Parents: Duke George of Saxe-Meiningen and Princess Louise Eleonore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Spouse: King William IV
Title: Her Majesty Queen Adelaide

The daughter of German nobility, Adelaide's marriage to William was a purely political act. During the final years of George III's reign, given his mental health issues, his eldest son and hair apparent George IV acted as regent, and it was expected that his daughter Princess Charlotte would succeed him as Queen. However, Charlotte would tragically die during childbirth, alongside her son, years before either her father or grandfather did. As George III didn't have any other legitimate grandchildren, in order to avoid a succession crisis, the rest of his sons quickly tried to find wives.

Having known each other for only a week, Adelaide and William were married in a double ceremony with William's younger brother Edward to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Despite these conditions, and Adelaide being more than 20 years William's junior, the two of them fell in love, with Adelaide becoming a kind step-mother to his illegitimate children. In fact, William refused to take any mistresses after his marriage to Adelaide, and it was noted that her presence helped made him a calmer and more respectful individual.

With George IV's death, the Crown befell William, with Adelaide becoming Queen.

Victoria of the United Kingdom
Lived: 24 May 1819 — 22 January 1901
Reigned: 20 June 1837 — 22 January 1901
Full Name: Alexandrina Victoria note 
Parents: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Consort: Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Nicknames: The Grandmother of Europe; The Widow of Windsor; Mrs. Brown note 

William IV outlived both of his legitimate children, so when he died the Crown came to his niece, Victoria. (Hanover itself, meanwhile, passed out of personal union with Great Britain and into the hands of William's younger brother Ernest Augustus, as the throne of Hanover couldn't be inherited by a woman.) Her reign was long and eventful; she became both the longest-lived British sovereign (the third time this had occurred in the last five monarchs) and longest-reigning monarch in British history, only surpassed in either category by Queen Elizabeth II.

As one of Britain's most famous monarchs, much more information is found here: Queen Victoria, Victorian Britain, and Victorian London for more on this period.

Her eldest son, Edward VII, marked the beginning of The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (from the house name of Prince Albert), known today as The House of Windsor.

She continued the grand Hanoverian tradition of bad blood with a parent—not with her father (who died before her first birthday) but her mother, whom she found at once distant and controlling. Her relations with her son were also somewhat strained at times, as for the life of her she could not understand his love of Society or his constant demands for official royal duties. That being said, Albert Edward did love his mother deeply, and Victoria's relationship with Albert Edward was the probably the most cordial of the relations between monarch or heir apparent and child since the relationship between Charles I and his sons.

(And for the sake of completeness....)

Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
Lived: 5 June 1771 — 18 November 1851
Reigned: 20 June 1837 — 18 November 1851
Parents: King George III and Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Consort: Duchess Frederica of Mecklenburg, Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

The fifth son of George III, he was sent to Hanover in his youth for education, military training, and to get him away from the influence of the heir. By 1793 had received a lifelong facial scar on the front lines of The War of the First Coalition, and was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale six years later. Of course his time on the continent helped develop his authoritarian-bordering-on-absolutist arch-conservative political views, which made both his familynote  and the British public very uncomfortable. Add this to scandals up to and including actual interference in the elections for a seat in the House of Commons, and it's no surprise that he was the least popular of the seven sons of George III (including George IV). He moved to Berlin with his new wife (twice widowed, the second time conveniently after meeting Ernest) in 1818, but being happily married upon the death of his only legitimate niece gave him a real chance at the British throne.

His return to Britain in the late 1820s (The House of Commons would only increase his allowance if his young son was being reared locally) heralded his return to politics including fierce opposition to Catholic Emancipation, rumors of him siring a child on his sister Princess Sophia, and loose talk from the Orange Order Lodges he had backed for years shunting aside first-in-line heir Victoria of Kent in favor of the Duke of Cumberland.

"Leave, before you are pelted out."

It is not likely that The Duke of Wellington said this to the face of the late King William's brother after the Anglo-Hanoveran Union of the Crowns ended in 1837, but the Duke of Cumberland was not a popular man in Britain and the populace of Hanover would have preferred passing him over in favor of the current Viceroy had the Hanoveran heir's younger brother Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge not refused outright to lend himself to such a thing. Tellingly, one of the first things King Ernst August did was suspend a constitution that was passed under King Wilhelm and dissolving the Hanoveran Parliament convened under itnote  on the basis that he was not consulted and it undercut the power of the monarch. This and his high-handed response to several protesting professors at his old alma mater of Göttingen University (the "Göttingen Seven", which included both of The Brothers Grimm) met with yet more hostility from his birthplace.

On a different note, he made no opposition to Catholic or Jewish emancipation in Hanover itself. He saw the pledges to protect the Anglican Faith his house took upon gaining the British throne did not apply to the continental domains. While he avoided bloodshed during the widespread 1848 revolutions, Ernst August did finally cave and pass a new constitution a few years before his death at age 80.

George V of Hanover note
Lived: 27 May 1819 — 12 June 1878
Reigned: 18 November 1851 — 20 September 1866
Parents: King Ernest Augustus of Hanover and Duchess Frederica of Mecklenburg, Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Consort: Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg

Born in Berlin and spending most of his formative years in Britain, he was 18 when he arrived in Hanover as the new Crown Prince... and completely blind due to childhood illnesses. His father had some hopes of getting him married off to his first cousin Victoria of Kent with an eye toward reuniting Great Britain and Hanover in the next generation, but that did not work out. Ernst August did override all attempts to set his only living child aside from the Hanoverian succession due to his blindness and instructed his son in the art of rulership.

It ultimately did not go well.

Georg V's 15 year reign was plagued with conflict between the crown and parliament, ending with a dispute over whether to stay out of the 1866 Austro-Prussian war. He won and sided with his Viennese ally... then was forced to flee with his family to Austria and found himself formally deposed when Prussia overran the outmatched and strategically vulnerable North German kingdom. He died in Parisian exile twelve years later.

The House of Hanover, in the shape of Georg's grandson Ernst August, eventually made up with the House of Hohenzollern, the ruling dynasty of Prussia, which had meantime unified Germany, in 1913. Ernst August married Kaiser Wilhelm II's only daughter Viktoria Luise and at the same time was made reigning Duke of Brunswick (the duchy had been administered by regents following the death of the last male heir of the elder line of the House of Brunswick). But during World War I the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917 stripped the House of Hanover of their titles of nobility in UK. In 1918 Ernst August was forced to abdicate in the course of the November Revolution, and the new Weimar Republic then abolished all German titles of nobility, including those of the House of Hanover. Some of the family members would go on to support the Nazis in 1930s, only to to turn against them in 1940s, as many German nationalists did, and wound up in concentration camps by the end of World War II for their troubles.

Georg's descendants are still around. His current heir, Ernst August Prinz von Hannover, is married to Princess Caroline of Monaco. If he chose, he could apply to the UK Privy Council to have the dukedom of Cumberland returned to him.

Depictions in fiction

  • The Madness of King George
  • Blackadder The Third takes place during the Regency of George IV, played by Hugh Laurie as an Upper-Class Twit. His butler is Edmund Blackadder, who eventually arranges to Kill and Replace his master. George III also appears in the last episode of the series.
  • Pride and Prejudice
    • All of Jane Austen's works were written during this time, with various references to the political climate—including some veiled shots at the Prince Regent. (Prinny was known for inconveniencing the public with expensive and pointless construction projects, and the fact that unsympathetic Austen characters often talk of "improving" their estates in pointless and spendthrift ways are likely references to that.) It's also worth noting that the future George IV was a fan, and had dropped some heavy hints that he wanted her to dedicate a novel to him. Austen, who deeply disliked the Prince Regent, nevertheless acquiesced by dedicating Emma to him "by His Royal Highness's dutiful and obedient humble servant, The Author." Many Austen scholars have interpreted the wording of the lengthy dedication to be something of a Take That!.
  • The 1979 eight-episode BBC series Prince Regent, with Peter Egan as Prinny, Nigel Davenport as George III, Susannah York as Mrs. Fitzherbert, and a very young Patsy Kensit as a small Princess Charlotte.
  • Any work taking place in The Napoleonic Wars, though those stories tend to focus on the fighting as opposed to the Hanover dynasty. That said, Horatio Hornblower meets George III, seems to be acquainted with the Duke of Clarence (as William IV was before becoming King) note  and gets knighted by the Prince Regent, while Richard Sharpe also meets the latter.
  • George I appears quite predominantly in Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle along with a few of his full-time Hanoverian ancestors. George I got roundly mocked for being rather dim (thankfully, not quite as dim as his inbred quasi-moron ancestors) and being overly interested in agriculture. It's only the female Hanoverians who measure up to Stephenson's standards.
  • In works surrounding The American Revolution, you can expect George III to be mentioned frequently, but remain unseen. Since such works almost invariably side with the Patriots, this basically amounts to playing him as a Greater-Scope Villain. The Patriot (2000) is a typical example. However, there are examples in which he does appear:
    • In the 1924 silent film America, he's played by Arthur Donaldson in a couple scenes. The intertitles characterize him by saying that he "believed in personal rule" and "looked upon America as a rebel colony of Englishmen who wanted more liberty than he thought was good for them."
    • Tom Hollander plays a rather good George III in a well-regarded scene in John Adams, where the title character presents his credentials as the first US Ministernote  to Great Britain. (The script is apparently taken practically verbatim from the Palace's detailed notes of the audience, but the dry text is given life by Hollander's performance as the King and Paul Giamatti's performance as Adams.)
    • George III is portrayed as a cartoonish villain in two of Schoolhouse Rock!'s America Rock segments. He appears most prominently in "No More Kings" and has a cameo in "Fireworks".
    • He has three songs in Hamilton, which are all basically breakup songs with the colonies. He's the only prominent character in the play who is portrayed by a white actor. The songs are also in a drastically different style from the rest of the show (being more traditional show tunes, as opposed to the other songs, which owe more to hip hop/rap and R&B/soul) and the character himself is written as being a bit goofy, so the effect is one of comic relief (especially after some of the intense rap battles between Hamilton and Burr). In the original Broadway production, George is portrayed by Jonathan Groff.
    • In Liberty's Kids, he's voiced by Charles Shaughnessy of The Nanny fame.
    • OverSimplified's take on the American Revolution portrays George III as an egotistical buffoon.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel features George IV when he was Prince of Wales. He is a close friend of Sir Percy Blakeney.
  • Jack Sparrow was brought before George II himself in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
  • Along with the few years before and after the coronation of Queen Victoria, The Young Victoria depicts the last days and death of her uncle and predecessor, William IV (played by Jim Broadbent).
  • The Royal Diaries includes the installment Victoria, May Blossom of Hanover, which covers several months of Victoria's youth as princess and heir apparent. George IV, William IV, and Queen Adelaide all appear; so does Victoria's beloved maternal uncle Leopold, who was Happily Married to George IV's only child Charlotte. Charlotte died prior to Victoria's birth, but Victoria frequently mentions her "cousin-aunt" (they were cousins because their fathers were brothers, but Charlotte was also Victoria's aunt by her marriage to Leopold).
  • The Netflix period drama Bridgerton and its prequel Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is set in a far more racially diverse Alternate Universe version of England during the Regency and the broader Georgian era. The diverse casting is explained by the fact that in this story's telling, Queen Charlotte herself is a mixed-race woman (which in itself is based on the tenuous link between Charlotte and her very distant ancestor, Madragana, who was purportedly Mozarab) and who therefore encouraged the ennoblement of people of colour.
  • HRH The Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, is one of the main characters in The Irregulars. In-series, as per Real Life, he suffers from haemophilia and feels trapped by his family's protectiveness, but him feeling compelled to run away from the Palace to join a street gang of paranormal investigators is, of course, pure fiction.
  • Hark! A Vagrant: George IV You Are Too Fat To Be King
  • The Crown: George V of Hanover's great-grandson Ernst August (played by Daniel Betts) appears in Season 1 Episode 3 ("Windsor"), in which he attracts the mild distaste of his Windsor relatives by having attended a shooting feast at Dickie Mountbatten's estate at Broadlands shortly after the death of George VI in 1952—a distaste quickly overlooked when he informs Queen Mary that Prince Philip's Uncle Dickie had been toasting the "Royal House of Mountbatten" with champagne.
  • George II was played by Richard Harris 1990 film adaptation of King of the Wind.

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