George IV was King of Great Britain, Ireland, and Hanover from 1820 - 1830. He was the son and successor of his father, George III. Though he officially reigned for only ten years, he actually ruled longer than that, as he served as Prince Regent during his father's mental illness and final years.
George IV was admired for his impeccable style, fashion sense, and for his charm and culture, earning him the nickname "First Gentleman of England." However, his poor relationships with his family members, mistreatment and attempted divorce of his wife, obsesity and extravagent lifestyle made him a target of mirrored contempt, especially from the common people.
|Full Name||George Augustus Frederick IV|
|Who||King of Great Britain|
|Birth Date||August 12, 1762|
|Death Date||June 26, 1830|
|Born||London, England, UK|
|Died||Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK|
|Cause of Death||gastrointestinal bleeding / cancer / gout / many others|
|Father||George III of England|
|Mother||Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz|
|Spouse||Caroline of Brunswick|
William IV of the United Kingdom
Edward, Duke of Kent & Strathearn
Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
Frederick, Duke of York & Albany
Charlotte, Princess Royal
Amelia of the United Kingdom
Augusta Sophia of the United Kingdom
Mary, Duchess of Gloucester & Edinburgh
Elizabeth of the United Kingdom
Octavius of Great Britain
Sophia of the United Kingdom
|Children||Charlotte of Wales|
George was baptized as an infant by Thomas Secker.
George's honorary godparents were William, Duke of Cumberland (who was his great-uncle twice removed), and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, his grandmother.
George's relationship with his father, King George III, was strained. While George III was a conservative ruler, his son was the opposite. The elder George was horrified by his son's extravagent spending, lavish lifestyle, and many mistresses.
George was a supporter and friend of Charles James Fox and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
At the age of 21, in 1783, George - who had previously been a wild playboy with numerous casual mistresses - fell in love for the first time. He became fascinated by Maria Fitzherbert, who could not have been any more unsuitable. First of all, Fitzherbert was a commoner. She was also six years older than him, had been widowed twice, and was a Roman Catholic. Despite all of this, George was determined to marry her. He would have been well aware that this could never happen, due to several factors. Firstly, there was a law prohibiting the spouse of a Catholic from ever taking the throne. Secondly, there was another law that said that any member of royalty had to be granted consent of marriage by the King. Thirdly, even if these laws had not been in place, the King could have easily had the marriage announced invalid by the Pope. George and Fitzherbert performed a marriage ceremony in secret anyways, in 1785. There was nothing valid about it, but Fitzherbert was unaware of this, and thought herself to be the prince's legal wife. He instructed her to keep their "marriage" secret for political reasons, which she promised to hold to. Shortly afterward, the prince was plunged deep into debt due to his extravagent lifestyle, and was forced to live with Fitzherbert at her humble house. This brought about rumors that the two were secretly married, which would have caused a political uproar, halted any future marriage options, and possibly led to George being removed from the succession. They were rumored to have had a son together in 1786. In 1787, parliament offered to forgive George's debts. George accepted, and also instructed his friend Charles James Fox to announce that his marriage to Fitzherbert was false and simply a rumor. Fitzherbert was enraged to hear that their union was being called a lie, and also soon learned that it was in fact invalid. Furious, she threatened to end their relationship entirely. However, George convinced her not to do so by having another political friend, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, restate Fox's delivery in a more gentle tone. Afterward, even though they could never marry, Fitzherbert and George stayed in a relationship, even after George married his queen in 1795. Apart from several periods of seperation, Fitzherbert and George were together for the rest of their lives.
William Pitt the Younger was a colleague of George, though he did not approve of his rambunctious antics as a prince. While considering making George the regent for the king when his mental health declined, Pitt was against the idea, which George was offended by.
George was arranged to marry his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, by his father. However, George disliked Caroline, and refused. The king then said that he would not pay off George's staggering debts unless he married her. And so, in 1795, George and Caroline were married at St. James' Palace. Their marriage was a disaster, and both of them strongly disliked the other. After the birth of their only child, Charlotte, in 1796, they formally seperated. George was known for treating Caroline poorly. He refused to acknowledge her as queen or allow her to participate in his coronation, and had her name removed from the Book of Common Prayer. He sought a divorce from her on the grounds of her affair with another man, but was warned that it would be a politically bad move. In 1821, Caroline died, and many suspected her to have been poisoned.
Shortly after being crowned king, George visited Scotland in 1821. His trip was organized by Walter Scott.
One of George's early mistresses was Mary Robinson, an actress, who offered to pay her a handsome sum to leave her husband and become his mistress. Initially, she declined, but was later convinced to do so. George ended the relationship in 1781, but refused to pay her the amount that they had agreed upon. In return, Robinson threatened to sell the letters that George had written her to the press, which secured her a generous pension.
Other mistresses of George included Grace Elliott, Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness Conyngham and Anne Barnard. He was rumored to have had a son with Barnard.
George's most prominent mistress, aside from Fitzherbert, was Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey. George and Villiers began their relationship in 1793. While George was 31, Villiers was a 40 year old grandmother who had already given birth to ten children. But this did not affect the power that she held over George, even convincing him to step away from his "wife" Fitzherbert in 1794. Villiers encouraged George to accept his arranged marriage to the queen Caroline in 1795, most likely for George's own good and to save him from possibly risking the throne. She then became a bitter enemy of Caroline, however, and aided George in making her life at court miserable. Villiers ran George's household, and much of his life, for years, and her hold over him was known and feared. However, her relationship with George ended in 1803, and she had no part in the royal court after that.
George was painted by many artists, including Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence, and David Wilkie.
George was an early admirer of Jane Austen, who was at the time considered fashionable but controversial. He invited her to visit him at his Palace, while still the prince. Upon meeting Austen, he asked her to dedicate a copy of Emma to him, which she did. He then instructed his librarian to give her the plot of a new "perfect novel" that she was to write next. Austen would later say that she had greatly disliked George.
George's colleagues and courtiers included Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, Francis Rawdon Hastings, Robert Jenkinson, Beau Brummell, John Nash, George Canning, F.J. Robinson, and many others.
How Added - Through an author that he admired, Jane Austen.