When Queen Anne died childless, England turned to Germany for a
Protestant heir. George’s mother Sophia was the daughter of the Princess Elizabeth, the oldest daughter of King James I of England. Queen Anne had dozens of heirs closer than George but England would have a Protestant king.
Unfortunately, King George I, the Protestant heir, could only speak German. George brought with him to Great Britain his mistress, Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg. She was so tall and scrawny that she was nicknamed “the maypole.”
Ehrengard became George’s mistress while a Maid of Honor to his mother. They had three daughters who married well. George Louis succeeded as Elector of Hanover in 1698 and King of Great Britain (as George I) in 1714. He left his wife whom he had divorced in 1694 for adultery in prison in Hanover.
After they arrived in England, Ehrengard was heaped with honors, including titles of Marchioness in the Irish peerage and Duchess in the British peerage. Finally, she was created Princess of Eberstein by the Holy Roman Emperor. Rumor had it that she and King George were actually married. She never married anyone else. She did, however, keep a raven she believed to be the dead king.
George I’s son George was his successor when he died in Hanover of a stroke in 1727. George II had fallen in love with his wife (Queen Caroline) prior to their marriage but he kept a mistress, Henrietta Howard, for more than 10 years simply because he thought it was expected of him. He saw her once a week and they played cards or whatever behind a locked door. She was discarded several years before his wife died when she became deaf but she was happy enough because her husband had been a gambler and wife-beater and the King had given
her a good settlement. On her deathbed, King George’s wife advised him to remarry but he told her he would keep a mistress. That mistress was Amalie von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth who remained with him until is death in 1760. When he died, she returned to Hanover where she lived until her death five years later.
George II outlived his son and heir Frederick. Frederick’s son would reign as George III. He was secretly rumored to have married Hannah Lightfoot who died prior to his marriage to Charlotte. This would certainly have destroyed the succession. Otherwise, George and his wife encouraged appropriate behavior of the nobility and set the example themselves.
Next week, George IV gets a whole page to himself. He was very naughty. Rita Bay