Monday’s Heroic Hunk: George IV

George IV of England was born on August 12, 1762.  He served as regent for his mentally ill father from 1811 until 1820.  He reigned as King of the United Kingdom and Ireland until his death in 1830.  George was an extravagant man in an extravagant time, the Regency.  He and his father George III (Farmer George) were unable to get along.

     He also failed to get along with his wife, whom he attempted to divorce, unsuccessfully.  As an elegant patron of style and elegance, George was disgusted by his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, who was neither stylish nor elegant. Both engaged in numerous affairs and Caroline eventually left for a long tour of Europe.  When she returned from Europe for George’s coronation, he refused to admit her to the ceremony.  She became ill and died within the month, all the while accusing George of poisoning her.  They managed to have one child together, Princess Charlotte, who died of postpartum complications after delivering a stillborn son.

Maria Fitzherbert

George had met and married Maria Fitzherbert in 1785.  She was a twice-widowed Catholic commoner who was absolutely inappropriate.  Since he was not allowed to marry Catholic or to marry without the King’s (his father’s) permission, it was not a valid marriage.  Although there may have been children from the union, none were acknowledged.  She remained his companion for much of his adult life.  He claimed several other children by various women but none openly acknowledged.

George Satirized

     George was a great builder and entertainer.  Carleton House and the Royal Pavilion at Brighton particularly reflected his sense of style.  His love of entertaining eventually led to gluttony and obesity.  His excesses and debts disgusted the English and most were glad to see him gone when he died in 1830.  He was succeeded by George III’s third son, William who reigned as William IV.  New week, THE BEAU.  Rita Bay


4 Responses

  1. Thank you again, Rita. I’d heard that George IV tended to favor those who supported his divorce by putting them in better/higher positions, and sabotaged the political aspirations of those who did not. Was there any truth to that?

    He was also rumored to change his mind quite often; to the point he’d reverse his own decisions, all depending on who had his ear at the moment. Was that an exaggeration?

    Love the post, Rita!

    • “Prinny” was not known for being an effective leader. He allowed himself to be influenced by his favorites of the day who were not chosen for their ability. Fortunately, the Crown had lost most of its power to govern after Charles II Stuart returned from exile and even more when the Hanovers came to England with George I. Even though George wanted to rid himself of his wife, the English people and the Parliament did not want the divorce. They were disgusted by George’s excesses and wanted to rein him in ut it didn’t work. Rita Bay

  2. Hmm. Not sure I’d classify Prinny as a historical “hunk” – hulk, maybe. He was a pretty loathsome individual from all I’ve read, but like modern royals, got away with a lot because of his positon .
    Excellent post, hon!

    • George IV was fairly handsome as a young prince. His gluttony made him extremely obese which made him the object of ridicule and caricature. He was famous for his creaking corsets. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by sycophants who encouraged his excessives. Like most men of wealth and position in the Regency era, society condoned behavior that would be unacceptable today. Rita Bay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: