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.
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 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