The preliminary work on the Timelines of the Regency Era has now been presented. 50 years of happenings, events, births and deaths of prominent figures. It is not over. There are probably a good thousand more events to be recorded. In fact, at this point only those details through 1802 have been added into the Timeline.
The rest takes a great deal of editing, as well as searching and placing the graphics. The first years of 1787 to 1801 can all be found at Regency Assembly Press’ Timeline page
There are a lot of pictures shown there. It will add to your visualization of the Regency. But now, what to include in my daily posts. For months now we have had something new every day, and by the number of hits we are not getting, there is a small following.
Soon we will have an Edwardian Timeline, but for now, Regency Personalities is something I have thought to start on.
Today, the first king of our period, George III. Much of this is work I did for the English Historical Fiction Authors, of which I am a member of.
George William Frederick
June 4 1738 to January 29 1820
George III was the grandson of George II. He was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland until 1801 When this became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He also became King of Hanover in 1814 (when he was mad-suffering from porphyria which would give the semblance of madness), before that he was Duke and Prince Elector.
The longest lived monarch and the longest reigning king. (Though the last years he was mad and his son was Regent) He came to the throne at the age of 22. He was rather a play boy before settling down with Charlotte. First he was in love with Lady Sarah Lennox, and then Duchess Sophie Caroline Marie. With Charlotte, George had 15 children. Nine sons and six daughters. (George IV and William IV, two sons that succeeded him as King)
In 1762, George purchased Buckingham House, now the site of Buckingham Palace. It was a family retreat. They lodged in Kew, Windsor Castle and used St. James Palace for official functions.
By the time he came to the throne, the royal lands produced little income. He made money for the family through taxation and excise duties. He turned over the Crown Estate in return for an annuity. Half of which he donated to charity.
Extremely well educated and rounded, he was very well prepared to become King. He started his reign on a roll, with victory in the Seven Years War. He is also responsible for losing the American Colonies. Then before his madness took over completely, things were not going well in the wars against Napoleon. France had grown to a giant Empire under his last years of sanity, and only once he was mad did Britain turn the tide and emerge victorious.
Throughout his reign, George was closely allied with Pitt the Younger. And this made Pitt’s political Enemy, Fox become allied with George the IV. One of George III’s first bouts with porphyria may have happened as early as 1765, but another episode in 1788 brought on the first Regency crisis. The bull had passed in the House of Commons, but before the Lords could adopt it, George recovered.
On May 15th, 1800, James Hadfield shot at George in the Drury Lane Theatre. Hadfield failed and George took a nap during the interval. By the time that the last bout of porphyria overtook him and the regency came to place, he was virtually blind from cataracts. When Charlotte died in 1818, he had no idea what had occurred because of his condition.
The family was so large that his fifth son, Ernest Duke of Cumberland said, ‘Nothing in my eyes is so terrible as a family party.’
A closer look at his reign no longer faults him for the loss of America, and now that the disease tied to his madness has been diagnosed and understood, he is not looked at so harshly.
Horace Walpole tells how George III went riding in the fields near Holland House everyday before he finally did wed Charlotte. Even during the time he was infatuated with Lady Sarah. And whilst doing so, a ‘Fair Quaker’ named Hannah Lightfoot was in the field.
‘She appeared every morning at Holland House, in a field close to the great road (where the King passed on horseback) in a fancy habit making hay.
Thackery wrote that she was
‘Making hay at him.’
After the revolutionary war was all done, George said to John Adams as President
‘I wish you, Sir, to believe, that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do by the duty which I owed my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.’
(DWW-My thoughts. Long winded, perhaps, but this is the true start of our special relationship.)