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 next king of our period, George IV. Much of this is work I did for the English Historical Fiction Authors, of which I am a member of.
George IV ‘Prinny’
Reigned in his own right 1820-1830
Reigned as Regent 1811-1820
August 12th 1762 to June 26th 1830
Our Prinny. A short synopsis can’t really do justice. He spent money like water. He married Maria Fitzherbert in a marriage that was illegal, and he knew it. But he loved her. He had John Nash build the Royal Pavillion in Brighton and remodeled Buckingham Palace. He had Sir Jeffry Wyatville rebuild Windsor Castle. He was a patron of new forms of leisure and style and that his friendship with Beau Brummell championed new forms of fashion as well. He was instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery and King’s College. Ostentatious and an Architectural Marvel.
To get out of debt he married Caroline, and left her promptly after the birth of Charlotte. Caroline was forbidden to attend his coronation. He did try and secure a divorce from her. He had been locked into this marriage and would rather have been maried to his mistress, Maria Fitzherbert. (One should note that marrying Caroline paid off £ 600,000 at the time of his debts. A sum in the billions now.) With his father mad, a Regency was finally established in 1811 and though he was the ruler, Lord Liverpool pretty much ran England and the Empire for him during this time. He was titled ‘the first gentleman of England.’ One would say as his days of Prince that he cut a figure amongst the people, and then as Regent and later King, that earlier love dissipated.
During the war with Napoleon he did not take the effort to act as a leader, but still spent lavishly. He was influenced heavily by his favorites but curiously, where he had championed the Whigs as Prince (he was friends with Charles James Fox), as King, switched his allegiance to the Tories, those who policies were conservative and backed the monarchy.
A revisionist look at this later period sees that Prinny was neither all bad as Regent and King nor all good as the Crown Prince. He was however, a figure much larger than life.
We all think that Prinny spent a great deal on his luxuries. From Christopher Hibbert we have Prinny a compulsive spender.
‘He spent over £ 20 a week on cold cream and almond paste, perfumed almond powder and scented bags, lavender water, rose water, elder flower water, jasmine pomatum and orange pomatum, eau de cologne, eau romaine, Arquebusade, essence of bergamot, vanilla, eau de miel d’Angleterre, milk of roses, huile antique and oil of jasmine. He bought them all in huge quantities–perfumed powder was delivered in amounts of up to £ 33 at a time; toothbrushes came by the three dozen. But then he bought almost everything in huge quantities: in need of a few walking sticks, he bought thirty-two in one day.’
(DWW-remember a man could live in London, by himself with minimal servants on the very edge of the TON, on £100 a year)
He was sometimes what we would think of coarse. From GWE Russell, Collections and Recollections (1898) we have his treatment of Mrs. Vaneck.
At Mrs. Vaneck’s assembly last week, the Prince of Wales, very much to the honor of his polite and elegant Behavior, measured the breadth of Mrs. Vaneck behind with his handkerchief, and shew’d the measurement to most of the Company.
Napoleon and Caroline both perished in 1821. George heard of Napoleon’s death while waiting to hear of Caroline’s. From Lord Holland and Sir William Fraser we have the telling of the story:
‘I have, Sir, to congratulate you: your greatest enemy is dead.’
‘Is she, by God?’
(DWW-I was LOL on this. Caroline should not be treated so, but here we have a class of people who were forced to marry to maintain their class. Recourse to getting out of such disasters were hard, so they lived in a time of difficulty. A time that if we look at the current royals, some of this still lingers. But I think the remark shows some wit on the part of Prinny.)
Of Caroline, George’s wife, but by no means his Queen Consort, we have from Lady Hester Stanhope, Pitt’s niece, and lady who ran his household, after which she emigrated to the Middle East and became a champion of the Druze there, dying a debt ridden recluse in 1839 (and worthy of her own entry as a Regency Personalitiy) and recorded by Henry Colburn from her memoirs:
‘She (Caroline) did not know how to put on her own clothes, … putting on her stockings with the seam before, or one of them wrong side outwards.’