George III

Article

July 5, 2022

George III (born George William Frederick; London, 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820, Windsor Castle) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801 (Great Britain having been created by the union of 1707); he then became King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also Prince-Elector of Hanover within the Holy Roman Empire then King of Hanover from October 12, 1814. He was also King of Corsica from June 17, 1794 to October 19, 1796. George III was the third monarch of the House of Hanover but unlike his two predecessors or even his father the Prince of Wales, he was born in Britain and his mother tongue was English. His reign and his life were marked by a series of conflicts involving much of Europe and territories as far as Africa, America and Asia. At the beginning of his reign, Great Britain, at the end of the Seven Years' War (1756 – 1763), became the dominant power in North America and India. Then a rebalancing of the powers took place after the war of independence of the United States, which saw thirteen of the American colonies enter into revolution and acquire their autonomy in 1783. The rest of his reign was marked from 1793 by successive wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France which ended with the defeat of Napoleon I in 1815. Towards the end of his life, George III suffered from recurrent and then permanent insanity. His doctors did not know the cause of the disease and were unable to help the sovereign; modern specialists judge that he suffered from porphyria or bouts of manic-depressive psychosis. Following a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established and his eldest son, George of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. When the King died in January 1820, he ascended the throne as George IV. The judgment of historians on the balance sheet of the reign of George III and his personality has evolved over time. He was relatively popular during his lifetime with the people, but reviews of his reign were generally negative until the middle of the 20th century. Modern historians view him more benevolently due to the events of his reign (wars, economic crises) and his illness.

Early Years

Birth and Baptism

George was born at Norfolk House in London on June 4, 1738; he was the second child and first son of Prince Frederick of Wales and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. As George was born two months premature and was unlikely to survive, he was baptized the same day by the Bishop of Oxford, Thomas Secker. A month later he was publicly baptized at Norfolk House, again by Secker. His godparents were King Frederick I of Sweden, Duke Frederick III of Saxe-Gotha and Princess Sophie-Dorothée of Hanover.

Childhood and education

George suffered no scars from his premature birth and grew up healthy, even though he was a shy and reserved boy. His family settled in Leicester Square where George and his younger brother, Edward Augustus, were educated together by private tutors. Family letters show that he could read and write in English and German, and comment on the political events of the time when he was only eight years old. He was the first British monarch to study science, including chemistry and physics; in addition to lessons in mathematics, astronomy, French, Latin, history, geography, commerce, agriculture and law, he received lessons in sports, dance, fencing and horse riding. His religious education was exclusively Anglican. Crown Prince