George III of the United Kingdom

"George III" redirects here. For other uses, see George III (disambiguation).
George III
Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young George in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.
Coronation portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762
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Reign 25 October 1760 –
29 January 1820
Coronation 22 September 1761
Predecessor George II
Successor George IV
Regent George, Prince Regent (1811–20)
Prime Ministers
Born 4 June 1738 [ N.S.] [c]
Norfolk House, St. James's Square, London
Died 29 January 1820(1820-01-29) (aged 81)
Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire
Burial 16 February 1820
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
Spouse Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (m. 1761; d. 1818)
Issue
Detail
Full name
George William Frederick
House Hanover
Father Frederick, Prince of Wales
Mother Augusta of Saxe-Gotha
Signature Handwritten "George" with a huge leading "G" and a curious curlicue at the end

George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 [c] – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire until his promotion to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors he was born in Britain, spoke English as his first language, [1] and never visited Hanover. [2]

His life and with it his reign, which were longer than any other British monarch before him, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence. Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In the later part of his life, George III had recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On George III's death, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV.

Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended heavily on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them. [3] Until it was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century, his reputation in the United States was one of a tyrant; and in Britain he became "the scapegoat for the failure of imperialism". [4]

Early life

Conversation piece in oils: Ayscough dressed in black with a clerical collar stands beside a settee on which the two boys sit, one wearing a grey suit the other a blue one. He holds a sheet of paper; the boys hold a book.
George (right) with his brother Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, and their tutor, Francis Ayscough, later Dean of Bristol, c. 1749

George was born in London at Norfolk House. He was the grandson of King George II, and the eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. As Prince George was born two months prematurely and he was thought unlikely to survive, he was baptised the same day by Thomas Secker, who was both Rector of St James's and Bishop of Oxford. [5] One month later, he was publicly baptised at Norfolk House, again by Secker. His godparents were the King of Sweden (for whom Lord Baltimore stood proxy), his uncle the Duke of Saxe-Gotha (for whom Lord Carnarvon stood proxy) and his great-aunt the Queen of Prussia (for whom Lady Charlotte Edwin stood proxy). [6]

George grew into a healthy but reserved and shy child. The family moved to Leicester Square, where George and his younger brother Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany, were educated together by private tutors. Family letters show that he could read and write in both English and German, as well as comment on political events of the time, by the age of eight. [7] He was the first British monarch to study science systematically. Apart from chemistry and physics, his lessons included astronomy, mathematics, French, Latin, history, music, geography, commerce, agriculture and constitutional law, along with sporting and social accomplishments such as dancing, fencing, and riding. His religious education was wholly Anglican. [8] At age 10 George took part in a family production of Joseph Addison's play Cato and said in the new prologue: "What, tho' a boy! It may with truth be said, A boy in England born, in England bred". [9] Historian Romney Sedgwick argued that these lines appear "to be the source of the only historical phrase with which he is associated". [10]

George's grandfather, King George II, disliked the Prince of Wales, and took little interest in his grandchildren. However, in 1751 the Prince of Wales died unexpectedly from a lung injury, and George became heir apparent to the throne. He inherited one of his father's titles and became the Duke of Edinburgh. Now more interested in his grandson, three weeks later the King created George Prince of Wales [11] (the title is not automatically acquired).

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a young clean-shaven George wearing a finely-embroidered jacket, the blue sash of the Order of the Garter, and a powdered wig.
Pastel portrait of George as Prince of Wales by Jean-Étienne Liotard, 1754

In the spring of 1756, as George approached his eighteenth birthday, the King offered him a grand establishment at St James's Palace, but George refused the offer, guided by his mother and her confidant, Lord Bute, who would later serve as Prime Minister. [12] George's mother, now the Dowager Princess of Wales, preferred to keep George at home where she could imbue him with her strict moral values. [13] [14]

Other Languages
български: Джордж III
brezhoneg: George III
čeština: Jiří III.
eesti: George III
Gàidhlig: Seòras III
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: George 3-sṳ (Yîn-koet)
한국어: 조지 3세
hrvatski: Đuro III.
ქართული: ჯორჯ III
lietuvių: Jurgis III
русский: Георг III
Gagana Samoa: Siaosi III
संस्कृतम्: जार्ज ३
slovenščina: Jurij III. Angleški
српски / srpski: Џорџ III
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: George III od Velike Britanije
suomi: Yrjö III
Türkçe: III. George
українська: Георг III
粵語: 佐治三世
中文: 喬治三世