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King George IV (1820 - 1830)

Name: King George IV
Full Name: George Augustus Frederick
Born: August 12, 1762 at St. James Palace
Parents: George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Relation to Charles III: 4th great-granduncle
House of: Hanover
Ascended to the throne: January 29, 1820 aged 57 years
Crowned: July 19, 1821 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Caroline, daughter of Duke of Brunswick
Children: One daughter,and at least two illegitimate children
Died: June 26, 1830 at Windsor Castle, aged 67 years, 10 months, and 12 days
Buried at: Windsor
Reigned for: 10 years, 4 months, 26 days
Succeeded by: his brother William IV

George IV as Prince of Wales was Regent from 1810 to 1820 during his father’s period of insanity. He had several mistresses and in 1785 had secretly married a Catholic widow Maria Fitzherbert in contravention of the Act of Settlement and the Royal Marriage Act. He had at least two illegitimate children. Unlike his father he was extravagant with money and became badly in debt. He loved the fine things in life and undertook rebuilding of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Architect John Nash and others created many fine buildings in London, Brighton, Bath and Cheltenham during the ‘Regency Period’.

He was forced to deny his marriage with Mrs Fitzherbert and in return for paying off his debts officially marry Caroline of Brunswick whom he detested, so much so that when he became King George IV on the death of his father in 1820 he refused to let her attend his coronation. They had one child Princess Charlotte, but George refused to recognise Caroline as Queen and tried several times to annul his marriage to her. She died in 1821 claiming on her death bed that she had been poisoned.

George IV paid a state visit to Ireland but initially refused to support Catholic emancipation until 1829 when encouraged by the Duke of Wellington the Catholic Relief Act was passed. He visited Scotland in 1822, the first monarch to do so since Charles II, and encouraged by Sir Walter Scott wore full Highland regalia leading to a revival of Scottish tartan dress that had been banned after the Jacobite Rebellions.

His heavy drinking, indulgent lifestyle and taste for huge amounts of food made him obese, and he became an unpopular figure of ridicule when he appeared in public. He suffered from gout and towards the end of his life became mentally unstable. He died of a heart attack at Windsor Castle in 1830. His only legitimate daughter Charlotte had died in childbirth in 1817 and next eldest brother Frederick died in 1827 so he was succeeded by his younger brother William IV.

King George IV's Signature


‘If he ever had a friend, a devoted friend from any rank of life, we protest that the name of him or her never reached us’ – Obituary published in the Times on King George IV reflecting the public mood on the death of their king.

’Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry. When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away’ - Satirical rhyme about King George IV

Timeline for King George IV

Year Event
1820George IV accedes to the throne, having spent the last nine years as Prince Regent for his blind and deranged father.
1820A radical plot to murder the Cabinet, known as the Cato Street Conspiracy, fails.
1820Trial of Queen Caroline, in which George IV attempts to divorce her for adultery. She has popular support and the divorce proceedings fail.
1821Queen Caroline is excluded from George's coronation.
1821Michael Faraday begins his experiments with electromagnetism
1822Charles Babbage proposes his difference engine, a mechanical calculator and forerunner or future computers.
1823The Royal Academy of Music is established in London.
1823The British Museum is extended and extensively rebuilt to house expanding collection.
1823Rugby schoolboy William Web Ellis, while playing football, picks up the ball and runs with it inventing Rugby Football.
1824The National Gallery is established in London.
1825Nash reconstructs Buckingham Palace.
1825Locomotion No.1, built by George Stephenson, pulls the world's first passenger train for Stockton to Darlington.
1828Duke of Wellington becomes British Prime Minister.
1829The Metropolitan Police Force is set up by Robert Peel.
1829The Catholic Relief Act is passed, permitting Catholics to become Members of Parliament.
1830George IV dies at Windsor, aged 67.