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Sunday, 13 October 2013

English Monarchs: George IV's Marriages

King George IV "Prinny" was a controversial figure in British history. As a young prince he fell in love with an older Roman Catholic, Maria Fitzherbert, and married her in secret. The marriage was soon discovered by his father George III and dissolved under the Royal Marriages Act which would not allow a marriage without the consent of the king. By his early 20's Prinny had become a profligate gambler, drinker and deeply in debt. He finally fulfilled his obligations and married Caroline of Brunswick in 1795 with pressure from his father who would only help him with his outrageous and ever mounting debt if he agreed to the marriage. Although the two were very ill suited they produced a daughter, Princess Charlotte, in 1796 and promptly separated. He did have his own following, but most of British society sympathized with Caroline.
By 1811 Prinny's father George III was deemed unqualified to continue his reign due to an ongoing bout of madness caused by porphyria. He was appointed Regent at this time and continued to rule in this vein until 1820 when he ascended the throne when George III died. One of the greater political follies he made was denouncing the Catholic Emancipation Bill for Ireland which he had originally strongly supported.
By the end of his life, George was a laughing stock and suffered from many health issues and illnesses. He rarely appeared in public and became a recluse. He died at Windsor castle on June 26, 1830. Although he was touted one of the most infamous rulers of England he did leave England with a few of its more well recognized architectural structures, including Buckingham Palace and Brighton Pavilion.

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