Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Madness of King George

The king that Jeremiah Jordan opposed in my American Historical romance, ENEMY OF THE KING, was the long-lived George 111.  Great Britain had a king named George from 1714 until 1830.  Best known as the tyrant king during the American Revolution, George 111 was not directly responsible for the laws that ultimately drove the colonists to rebellion.  However, once the fires of revolution swept through the colonies, his indignant reaction to the challenge of British rule and determination to make an example of his errant subjects caused him to extend the conflict beyond all reason.  Loss of the colonies was a blow from which he never fully recovered.
Also known for his ‘madness,’ George 111 was unable to rule during periods of his reign as the result of an illness that caused mental derangement and ranting, likely a rare blood condition called porphyria.  By 1811 he was so incapacitated Parliament passed the Regency Bill, appointing his eldest son to rule as Prince Regent.  Only one monarch has ruled longer than George 111 and that was his granddaughter Queen Victoria.

On a more positive note, George 111 is also remembered for his virtuous ways and steady leadership through the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.   Affectionately called Farmer George because of his strong interests in agriculture, he was a keen gardener/gentleman farmer and interested in improving the quality of farm animals. He cultivated crops and let sheep graze on the lands around his home at Kew Gardens.
He met his wife of many years, Queen Charlotte, on their wedding day but remarkably he never took a mistress (in contrast to his grandfather and his sons) and the couple enjoyed a genuinely happy marriage.  They had 15 children.

For more on this unusual monarch, I highly recommend the movie, The Madness of King George.

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