George III (United Kingdom)

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Coronation portrait of George III painted by Allan Ramsay (1762)
Signature of George III.

George III Wilhelm Friedrich ( English George William Frederick ; born May 24th / June 4th, 1738 greg . in London ; †  January 29th, 1820 in Windsor Castle ) was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1801 , then King until his death of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland . In the Holy Roman Empire he ruled as Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg , since the Congress of Vienna as  King of Hanover (1814). He was also the last British monarch to call himself King of France as a result of the Hundred Years' War . He was also briefly King of Corsica (1794–1796) during the First Coalition War .

George was the third British monarch from the House of Hanover , but the first to be born in Britain and whose first language was English . During his reign, which was longer than that of any British monarch before him, he gained the French colonies in Canada and the French possessions in India (1763), but also lost a large part of the North American colonies in the American War of Independence (1775-1783 ). The coalition wars against France, which lasted more than two decades , ended in 1815 with Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo ; British dominance on the seven seas could also be expanded (more on this in the British Empire article ).

The second half of his reign was marked by an initially sporadic and eventually permanent mental illness . Today it is assumed that it was the result of a metabolic disorder ( porphyria ). In 1811 his mental state had deteriorated to such an extent that his eldest son had to be installed as prince regent and took over the official business. He then succeeded the throne in 1820 as George IV . Because of his relatively modest lifestyle and fondness for country life, George III received nicknamed Farmer George .

early years of life

The future King George III. (right) with his brother Edward and his teacher Francis Ayscough, painted by Richard Wilson (ca. 1749)

George was born on the morning of June 4, 1738 at Norfolk House in London . He was a member of the Welf dynasty , among his ancestors was Henry the Lion . His father was Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover , his mother was Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg . King George II was his grandfather. As Prince George was born two months prematurely and his chances of survival seemed slim, he was christened by Thomas Secker, Bishop of Oxford , that same day. A month later there was a public christening at Norfolk House, again by Secker. His godparents were King Frederick of Sweden , his uncle Duke Frederick III. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and his great-aunt Sophie Dorothea of ​​Hanover , who all sent deputies.

Georg turned out to be a healthy, reserved and shy child. The family moved to Leicester Square , where tutors taught him and his younger brother Eduard . According to letters from his family, by the age of eight he was able to read and write in both English and German and comment on current political events. He was the first British monarch to receive a systematic scientific education. In addition to chemistry and physics, his curriculum included astronomy, mathematics, French, Latin, history, music, geography, commerce, agriculture and constitutional law, as well as dancing, fencing and horseback riding. His religious education was entirely Anglican .

Friedrich Ludwig died on March 31, 1751, after which the title of Duke of Edinburgh passed to his son. The new duke was now heir to the throne and was accordingly given the title Prince of Wales . His mother distrusted her father-in-law, who had kept her husband from the royal court; for this reason Georg lived separately from his grandfather. The Earl of Bute , who later became Prime Minister , had a great influence on George's childhood .

marriage and family life

Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz painted by Benjamin West (1779)

In 1759 George was in love with Lady Sarah Lennox, sister of the Duke of Richmond , but Lord Bute dissuaded him from entering into a closer relationship with her. Georg and his mother opposed the king's plan to marry him off to Duchess Sophie Caroline Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel .

After the death of his grandfather on October 25, 1760, George succeeded him and became King of Great Britain, King of Ireland and Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Electoral Hanover"). As a result, a suitable wife was sought in the various European ruling houses. On 8 September 1761, in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace , the King married Princess Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , whom he had only met on the wedding day. Two weeks later both were crowned in Westminster Abbey . Georg never had a mistress (unlike his grandfather and his sons) and the couple appeared to be happily married. Together they had fifteen children - nine sons and six daughters. He also bought Buckingham House (on the site of present-day Buckingham Palace ) for her in 1762 as a family retreat. His other residences were Kew Palace and Windsor Castle , while he only used St James's Palace for official purposes. He rarely traveled extensively and spent his entire life in southern England. From 1789 to 1805 he vacationed in Weymouth once a year and made this small town known as one of the first seaside resorts in England.

More than a hundred years after George's marriage to Sophie Charlotte, rumors circulated that as early as April 17, 1759, he had married a Quaker woman named Hannah Lightfoot . In that case he would have been a bigamist and all children from the marriage to Charlotte would have been declared illegitimate. But it turned out that Lightfoot couldn't have been married to him at all. She had been the wife of Isaac Axelford since 1753 and died in December 1759, meaning that no children could have come from a marriage concluded in April 1759. The alleged marriage was mentioned in an 1866 court case against Lavinia Ryves, daughter of impostor Olivia Serres, who had posed as "Princess Olive". A marriage certificate presented turned out to be a forgery.

First years of rule

Mezzotint of George III, after a painting by Thomas Frye (1762)

Although politicians from all parties had initially welcomed George's accession to office, his first years in power were marked by political instability, mainly due to disagreements regarding the Seven Years' War . He favored ministers from the ranks of the loyal Tories , which is why the Whigs saw him as an autocrat . When he took office, the crown lands generated relatively little income. George relinquished control of the Crown Estate to Parliament in exchange for an annual civil list to defray expenses of the royal household and civil government. Claims that Georg used the proceeds to reward supporters with bribes and gifts have been questioned by historians. Parliament paid off debts that had accumulated to three million pounds during his reign and increased the amount of the civil list several times. George supported the Royal Academy with large sums of his own money and donated more than half of his personal income to charity.

The Music Lesson, purchased by King George III in 1762.

The most important acquisitions for his art collection were Jan Vermeer 's ' The Music Lesson ' and several Canaletto paintings in 1762 with the acquisition of the collection of his consul in Venice Joseph Smith . However, he was remembered more as a collector of books. The King's Library he founded was open to scholars and formed the basis for a new national library .

In May 1762 the Whig government of Lord Newcastle was replaced by a government headed by the Scottish Tory Lord Bute . Bute's opponents spread the slanderous rumor that he was having an affair with the king's mother and exploited anti-Scottish prejudice among the English. Member of Parliament John Wilkes published The North Briton weekly to attack Bute and his government. Wilkes was arrested for seditious defamation but managed to escape to France. He was expelled from the House of Commons and convicted in absentia. In April 1763, following the conclusion of the Peace of Paris , which ended the war, Lord Bute resigned. This allowed the Whigs to regain power under the leadership of George Grenville .

That same year, by order of George, the government issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763 , which restricted the expansion of the North American colonies west of the Appalachian Mountains . The aim of the proclamation was to force the colonists to negotiate with the native people. This should allow land purchases to be carried out lawfully, which in turn should reduce costly warfare over land disputes at the borders. The line of proclamation, as it came to be known, was unpopular with the American colonists and led to even greater alienation from the British government. Since the colonists had until then paid almost no taxes, the government found it justified to share the costs of military operations to protect against indigenous uprisings. The central concern of the colonists was not the level of taxes, but the question of whether parliament could levy taxes without the consent of the Americans, since the Americans were not represented in parliament (" no taxation without representation "). In March 1765, Grenville introduced the Stamp Act , which imposed a fee on all printed matter in the North American colonies; this should cover part of the cost. Grenville tried to limit Georg's powers. The King asked William Pitt the Elder to become Prime Minister , but to no avail. He then settled on the Marquess of Rockingham and dismissed Grenville in July 1765.

Portrait of George III of the United Kingdom Johann Zoffany (1771)

With the support of Pitt and the King, Rockingham repealed the unpopular Stamp Act. He had disagreements with the Cabinet, however, and was replaced by Pitt in July 1766, who received the title Earl of Chatham from George. Pitt fell ill in late 1767, after which the Duke of Grafton took over actual government affairs (he did not formally assume the office of Prime Minister until October 1768). Political differences led to his resignation in January 1770, restoring the Tories to power.

Georg was deeply religious and prayed for hours; his brothers did not share this piety. He was appalled at their (from his point of view) lack of morality. In 1770 his brother Henry was exposed as an adulterer; a year later he married the young widow Anne Horton. The king considered her unsuitable as a bride because she came from a lower social class and German law excluded any descendants of the couple from the line of succession to the Hanoverian throne. George insisted on a new law that would invalidate any marriage by any member of the British royal family before the age of 25 without the monarch's consent. Despite misgivings, Parliament passed the Royal Marriages Act 1772 . A little later, another brother, Prince William Henry , revealed that he had secretly married Maria Walpole , Robert Walpole 's illegitimate granddaughter, six years earlier . The news reinforced George's belief that the enactment of the law was necessary because Maria was related to his political opponents. Neither woman was ever received at court.

The government of the new Prime Minister Lord North had to deal primarily with the American independence movement . To appease Americans, all tariffs were repealed, except for the tax on tea . On December 16, 1773, members of the Sons of Liberty entered Boston Harbor and threw three cargoes of tea into the water as a sign of political protest; this event was given the name Boston Tea Party . Opinion changed in Britain and Pitt agreed with Lord North that destroying the tea was "certainly criminal". With clear support from Parliament, Lord North enacted legislation to punish the colonists. Port of Boston was closed and the Massachusetts statute changed so that the upper house of the state legislature was appointed by the crown rather than elected by the lower house.

American War of Independence

Armed conflict broke out on April 19, 1775 with the Battle of Lexington and Concord . After a final appeal to the king by the Second Continental Congress , the Palm Branch Petition , the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence contained several passages directed against the British King, the British Parliament and the British in general. It was said of George: "He abdicated here... He plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our cities and destroyed the lives of our people" ( He has abdicated Government here... He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people ). A golden equestrian statue honoring George, which had been erected in New York only ten years previously , was torn down. Although the British had an early advantage in the American Revolutionary War that followed , the tide turned after the surrender of Lieutenant-General John Burgoyne during the Battle of Saratoga on October 17, 1777.

George III painted by Thomas Gainsborough (1781)

George is often accused of stubbornly sticking to the war against the American revolutionaries, against the advice of his own ministers. According to the Victorian historian George Trevelyan , the king was determined "never to recognize the independence of the Americans and to punish their rebelliousness by indefinitely prolonging the war." inevitably turned into remorse and remorse.” Later historians, however, credit George with the fact that, in the context of the time, no king would have willingly relinquished such a large territory. His behavior was far less ruthless than that of any other European monarch in power at the time.

After the setbacks in America, Lord North asked to be allowed to step down in favor of William Pitt, believing him to be more capable. George ignored this, instead proposing that Pitt serve as a junior minister in North's government. Pitt refused to cooperate and died that same year. In early 1778, France allied with the United States and the conflict escalated. A little later, Spain and the Netherlands joined the alliance. Lord Gower and Lord Weymouth resigned from government. Lord North also offered to resign, but remained in office at the King's request. Opposition to the costly war grew and was one of the causes of the Gordon Riots in London in June 1780. After news of Lord Cornwallis' surrender at the Battle of Yorktown reached London, Lord North lost his support in Parliament and resigned in the March 1782 back. The king wrote a letter of abdication, which was never delivered. Eventually he accepted defeat in North America and gave authority to conduct peace negotiations. The Treaty of Paris , by which Britain recognized the independence of the United States and ceded Florida to Spain and Tobago to France, was ratified in 1783.

disputes with Parliament

After the collapse of Lord North's government in 1782, Lord Rockingham, a member of the Whig party, became Prime Minister for the second time, but died only a few months later. The king then appointed Lord Shelbourne as his replacement. However, prominent Whig politician Charles James Fox refused to cooperate with Shelbourne and instead demanded the appointment of the Duke of Portland . In April 1783, the House of Commons forced the Shelbourne government to resign. In their place came a coalition led by Fox and Lord North. While the Duke of Portland was Prime Minister, actual power rested with Fox and Lord North, the Foreign and Home Secretary.

The three youngest daughters of George III painted by John Singleton Copley (c. 1785)

Fox was extremely repugnant to the king, both for political reasons and because of his character. He thought Fox was unscrupulous and feared he might be a bad influence on the Prince of Wales. George was angry at having to appoint ministers who were not in his favour, but Portland's government quickly secured a majority in the House of Commons and was therefore not easily replaced. However, when Fox introduced the India Bill , Georg saw it as an opportunity to get rid of the unloved government. The planned law provided for a government reform for India, in particular the political power of the British East India Company should be transferred to a commission of the British Parliament. Although the king was in favor of tighter control of the company, the proposed commissioners were all political allies of Fox. Immediately after the bill was passed by the House of Commons, George gave Lord Temple instructions to inform the House of Lords that he would consider any peer who voted for the bill his enemy (tantamount to a social ostracism). The lords rejected the law, whereupon the king dismissed Portland's government and appointed William Pitt the Younger prime minister, with Lord Temple as foreign secretary. On December 17, 1783, the House of Commons passed a motion condemning the monarch's influence on Parliament's decision as "criminal" and forced Lord Temple to resign. Temple's departure destabilized the government. She lost her majority in March 1784 and Parliament was dissolved; subsequent elections secured Pitt a comfortable majority.

First phase of illness

Pitt's appointment was for George III. a big success. It proved that he still had the power to appoint prime ministers of his own volition, with no regard for particular groups in Parliament. George zealously supported many of Pitt's political goals. To support him, he created many new peerages to increase the number of Pitt's supporters in the House of Lords. George enjoyed tremendous popularity during and after Pitt's tenure. The population admired him for his piety and for his loyalty to his wife. He liked his children, but also subjected them to a strict school routine and expected them to lead a godly and righteous life. When his children deviated from these principles as young adults, he was dismayed and disappointed.

Georg's health deteriorated rapidly. He suffered from a mental illness, according to current knowledge symptoms of the genetic metabolic disorder porphyria (although there are also opposing views). A study of the king's hair published in 2005 found high levels of arsenic , a possible trigger of the disease. It is not known where the arsenic came from, but it may have been a medicinal or cosmetic ingredient. The King had been ill for a short period of time as early as 1765, but a longer period began in the summer of 1788. After the end of Parliament he went to Cheltenham Spa to recover - although only 150 kilometers away it was the furthest journey he had ever made had undertaken. Despite the spa stay, his mental condition worsened in November. He would sometimes talk for hours without a break, causing foam at the mouth and hoarseness. His doctors could not explain the illness and false rumors spread about his condition, such as the claim that he had mistook a tree for the King of Prussia and wanted to shake his hand (or branch). Treatment methods for insanity were primitive; the king's doctors treated him with forcible sedation or caustic compresses to drain him of the "evil humors ".

George III painted by William Beechey (1799/1800)

When Parliament reconvened, the king was unable to announce the program for the next legislature as part of the speech from the throne , as required. Parliament ignored the custom and began debating the need for a regency. Fox felt that the heir to the throne was automatically entitled to assume the role of head of state during the king's illness. Pitt, on the other hand, argued that it was Parliament's sole right to appoint a regent. Despite differing opinions as to the legal basis, they agreed that the Prince of Wales was the most expedient choice for a regent. Pitt proposed a legal trick: the monarch could transfer sovereign rights to a Lord Commissioner by affixing the Great Seal of the Realm to a decree. Now the Lord Chancellor , the keeper of the seal, was to affix it himself without the monarch's consent. Although the act itself was actually illegal, the validity of the decree could not be called into question in court because of the seal attached. Georg's second eldest son Friedrich August condemned Pitt's proposal as "unconstitutional and illegal". Nevertheless, the Lord Commissioners were appointed and Parliament opened two months late. In February 1789 the House of Commons passed the Regency Bill authorizing the Prince of Wales to rule as Prince Regent. But before the House of Lords could also pass the law, the king had recovered from his illness. He subsequently recognized the legality of the procedure and took over full official business again.

coalition wars

Margaret Nicholson attempts to assassinate the King, contemporary depiction

The King and Pitt's popularity continued to rise after their recovery, at the expense of Fox and the Prince of Wales. His humane and sympathetic treatment of two deranged assassins, Margaret Nicholson in 1786 and John Frith in 1790, further increased his popularity. On May 15, 1800, former soldier James Hadfield attempted to shoot the King at Drury Lane Theatre . Georg seemed unimpressed by the incident. Hadfield was not convicted of insanity but spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

The French Revolution , which led to the fall of the French monarchy, unsettled many British landowners. France declared war on Britain in 1793, and George gave Pitt permission to raise taxes, mobilize armies, and suspend habeas corpus during the war . The first coalition of Austria, Prussia and Spain broke up in 1795 when Prussia and Spain made a separate peace with France. The second coalition with Austria, Russia and the Ottoman Empire was defeated in 1800. Only Great Britain opposed Napoleon Bonaparte , the First Consul of the French Republic .

A calmer period of war in 1800 allowed William Pitt to put down the rebellion in Ireland that had been going on since 1798 . Parliament then passed the Act of Union 1800 . With this Act, on January 1, 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland were merged into a single state called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland . George took the opportunity to relinquish the claim to the French throne that had been held by the English and British monarchs since Edward III. had raised. Pitt wanted to eliminate certain legal disadvantages that had been imposed on Catholics . Georg made it clear that the “ emancipation of the Catholics ” would break his coronation oath, with which the monarchs promised to defend Protestantism. As opposition to his religious reform policies grew, Pitt threatened to resign. About the same time the king suffered a brief relapse and blamed it on his concern for the Catholic question. Pitt was formally replaced by Henry Addington , Speaker of the House of Commons, on March 14, 1801 . Addington opposed Catholic emancipation, abolished the income tax and initiated a disarmament program. In October 1801 he made peace with France and in March 1802 he signed the Peace of Amiens .

"A Kick in the Big Ass": Cartoon on King George's dismissal of the "Government of All Talents" (1807)

Georg called the treaty with France an "experimental peace". In 1803 both countries declared war on each other, but public opinion did not trust Addington to lead the country to war, preferring Pitt. George's inspection of 27,000 volunteers in London's Hyde Park on October 26 and 28, 1803 drew more than 500,000 onlookers over the two days. In 1804, Georg had another seizure for a short time. In May of the same year, Pitt resumed government responsibility. He wanted to include Fox in his cabinet, but George refused because Fox had encouraged the Prince of Wales to live a lavish and expensive lifestyle. William Grenville felt this was an injustice to Fox and refused to serve in the new government. Pitt now had a strong rearmament and brought about the third coalition with Austria, Russia and Sweden. However, this coalition collapsed in December 1805 after the Battle of Austerlitz . However, the threat of Napoleon's conquest of Britain had been averted a few weeks earlier by Horatio Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar .

The setbacks on the mainland took a toll on Pitt's health. After his death in January 1806, Grenville assumed the office of Prime Minister. Fox was also featured in his Government of All Talents . George was saddened that public opinion left him no choice but to accept his appointment. After Fox's death in September 1806, there was a great deal of disagreement between the king and the government. To increase the number of recruits, the government proposed a law in February 1807 that would allow Catholics to serve in the army. Georg asked the government to drop the proposed law. The government complied with this request but refused to sign a statement saying it would not discuss the issue again in the future. In March 1807, the king appointed the Duke of Portland prime minister a second time, but actual power rested with Chancellor of the Exchequer, Spencer Perceval . Parliament was dissolved and in subsequent elections the government won a clear majority in the House of Commons. George III made no more important political decisions during the rest of his reign. The replacement of the Duke of Portland by Spencer Perceval, who died in October 1809, was only a formality and had no major political significance.

last years of life

The eldest son, who later became King George IV, took over the official business as regent

Georg, who was almost blind due to cataracts and also suffered from rheumatism , became seriously ill at the end of 1810. He believed the illness was triggered by the stress he suffered after learning of the death of his youngest daughter, Amalia. He accepted the need for the Regency Act 1811 , and the Prince of Wales assumed the regency for the rest of his life. At the end of 1811 he finally went insane. He lived in seclusion at Windsor Castle until his death . Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated in 1812; he was succeeded by Lord Liverpool . During his reign, Great Britain won the final victory in the Napoleonic Wars. The subsequent Congress of Vienna resulted in significant territorial gains for Hanover, and the electorate was upgraded to a kingdom.

George's health deteriorated rapidly. He suffered from dementia , became completely blind and was also increasingly deaf. He was unable to comprehend that he had been proclaimed King of Hanover in 1814 or that his wife had died in 1818. Over Christmas 1819 he suffered a particularly violent attack, speaking continuously for 58 hours and being unable to walk for the last few weeks of his life. He died on January 29, 1820 at 8:38 p.m. (six days after the death of his fourth son Eduard August) in the presence of his favorite son Friedrich August. On February 16, George III. buried in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

His eldest son succeeded the throne as George IV . He was succeeded by George's third eldest son Wilhelm IV. He also died without legitimate descendants, so that the crown passed to Victoria as the last monarch from the House of Hanover. George III, who died at the age of 81, reigned for 59 years and 3 months. None of his predecessors had aged or reigned longer. Only Queens Victoria (63 years and 7 months) and Elizabeth II (70 years; as of February 6, 2022) were longer on the throne.


Georg was nicknamed Farmer George by satirists . They first made fun of his interest in everyday things instead of politics. Later the nickname served to emphasize the contrast between his domestic frugality and his son's pomp and to portray him as a man of the people. The king showed great interest in agriculture. During his reign, the British Agricultural Revolution reached its climax, while great advances were made in science and industry. The rural population grew at an unprecedented rate and provided most of the labor force for the concurrent industrial revolution . George's collection of mathematical and scientific instruments is now in London's Science Museum . He financed the construction and maintenance of Wilhelm Herschel 's telescope, the largest in the world at the time. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 , which he first referred to as Georgium Sidus ("George's Star"). George 's private library of 65,000 books joined the British Museum Library in 1823 . Today the King's Library is housed in the British Library in a six-storey glass tower that is 17 meters high.

George III was initially quite popular in North America, but lost the loyalty of revolutionary American colonists by the mid-1770s. However, it is believed that almost half of the colonists remained loyal. The grievances raised in the Declaration of Independence were presented as "repeated abuses and breaches of law" committed by the king in order to establish "absolute tyranny" over the colonies. The one-sided choice of words in the statement was a major factor in the American public's mistaking George for a tyrant. Contemporary accounts of George's life can be divided into two groups: one focused on "the attitudes dominant in the later phase of his reign, when the king had become a revered symbol of national resistance to French power and ideas." The other " derived their views from the bitter partisan strife of the first two decades of his rule, and reflected in their works the views of the opposition favored hostile interpretations of George's life. The work of Lewis Namier , who thought George had been 'much reviled', led to a reappraisal of his person and rulership from the mid-20th century. Historians of the second half of the 20th century tend to treat George sympathetically, seeing him as a victim of circumstance and illness. Herbert Butterfield dismissed the arguments of his Victorian predecessors with scathing disdain: 'Erskine May is a good example of how an excess of brilliance can lead a historian to error. His skill in synthesis and his ability to coordinate the different parts of the argument...led him to a more profound and complicated embellishment of error than some of his more circumstantial predecessors...he inserted a doctrinal element into his story...that took him ever further from the truth removed.” By continuing the war with the American colonists, George III believed he was defending the right of the elected Parliament to levy taxes, while the expansion of his own power or sovereign rights was irrelevant. Modern historians believe that during his long reign the monarchy continued to decline in political power and emerged as the embodiment of national morality.

George's madness is the subject of The Madness of King George in the 1994 film King George . The film is based on the play The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett . The partly humorous, partly tragic plot takes place during George's first seizure of madness in the years 1788/89, but only partially adheres to the historical facts. The role of the king is played by Nigel Hawthorne , who received the Laurence Olivier Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. In Carol Reed's feature film The Young Mr. Pitt (1942) George was portrayed by Raymond Lovell and in Beau Brummell - Rebel and Seducer ( 1954) by Robert Morley . George III and his illness is the subject of the musical theater work Eight Songs for a Mad King (1968) by avant-garde composer Peter Maxwell Davies .


In Great Britain, George III used the official title "George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland , Defender of the Faith , etc. " faith , etc.) When Great Britain and Ireland were united in 1801, George took the opportunity to drop the purely theoretical claim to the French throne. However, the title of King of France continued on official documents until 1815 and was not finally abandoned until 1820. He also dropped the phrase "etc." that had been added during the reign of Elizabeth I. From then on his title was George the Third, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith . defender of the faith).

George was the sovereign of the Order of the Garter (from 1760), the Order of the Thistle (from 1760), the Order of the Bath (from 1760), the Order of Saint Patrick (from 1783), the Order of Guelph (from 1815) and the Order of St Michael and St George (from 1818).

coat of arms


Pedigree King George III.

Ernst August of Brunswick-Lüneburg
⚭ 1658
Sophie of the Palatinate

George Wilhelm of Brunswick-Lüneburg
⚭ 1676
Eleonore d'Olbreuse

Albrecht II of Brandenburg-Ansbach
⚭ 1651
Sophie Margarete zu Oettingen-Oettingen

Johann Georg I of Saxe-Eisenach

Johanetta of Sayn-Wittgenstein

Ernst I of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
⚭ 1636
Elisabeth Sophia of Saxe-Altenburg

Augustus of Saxe-Weissenfels
⚭ 1647
Anna Maria of Mecklenburg

John VI of Anhalt-Zerbst
⚭ 1649
Sophie Auguste of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf

great grandparents

British Tudor Crown
King George I
⚭ 1682
Sophie Dorothea of ​​Brunswick-Lüneburg

Johann Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach
⚭ 1681
Eleonore of Saxe-Eisenach

Frederick I of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
⚭ 1669
Magdalena Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels

Karl Wilhelm of Anhalt-Zerbst
⚭ 1676
Sophia of Saxe-Weissenfels


British Tudor Crown
King George II (1683–1760)
⚭ 1705
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach

Frederick II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1676–1732)
⚭ 1696
Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (1679–1740)


Crown of the British heir to the throne
Prince Friedrich Ludwig (1707–1751)
⚭ 1736
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1719–1772)

British Tudor Crown
King George III (1738–1820)


Surname birth death Remarks
George IV August 12, 1762 June 26, 1830 a) 1785 unlawfully married to Maria Fitzherbert (null and void under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 ), no issue
b) 1795 married to Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel , with issue
Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany August 16, 1763 January 5, 1827 Married Princess Friederike of Prussia in 1791 , no descendants
William IV August 21, 1765 June 20, 1837 Married to Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen in 1818 , no surviving legitimate descendants
Charlotte Auguste September 29, 1766 October 5, 1828 Married to King Frederick I of Württemberg in 1797 , no descendants
Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn Nov. 2, 1767 January 23, 1820 1818 married Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld , with descendants ( Victoria )
Augusta Sophia November 8, 1768 September 22, 1840 unmarried, no descendants
Elizabeth May 22, 1770 January 10, 1840 1818 married to Landgrave Friedrich VI. von Hessen-Homburg , no descendants
Ernst August I, King of Hanover , Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale June 5, 1771 November 18, 1851 1815 married to Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , with descendants
Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex January 27, 1773 April 21, 1843 a) 1793 married to Augusta Murray (marriage invalid under the Royal Marriages Act and annulled 1794), with issue
b) 1831 married to Cecilia Underwood, 1st Duchess of Inverness , no issue
Adolphus Frederick, 1st Duke of Cambridge February 24, 1774 July 8, 1850 Married Princess Auguste of Hesse in 1818 , with descendants
Mary, Duchess of Gloucester April 25, 1776 April 30, 1857 Married in 1816 to William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh , no descendants
Sophia Nov. 3, 1777 May 27, 1848 unmarried, no descendants
Octavius February 23, 1779 May 3, 1783
Alfred September 22, 1780 August 20, 1782
Amalia August 7, 1783 November 2, 1810 unmarried, no descendants


After George III. are named:



  • Stanley Ayling: George the Third. Collins, London 1972. ISBN 0-00-211412-7 .
  • Jeremy Black: George III - America's Last King. Yale University Press, New Haven/London 2006 (and reprints), ISBN 978-0-300-13621-0 . (standard work)
  • Jeremy Black: The Hanoverians. The History of a Dynasty. Hambledon Continuum, London 2004.
  • John Brooke: King George III. Constable, London 1972, ISBN 0-09-456110-9 .
  • Vincent Carretta: George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron. University of Georgia Press, Athens 1990, ISBN 0-8203-1146-4 .
  • Antonia Fraser : The Lives of the Kings and Queen of England. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, ISBN 0-297-76911-1 .
  • Christopher Hibbert: George III - A Personal History . Penguin Books, London 1998, ISBN 0-670-86941-4 .
  • Andrew Roberts George III: The Life and Reign of Britain's Most Misunderstood Monarch. Allen Lane, London 2021, ISBN 978-0-24141-333-3 .
  • Peter D.G. Thomas: George III: Kings and Politicians 1760–1770 . Manchester University Press, Manchester 2002, ISBN 978-0-7190-6428-9 .
  • George Trevelyan : George the Third and Charles Fox: The Concluding Part of the American Revolution. Longmans, New York 1912.
  • J Steven Watson, The Reign of George III, 1760-1815. Oxford University Press, London 1960.

encyclopedia article

web links

Commons : George III. (United Kingdom)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


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  51. Saul David: Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency. Grove Press, New York 2000, ISBN 0-8021-3703-2 , pp. 92–119.
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  62. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837. Yale University Press, New Haven 1994, ISBN 978-0-300-15280-7 , p. 225.
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  82. Lotte Burkhardt: List of eponymous plant names - extended edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi:10.3372/epolist2018 .
predecessor government office successor
George II King of Great Britain
George II King of Ireland
newly created King of the United Kingdom
George IV
George II Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg
newly created King of Hanover
George IV
newly created King of Corsica
Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover Prince of Wales
Prince Albert, later King Edward VII.
Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover Duke of Edinburgh
Title merged with the crown