George III: A Personal History

George III: A Personal History

George III: A Personal History

George III: A Personal History

Synopsis

Rather than reaffirming King George III's reputation as, alternately, a tyrant, a country bumpkin, and a lunatic, Christopher Hibbert portrays him not only as a competent ruler during most of his reign but also as a patron of the arts and sciences, a man of wit and intelligence who greatly enhanced the reputation of the British monarchy until he was stricken with a rare hereditary disease.

Teeming with court machinations, sexual intrigues, and familial conflicts, George III opens a window on the tumultuous, rambunctious, revolutionary eighteenth century. It is sure to alter our understanding of this fascinating, complex, and very human king who so strongly shaped England's -- and America's -- destiny.

Excerpt

I wish the ground would open this moment and sink the monster to the lowest hole in hell.

In the emphatic opinion of Sir Robert Walpole, King George II's First Minister, Frederick, Prince of Wales, was a 'poor, weak, irresolute, false, lying, dishonest, contemptible wretch that nobody loves, that nobody believes, that nobody will trust'. The judgement, harsh, bitter and prejudiced as it was, was widely shared at the King's court, the King himself having little time for his elder son, with whom he had been at odds almost ever since 1728, when the young man had come over to England following his education in Hanover. Indeed, he generally declined to speak to him, ostentatiously ignoring his presence, and referred to him as 'no true son of mine'. He must be 'what in German we call a Wechselbald', the King said. 'I do not know if you have a word for it in English -- it is not what you call a foundling, but a child put in a cradle instead of another.'

As for Prince Frederick's mother, Queen Caroline, a sensible, intelligent though sarcastic and manipulative woman, the daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, she could not bear the sight of the 'avaricious, sordid monster'. He was 'the greatest ass and the greatest liar and the greatest canaille and the greatest beast in the whole world', and she heartily wished he were 'out of it'. One day, catching sight of the Prince from her dressing-room window, she exclaimed to Lord Hervey, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, her face red with fury, 'Look, there he goes -- that wretch! -- that villain! -- I wish the ground would open this moment and sink the monster to the lowest hole in hell.' None of the Prince's five sisters . . .

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