George II

George holding a sceptre

Full name: George Augustus

Born: 10th November 1683, Hanover, Germany

Son of George I of Great Britain and Sophia Dorothea of Celle

Married Caroline of Ansbach, 1705

Reign: June 1727 – October 1760

Death: 25th October 1760

Burial: 11th November 1760, Westminster Abbey

George II was a king of lasts. He was the last British Monarch to be born abroad. He was also the last British monarch to lead an army in battle and reigned during the last battle fought on British soil. And finally, the last British monarch to be buried in Westminster Abbey.

He was born in Hanover where his family had long since ruled and never expected to be King of Britain. He had married and had children all before his father was elected to become King after the death of Queen Anne. He was therefore unapologetically German. This made him unpopular in England like his father, George I, who had been openly disinterested in his new country. Nevertheless, George ruled for over thirty years and did manage to win over the majority of the population by his military ability and determination which saw him successful in battle at the age of sixty-one.

George II (imagined) as the last British Monarch to lead his mean into battle at Dettingen.

The majority of George’s life was spent in Hanover. He was born there, educated and even married there. He spoke fluent English, French and German and there was a suggestion of him marrying a French princess. However his choice of wife was Caroline of Ansbach. They met while George was travelling to other royal courts within the German states. It was reported that he said upon seeing Caroline, that he was ‘so taken with her, he could not think of anyone else’. They were wed in August 1705, and had eight children. In 1717 on his father’s accession to the throne of Great Britain, he made George and Caroline Prince and Princess of Wales. This meant they needed to relocate to Britain.

Caroline of Ansbach, c. 1735

Once in England, George’s London residence of Leicester House became the centre for the influential politicians who disagreed with the current government and therefore his father’s government. George and King George II had always had a tricky relationship quarrelled over petty things and never resolved things before he died.

At the age of forty-four George became King. His reign was ultimately successful. Much of this was due to his skilled ministers, particularly Sir Robert Walpole whom he heavily relied on. A notable time of his reign came in the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 in Scotland with Bonnie Prince Charlie attempting to take the English through for his father James Stuart, the grandson of King James II who was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Luckily for George, the Jacobite army were defeated at the battle of Culloden and George’s position remained unchallenged.

Frederick, Prince of Wales

George II would have never wanted to be compared to his father, but their similarities were striking as they both had terrible relationships with their sons. Frederick, Prince of Wales was only seven years old when his parents left for England and he did not see them again for 14 years. As a many, Frederick arrived in London and former his own rival court to his father’s. Their relationship became so bad that George was barred from knowing when his grandchildren were born. Frederick died suddenly in 1751 at the age of 44. He had experienced a pulmonary embolism after a cricket accident. This meant that when George died at the age of almost 77, the throne was left to his grandson, George III.

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