History Timeline – House of Hanover

The House of Hanover – Georgian and Victorian Britain

1714 George I George, Elector of Hanover, was born in Saxony in 1660 and became King of Great Britain and Ireland at the age of 54 on the death of Queen Anne.

Although Anne had many closer relatives, the 1701 Act of Settlement prevented Catholics from inheriting the throne and George was Anne’s closest Protestant relation.

The Jacobites were opposed to him becoming King and so tried to depose him and replace him with James Francis Edward Stuart, Anne’s half-brother who was Catholic, but they failed.

George I’s reign is known for being the beginning of a shift in power from the monarchy to the present day system of a cabinet government led by a prime minister.

1727 George II George II is known for being the last British monarch to have been born outside of the UK. He was born in Hanover, Germany in 1683 and was the only son of King George I and his wife Sofia of Celle.

His titles included King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

George II was known for:-

  • The many quarrels he had with both his father and his son
  • For being the first monarch who did not control his country – it was controlled by Parliament
  • For being the last British monarch to lead his army into battle, which he did in 1743 at Dettingen
1760 George III George III was born in London in 1738 and was the grandson of his predecessor George II and son of Frederick Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. He became heir apparent on the death of his father from a lung injury in 1751.

He reigned Britain from 25th October 1760 until his death on 29th January 1820 and his reign was known for:-

  • Its military conflicts involving European countries and countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas
  • The Seven Years War where France was defeated by Britain
  • Britain going from the dominant power in North America early in his reign to losing many colonies in the American Revolutionary War
  • Britain’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar
  • The defeat of Napoleon in 1815
  • His mental illness (porphyria) in the later half of his lifew which led to his son, George the Prince of Wales, ruling Britain as Prince Regent
  • The British Agricultural Revolution
1820 George IV George IV ruled Britain as Prince Regent from 1811, due to his father’s mental illness, until his accession as King in 1820 on his father’s death. He ruled as King for only 10 years because he died in June 1830.

He became a large man, having a waist of 50 inches in 1824 and was known for his heavy drinking and love of food.

George IV’s reign is known for:-

  • His extravagant lifestyle
  • The British Regency fashions
  • His patronage of “new forms of leisure, style and taste” (wikipedia)
  • The building of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton
  • The rebuilding of Windsor Castle and remodelling of Buckingham Palace
  • His founding of the National Gallery and King’s College, London
  • His introduction of the Pains and Penalties Bill – which he tried to introduce so that he could divorce his wife, Caroline of Brunswick.
1830 William IV William IV inherited the throne from his brother George IV because George’s only child, Princess Charlotte had died in 1817 after giving birth to a still-born son. William was 64 years old when he became King and ruled for just under 7 years.

William IV was the last King of the House of Hanover and was known as the “Sailor King” because he had served in the Royal Navy.

His reign is known for:-

  • The updating of the Poor Law
  • The restriction of child labour
  • The abolition of slavery in most of the British Empire
  • The 1832 Reform Act

When he died in 1837 he had no surviving children so the throne passed to his niece Victoria. His brother Ernest Augustus succeeded him in Hanover.

William IV is famous for co-habiting with actress Dorothea Jordan for 20 years and having 10 illegitimate children.

1837 Victoria Victoria was the last monarch of the House of Hanover and is known for being the longest reigning British monarch and the longest reigning female monarch in history.

She came to the throne at the age of 18 on the death of her uncle, William IV, but salic law prevented her ruling Hanover and so it passed to her uncle who became King Ernest Augustus I.

Her reign is known for:-

  • The incredible change and progess of the Victorian era
  • The expansion of the British Empire – making Britain the most powerful country in the world
  • Victoria being the first Empress of India of the British Raj
  • The various attempts on the Queen’s life
  • Her self-imposed withdrawal from public life after Prince Albert’s death
  • The rumours of an affair with her personal servant John Brown which caused her to be known as “Mrs Brown”
  • Her Golden Jubilee and the Jubilee Plot
  • Victoria marrying her children and grandchildren off to European royals

Queen Victoria died in January 1901 and was succeeded by her son Edward VII who became the first monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Prince Albert’s royal house) which later had its name changed to the House of Windsor in the reign of Victoria’s grandson George V.