The British Monarchy has evolved over almost 2 millennium. This web site explores the history, chronology, and the multifarious and fascinating characters of the individual kings and queens from ad 839 until ad 2000
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London 1 August 1714. Cannon fired, drums rolled and trumpets blared as the herald proclaimed the news outside St James’s palace at noon today: “The high and mighty Prince George Elector of Brunswick-Luneberg is now become our only lawful and rightful liege lord....”. And so George I, not James III has acceded to the throne.
Tory grandees had contemplated declaring the Pretender, king this morning but their leader, Viscount Bolingbroke, realised that the tide had turned against them. The Whigs seized the initiative and will dominate the council of regency appointed today.
London March 1715. The Tory majority in the Commons has been overturned and the new house, which started its session this month has a Whig majority of 150.
Scotland 22 December 1715. James Francis Edward Stuart, the Pretender, landed today at Peterhead to stake his claim to the throne. His arrival is the climax to a series of confrontations which have seen disturbances in England and a wholesale rebellion in Scotland. James has garnered support with a promise to repeal the hated Act of Union, which effectively delivered the Scots into the hands of the English.
London 1717. The blistering row between the King and the Prince of Wales came to a climax this autumn. when George placed his son and daughter-in-law under close arrest in Kensington palace, refusing them access to their children and threatening to throw them into the Tower of London.
Rome 31 December 1720. Fresh life has been breathed into the fading Jacobite cause with the birth of a son to the exiled James Stuart, the Pretender. It is said that at the moment of his birth a new star appeared in the heavens and a terrible storm fell upon Hanover, causing great damage and loss of property.
London 1721. The collapsing South Sea financial bubble has claimed as its victims not only politicians but also the royal family. Now the prominent Whig politician Robert Walpole has been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and first lord of the treasury in a bid to restore confidence in the country’s finances.
London May 1 1722. Public apprehensions over the threat of a Jacobite coup increased today when Robert Walpole gave orders for several thousand troops to be drafted into London and encamped in Hyde Park. The king has agreed to postpone his visit to Hanover, Catholics have been ordered to leave town, and the mail is being intercepted in the search for evidence.
Hanover 1 June 1727. Britain's first Hanovarian monarch died early this morning in his bed at Osnabruk. George, who was 67, had been king of Great Britain and Ireland since 1714. He is succeeded by his son George Augustus who becomes George II; he also assumes his fathers title of Elector of Hanover.
Richmond Palace 22 June 1727. When Sir Robert Walpole brought the unexpected news that he was now king, George Augustus was in bed after dinner with his wife. Now 43, George has the prominent eyes and belly of the Hanoverians and their peevishness. His main interest is royal genealogy and military uniforms. He speaks English with a thick accent The new king succeeds the father who so disliked him that he never allowed him to see his imprisoned mother.
London 1728. King George has agreed to pay a yearly fee of £1200 to Charles Howard, the husband of the royal mistress, Henrietta, on condition that in future he gives her as little trouble in the capacity of husband as possible. Howard who is described as “obstinate, drunken and brutal” has become a nuisance
St. James’s Palace, December 1728. Frederick the Prince of Wales arrived a the palace today after a hazardous freezing voyage from Hanover. It is a measure of how little his father thinks of him that he had to make the final part of his journey in a hackney carriage.
London 1732. King George has given the fine town house at 10 Downing Street to the government. He originally intended it as a personal gift to Sir Robert Walpole his first lord of the treasury, but Sir Robert now known more and more as the “Prime Minister” would only accept it as his official residence.
Hanover 1735. The king has fallen in love with Amelia Sophia von Walmoden, a young woman whose husband has been bought off with a large sum of money from the royal purse.
London 25 April 1736. Frederick the Prince o Wales, was married today to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. She is 17, a big gangling simple girl who speaks not a word of English. Her mother reassured her, however, that since the House of Hanover had reigned in Britain for 20 years, everyone there must speak German by now. The Prince was born in Hanover in 1707 and was brought up there.
St. James’s 20 November 1737. Britain is today mourning the most popular queen since Elizabeth. Queen Caroline has died, 11 days after falling ill with an infection from an umbilical rupture sustained during child birth. Apart from the king who is genuinely distraught at his loss, one of the chief mourners is the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole.
London October 1741. Queen Maria Theresa, who inherited the Habsburg lands when her father Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, died last year, has bowed to British pressure to end the war that her succession has precipitated and that has imperilled King George’s Hanover lands.
2 February 1742. Sir Robert Walpole today resigned after more than 20 successive years as the king’s ‘prime minister’.
Western Isles 23 July 1745. Prince Charles Edward, the elder son of the Stuart Pretender, set foot in Scotland for the first time today when he landed on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides Disguised as a priest in case of capture, and with only a handful of advisers, the 24-year-old prince disembarked to be gruffly told by the local clan chief to go home. Charles was unruffled. Speaking in his curious Italian-Irish accent his reply was simple “I have come home, Sir”.
London 20 March 1751. Muttering “I feel death” Frederick the Prince of Wales, breathed his last in his bedroom last night at the age of 44. His son George William Frederick (13) becomes heir to the throne.
Kensington Palace 25 October 1760. The king is dead. King George II died just after 6am following a massive heart attack. Horace Walpole has called it an enviable death.
Highlands 16 April 1746. In just 40 minutes today, all hope died that King James VIII and III might sit on the British throne. The road to today’s showdown at Culloden Moor, southeast of Inverness began when Prince Charles army reached Derby on 5 December last year. At just 127 miles from London Charles was ecstatic but his army was overstretched and now faced 30,000 government forces under Cumberland. The 24 year-old 20 stone son of King George II.
London 26 October 1760. An immature and impressionable young man has been proclaimed king of Great Britain and Ireland following the death yesterday of his grandfather, George II. The 22-year-old Prince of Wales who also becomes Elector of Hanover, was riding across Kew Bridge when a messenger told him that he was king. He insisted the news be kept secret till his mentor the Earl of Bute was told.
London 9 September 1761. Within 24 hours of her arrival in England the somewhat plain yet sturdy Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was tonight married to the king. Chosen by George after much debate about the relative merits of available German Protestant princesses.
Paris 10 February 1763. George III has emerged from the peace talks here as king of the most powerful country in the world Under the Treaty of Paris signed today with France and Spain ending seven years of war, Britain gained Canada, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island..
Rome January 1766. James Stuart, the son of James II and pretender to the British throne - had lived here as a king in exile for 50 years, but his funeral was that of a reigning monarch. In crimson velvet robes, a gold crown, a sceptre and orb his body was laid on a bier of purple silk and taken to the church in which he had worshiped with 20 cardinals following his remains.
Boston 1 October 1768. Men-o-War of the Royal Navy dropped anchor in Boston harbour yesterday evening, their guns covering the town, and today two regiments from Britain disembarked to join the two already arrived from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The colonists have been angered by taxes on lead, paper, paint, glass and tea.
Boston 5 March 1770. The strained relationships between King George and his American Colonies took a turn for the worse today when five people were shot dead by British troops at the port of Boston, this was described locally as a “massacre”.
Westminster 21 May 1773. Robert Clive the 47-year-old architect of Britain’s success in India, whose clever manipulations of the ruling princes have ensured that Britain rather than France has become the dominant political and commercial power in the sub continent, has suffered a severe reversal of fortunes: the passage of a motion of censure in the House of commons - backed not just by MP’s but by King George himself.
London 22 November 1774. Robert Clive, once the embodiment of British rule in India, brought a tempestuous career to a halt today when he took his own life
London 25 November 1781. Three weeks ago King George III was in resolute mood over the war in America, telling the prime minister Lord North, that he had “the greatest confidence” in his army. Little did he know that General Cornwallis, the British second-in-command had already surrendered with most of his army to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia.
London 8 April 1795. The 32-year-old Prince of Wales married his 26-year-old cousin Princess Caroline of Brunswick today - with great difficulty. In spite of the optimism of his new mother-in-law, who advised him “Caroline is so happy with your picture” the couple took an instant dislike to each other.
Windsor 2 November 1804. The royal family today moved into new apartments within Windsor Castle. For the last 20 years George has spent more time at Windsor than Kew.
Windsor 3 November 1810. The king was confined to a straight-jacket by his doctors today following a series of violent outbursts and incessant ramblings. His last vestiges of mental stability destroyed yesterday by the death of his youngest and favourite child Amelia (27).
London 6 February 1811. The Prince of Wales took the oaths of office as regent today and assumed charge of the government. The Regency Act, which parliament passed yesterday states that the Prince “shall have full power and authority, in the name and on behalf of HM, and under the style and title Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Worthing, Sussex 8 August 1814. The Princess of Wales has left England. After 19 years of increasingly acrimonious marriage Princess Caroline has abandoned the Prince Regent and is returning to her childhood home in the Duchy of Brunswick in Northern Germany.
London 18 June 1815. The news of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo was brought to the prince Regent tonight whilst he was at a party given by the well-known hostess Mrs. Boehm at her house in St. James’s Square. The party was in full swing when the dusty and bloodstained Major Henry Percy appeared, having ridden from the battlefield.
England 1818. There have been four royal weddings this year, prompted by the death last year of the Prince Regent’s only child, Princess Charlotte, whilst giving birth to a still-born boy. This created a crisis because there was then no one to succeed the regent. The Dukes of Clarence, Cambridge and Kent were prepared to answer the nations call as was their sister Princess Elizabeth. Edward of Kent married the business-like princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, the widow of the Prince of Leinigen.
Kensington Palace 24 May 1819. At 4.15am today a daughter was born to Princess Victoria the wife of the Duke of Kent. The child is described to be strong and is likely to be called Victoria
Windsor 29 January 1820. King George III died this evening at Windsor Castle. He was 82 years old and had been king for 60 years although his mental instability had rendered him incapable of ruling since 1811.
Westminster 19 July 1821. Today a glittering procession set off from Westminster Hall for the abbey to celebrate the coronation of King George IV. The only sour note was struck by Queen Caroline, who returning from the continent was outraged by her exclusion from the occasion.
London 7 August 1821. The woman who has bedevilled the king’s life for 26 years died today at a house in Hammersmith aged 53. She fell ill at the theatre and was said to be suffering from acute inflammation of the bowels from which she never recovered.
Windsor 1827. On his good days King George still eats heartily and usually gets through two or three bottles of claret before leaving the table. On other days though, he complains of his gout and other infirmities. The Duke of Wellington, a regular visitor to the royal lodge has little sympathy.
Windsor 26 June 1830. At 1.45 this morning after a brief sleep in his chair, George IV awoke and drank a little clove tea. He slept again for an hour then despite the efforts of Sir Walthen Waller, expired.
London 31 January 1830. George IV was proclaimed king at noon today in the forecourt of Carlton House. He is 57 years old and has been regent for the past nine years; he took the regency oaths in 1811. In his many years at the forefront of public life - during which he has been an extravagant patron of the arts - the new king has not endeared himself to the British People. From an early age he acquired a reputation for dissolute living and self-indulgence making him the butt of ridicule. He was only 17 when his affair with an actress became the talk of London.
Surrey 26 June 1830. At six o clock this morning, William, Duke of Clarence, was woken in his residence near Hampton Court to be told that he was King of England. William is said to have shaken his informers by the hand and gone straight back to bed. He did not mourn his brother for long if at all. The king aged 64 became heir to the throne just three years ago when the Duke of York, George III’s second son, died. Many fear that this bluff former sailor will not be up to the task particularly when constitutional reform is in the air.
William’s cheerful manner and unaffected style are a pleasing contrast to his brothers heavy drinking , incessant womanising and childish behaviour, and this has already helped to make him popular with the public. He is a very public man who enjoys walks and chatting to fellow strollers.
Westminster 7 June 1832. A royal commission today gave the revived Reform Bill the royal assent because King William was unwilling to do so himself but realises that concessions must be given now to avoid revolution later.
The Reform Act passed by parliament today is being hailed as a great democratic triumph, but it will do little more than give the vote to the middle classes.
Windsor 20 June 1837. At 12 minutes past two this morning King William IV breathed his last. He was 71. He had been seriously ill with asthma for a month and had been expected to die for the last two days. He died safe in the knowledge that his heir and niece, Princess Victoria is old enough to assume power in her own right, preventing his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Kent and her confidant Sir John Conroy from assuming power as regents.
London 20 June 1837. The archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chamberlain, Marquis Conyhgham arrived at Kensington Palace this morning to tell Princess Victoria that the king was dead and she was queen. The Duchess of Kent, who always shares a room with her daughter, woke her to tell her that the two dignitaries were waiting. Victoria put on her dressing gown and went to see them alone. She is 18 years old. She later wrote in her diary “Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty to my country”.
Westminster 28 June 1838. Queen Victoria was crowned today in a long and splendid ceremony. She said it was the proudest day of her life. It began with cannons in the park and ended with fireworks s millions of people crowded the streets.
London 10 May 1839. Lord Melbourne has resumed office as prime minister despite his defeat in parliament. This follows the refusal of the queen to allow the Tory leader, Sir Robert Peel to appoint new ladies of the bedchamber in the royal household
London 23 November 1839. The queen is to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha . He arrived at Windsor on 10th October and she wrote that “it was with some emotion that I beheld Albert - who is beautiful”. The courtship went fast and on 15 October the queen told him that it would make her “too happy” if he would consent to marry her.
London 9 November 1841. For the first time in English history a reigning queen gave birth to a son and heir. Albert Edward was born at 12 minutes to 11 o’clock this morning.
Windsor 6 August 1844. Queen Victoria’s expanding brood gained a new member today with the birth, at Windsor castle, of a new prince. He will be christened Alfred Ernest Albert
Isle of Wight , March 1848. King Louis Philippe the deposed king of France, has landed safely here and been accepted under the queen’s protection. Her house at Claremont in Surrey has been put at his disposal, and Palmerston has provided the destitute family with funds. The fall of the French monarchy has been just one element in a wave of revolutions sweeping Europe. In Italy they have expelled their Austrian rulers, in Vienna riots have ousted the chancellor. There have also been rebellions in Budapest and Berlin for reforms from the Habsburgs and Prussian monarchs.
London 1 May 1851. The springtime drizzle gave way to brilliant sunshine this morning as the queen and Prince Albert drove in splendour to open the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.
London 26 June 1857. Prince Albert was appointed Prince Consort yesterday. The queen made the appointment herself by letters patent after the lord chancellor discovered that parliament did not have the power to confer the title itself.
Windsor 25 January 1858. Princess Victoria the queen’s eldest and favourite daughter was today married to Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia.
Windsor 23 December 1861. Prince Albert was buried today, nine days after his death, at the age of 42, has plunged the queen and the nation into mourning. Soldiers of the Grenadier Guards lined the route as the hearse was drawn from the castle to St. George's chapel.
Windsor 10 March 1863. The prince of Wales was married today to Princess Alexandra the strikingly attractive 18 year-old eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark.
London 14 January 1864. Insisting that her new-born grandson should be christened Albert Victor, the queen today informed his father, the Prince of Wales, of her wish that he should be known as Albert Edward and that all his descendants should bear the names of Albert or Victoria until the end of time.
Windsor 1 January 1877. At a banquet held this evening at Windsor, Queen Victoria was toasted for the first time as “Empress of India”, the title she has coveted for some four years.
Windsor 29 March 1883. The queen was devastated today by the death of her faithful servant John Brown. He caught a chill, developed Erysipelas an acute feverish skin infection and died. Berlin 25 April 1888. The two most powerful rulers in Europe, Queen Victoria and Otto von Bismark, came face to face today at what many believed would be and explosive meeting. but they parted with mutual respect. Cowes 8 August 1889. A fierce enmity is developing between the Prince of Wales and his nephew William, the 30 year old kaiser. The prince cannot bear William’s bombastic manner and calls him “The boss of Cowes”.
Sandringham 14 January 1892. The Duke of Clarence, the eldest child of the Prince of Wales, has died suddenly of pneumonia. His death is a terrible family tragedy, coming as it does unexpectedly and only four weeks after he announced his engagement to Princess Mary of Teck.
London 22 June 1897. The sun blazed upon London today as the queen celebrated her diamond jubilee. She has been on the throne longer than any of the monarchs of England or Scotland before her. Last year she passed the record set by her grandfather, George III of 59 years and 96 days.
Isle of Wight 22 January 1901. At four o’clock this afternoon the first bulletin read “the queen is slowly sinking”. At 6.40 the messenger .loomed again through the darkness to the waiting crowd and said “Her Majesty the Queen breathed her last at 6.30pm. So ends an era..
Westminster 9 August 1902. Just seven weeks after lying at deaths door with appendicitis, King Edward VII was crowned today amid all the splendour and majesty of the ancient coronation ritual. London 8 April 1904. King Edward is being hailed as a peacemaker following the signing of a momentous pack aimed at sinking centuries of rivalry between Britain and France, (the Entente Cordiale). Germany 15 August 1906. King Edward today paid a cordial visit to his nephew, Kaiser William
Reval, Russia, 9 June 1908. The king arrived here today in the royal yacht Victoria & Albert for a state visit to Czar Nicholas II. The visit marks the new entente between the two countries.
London 6 May 1910. The whole country is in mourning at the sudden death of the king. He was beloved by all his subjects who loved the man for his charm, friendliness and humanity
The electorate in England, Scotland and Ireland has been expanded from about 478,000 to 814,000 out of a total population of about 13.9 million.
London November 1834. The Houses of Parliament have been reduced to ruins by a huge fire which swept through the conglomeration of buildings known as the Palace of Westminster.
Queen Victoria and Family
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