King George III: Americas Last Monarch by John BrookeTo Englishmen George III is often remembered as mad King George whose principal distinction was having lost the American colonies. To Americans he is usually portrayed as bad King George, that oppressive tyrant named in the Declaration of Independence as unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Was George bad or mad? Author John Brooke avoids the hearsay of history because of his access to all the Kings papers which were never used in their entirety by previous biographers. In addition, Brooke inherited the complete papers of Sir Lewis Namier, whose researches into this period are unquestionably the most valuable of our century. Tracing Georges life through notebooks, diaries, and accounts, Brooke provides a very personal biography of George III, rather than a history of his reign.
Was George bad? George founded the Royal Academy, was a patron of the great astronomer Herschel, and paid out of his own pocket for every book now in the Kings Library of the British Museum. He was one of Britains most devoted and best-informed rulers, fond of country life and his family.
Was George mad? Not insane at all, George was grievously afflicted with porphyria--a painful illness caused by a rare metabolic imbalance. His doctors did not understand his malady and their treatment was arbitrary, irrelevant, and cruel. It was enough to reduce any victim to fury and despair and insured that the last years of the Kings life were miserable and largely empty.
The early death of his father made George his grandfathers unexpected heir, and when he came to the throe in 1760 at twenty-two, younger than any monarch since Edward VI, nothing in his education had prepared him for his new responsibilities. Brooke shows the torment this brought him, inexperienced and naive, trapped between Pitt who coveted power for a purpose and Bute who oscillated between the wish for power and the fear of responsibility, with Newcastle flitting between them. . . . Somewhat of a rarity among English rulers, George had a long and happy marriage marred at the end by the queens imposed separation from him to protect her form his alleged madness.
Of all that has been written about George, Brookes King George III is the first to show him as a human being with likes and dislikes, penchants and perversities and to dispel the ludicrous caricature that has made up the myth.
George III was the last king of England who ruled as well as reigned. Because he was a very personal monarch whose own decisions and conduct affected public policy as no British monarchs have since, this biography provides us with new light on the causes and conduct of the American Revolution.
King George III: British Ruler During the American Revolution
Ten years after mental illness forced him to retire from public life, King George III , the British king who lost the American colonies, dies at the age of Although he hoped to govern more directly than his predecessor had, King George III was unable to find a minister he could trust, until , when he appointed Lord North as his chief minister. In , the king suffered a short nervous breakdown and in the winter of a more prolonged mental illness. By , he was permanently insane. It has been suggested that he was a victim of the hereditary disease porphyria, a defect of the blood that can cause mental illness when not treated. He spent the rest of his life in the care of his devoted wife, Charlotte Sophia, whom he had married in But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!
Much of his reign, which lasted from to , was colored by his ongoing problems with mental illness. During the last decade of his life, he was incapacitated to the degree that his eldest son ruled as Prince Regent, giving name to the Regency Era., He became heir to the throne on the death of his father in , succeeding his grandfather, George II, in He was the third Hanoverian monarch and the first one to be born in England and to use English as his first language.
He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover , but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language,  and never visited Hanover. George's life and reign, which were longer than those of any of his predecessors, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in In the later part of his life, George had recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria , the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in , a regency was established.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. During his reign, Britain lost its American colonies but emerged as a leading power in Europe. He suffered from recurrent fits of madness and after , his son acted as regent. He became heir to the throne when his father died in , succeeding his grandfather George II in He was the first Hanoverian monarch to use English as his first language. In , George married Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and they enjoyed a happy marriage, with 15 children.
In , illness brought on a mental breakdown, but he briefly recovered, regaining popularity and admiration for his virtue and steady leadership through the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Ultimately, recurring bouts of insanity led Parliament to enact regency to his son, and George III lived his final years with sporadic periods of lucidity, until his death in Young George was educated by private tutors, and by age 8 he could speak English and German and would soon learn French. Instructed in a wide range of subjects, he showed a particular interest in the natural sciences. Acutely shy and reserved in his youth, George was strongly influenced by his primary mentor, Scottish nobleman John Stuart, Third Earl of Bute, who helped the young prince overcome his shyness and advised him on many personal and political matters. Three weeks later the year-old was made Prince of Wales by his grandfather, George II, putting him in line to inherit the throne.