1. GEORGE III WAS BORN IN ENGLAND. Despite being a
Hanoverian Prince and
later after his madness had become permanent King of Hanover, George III was
the first of his line to be born in England, being born in London in 1738.
2. GEORGE III
SPOKE ENGLISH AS
HIS FIRST LANGUAGE. Contrary
to popular impression, King George III spoke English as his first language, and was the
first of his line of German-heritage English kings to do so.
3. GEORGE III FOLLOWED HIS
GRANDFATHER TO THE THRONE.
King George III was the third King George in a row. But he did not follow his father to
the throne. He succeeded his grandfather, King George II. His father, who had been in line
to become King Frederick I, died in 1751, nine years before King George II died and
King George III
4. GEORGE III
WAS THE LONGEST REIGNING
KING OF ENGLAND. King George
III reigned for 60 years longer than any male monarch in British history, and second
in length only to his granddaughter, Queen Victoria, who was on the throne for 64 years.
5. GEORGE III'S REIGN
WAS CHARACTERIZED BY GOOD TIMES FOR BRITAIN. Despite losing the American colonies and fighting expensive, prolonged
wars with both France and Spain, England mostly enjoyed political stability and economic
prosperity during the reign of King George III.
6. BRITISH DEMOCRACY
INCREASED DURING THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE III.
During King George IIIs monarchy Parliament was the principal political force in
Britain. The first "Prime" Minister in British history,
Robert Walpole, took
office during King George IIs reign. Under George III two strong British Prime
Ministers, Lord North and
William Pitt the Younger (only 24 when appointed Prime
Minister), carved out individual power bases that served to further restrict the
kings influence to that of advisor. This strengthened the development of the British
form of democracy we call "constitutional monarchy".
7. A PLANET WAS NAMED
AFTER KING GEORGE III. While lucid,
George III took an active interest in agriculture, the arts, and in science. He had
so much acreage of Windsor Castle planted with crops, he earned the sobriquet
George". His large personal library became the wellspring of the British Library at
the British Museum. He was very interested in science and had his own observatory for
astronomy. When contemporary German-British astronomer William Herschel discovered a new
planet in 1781, he named it Georgium Sidus after his king. Poor George. Few honors
accorded him outlasted his insanity. His namesake planet was renamed
Uranus some years
8. KING GEORGE
III SURVIVED AN
ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT. At
the turn of the 19th century, a madman named James Hadfield attempted to
assassinate King George III by shooting at him. Hadfields attorney, the great
barrister Thomas Erskine, saved him from the gallows by convincing the court of
Hadfields insanity. English legal precedent was set regarding the required necessity
of sanity to establish criminal responsibility. The case and the precedent certainly
influenced legal thinking throughout the western world.
9. BRITAIN DEFEATED
NAPOLEON WHILE KING GEORGE WAS INCAPACITATED. Ironically, King George III himself had periods of insanity throughout
his adult life, certainly as early as 1788. By 1810 his madness now thought perhaps
to be the result of a congenital disease called porphyria had completely taken over
his mind, and he was judged unfit to rule during the final decade of his reign, when his
first son became Regent, or acting monarch. Unfortunately, King George III was not in control when
Britain finally overcame the two greatest problems of his reign: beating
Napoleon once and
for all at Waterloo in 1812, and establishing a positive relationship with the
States of America after losing the War of 1812.
10. KING GEORGE
III FATHERED 15
CHILDREN AND BUILT A NEW PALACE TO PUT THEM.
The great legacy of King George III may have been his
progeny. His German-born queen, Charlotte, presented him no fewer than 15 children, of
whom two, George IV and
William IV, ascended to the British throne. George III purchased a
London townhouse for his queen and had it lavishly expanded. By the time his
granddaughter, Victoria, became Queen, in 1837, this old residence of the Dukes of
Buckingham had been remade into Buckingham Palace, and London home to future Kings and
Queens of Britain.