The Georges presided over a remarkable era of British history which saw the emergence of many institutions and habits that we regard as quintessentially British today.
The Hanoverians surrounded themselves with courtiers; elegant, but decadent and riven with intrigue and scandal, the royal court captured society’s imagination and turned the Georgian monarchs and their courtiers into celebrities.
Celebrating the 300-year anniversary
In 2014, 300 years after the accession of George I, the Georgian court and its intriguing cast of royal characters are brought to life at Hampton Court, Kensington and Kew Palaces this year with The Glorious Georges.
German born George I was a shy king who spoke very little English and missed his native Hanover.
The King had a troubled personal life; he left his wife, Sophia Dorothea, imprisoned in a castle in Germany as she had been unfaithful and his relationship with his son Prince George (later George II) deteriorated into an open feud.
Notoriously short tempered, George II was a military enthusiast with a powerful and accomplished wife.
In the first ten years of George II’s reign, Kensington Palace was the glittering centre of court life where politicians, intellectuals and fashionable people vied for favour.
George III was a cultured king who had fifteen children and was the first of the Hanoverian Kings to have been born in Britain.
He is known for suffering periods of ‘madness’ and losing the American colonies. However, he was also an active patron of the arts and sciences with a keen interest in architecture and agricultural developments.
George IV was known for his extravagant lifestyle. He had many mistresses, spent ludicrous amounts of money and drank and ate to great excess.
As Prince, he secretly and illegally married the Catholic actress Maria Fitzherbert but, to get a legitimate heir, he married Caroline of Brunswick.
The marriage was not a success and after the birth of their daughter, he tried to divorce her.
The Glorious Georges at the palaces
We are marking the 300 year anniversary of George I's accession to the British throne with The Glorious Georges, a season of events and entertainments across three palaces, exploring the lives of the Hanoverian monarchs. Visitors will become immersed in sensory experiences, evoking the sights, sounds and even smells of the Georgian age. Throughout the year, to complement our new displays, a rich programme of events for all ages will revive the music, fashion and food of the time.
- Get a unique insight into George I and his feud with his son at Hampton Court Palace
- Discover George II and Queen Caroline's glittering court at Kensington Palace
The Hanoverian Succession © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
George I state portrait after Kneller, Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
George II, German School, (c1735 - 40) Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
George III, Thomas Gainsborough, Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II