George II's generation
George II was the last British monarch to lead his troops into battle during the war of the Austrian Succession in 1743, at the age of nearly 60.
His obsession for facts and figures and all things military – including approving the details of British uniforms – gave him the reputation of being a rather dull stickler for routine.
Caroline grew up in the glittering circles of the royal courts of Germany. She was among the most accomplished and intellectual women in Europe.
She ignored the King’s frequent criticism about what he referred to as her interest in ‘lettered nonsense’.
Despite their sometimes tempestuous relationship, George II was utterly devastated when Caroline died in 1737 of an illness she had tried to conceal for as long as possible.
Henrietta Howard was the long suffering mistress of George II. She had sold everything she owned to buy a ticket to Hanover where she planned to ingratiate herself with the future British royal family.
Her gamble paid off and Princess Caroline appointed her Woman of the Bedchamber upon their arrival in England. She also attracted the attention of Prince George and became his mistress.
Henrietta's patience was eventually rewarded and she was given a large enough settlement from George to build her own house, Marble Hill house, in Twickenham.
Robert Walpole was a powerful long serving politician who effectively became Britain's first Prime Minister.
He successfully flattered and negotiated his way to power. He courted the affections of both George I and George II and, more importantly, gained the respect of Queen Caroline who guided the King on many of his political decisions.
His path to wealth and power was secured when he brokered reconciliation between George I and his son.
Lord Hervey was Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household and a great personal friend and confidant of Queen Caroline.
He shared her interest in literature and encouraged her to meet with the top artists and writers of the day. Being so loyal to Caroline, he often sided with her during arguments between the royal couple, much to the King’s fury.
He is best remembered for his personal memoirs - a lively exposé on his time spent in the company of the royal court.
‘This world consists of men, women and Lord Hervey’ - Fellow Courtier Lady Montague.
Molly Lepell was Maid of Honour to Caroline when she was Princess of Wales but chose to defy the rules and marry in secret without royal permission.
Once this court beauty was finally forgiven, the match proved advantageous for her husband, Lord Hervey, who rose to become Vice Chamberlain. However, he continued to have liaisons with both women and men at court.
George II on horseback (Battle of Dettingen) © National Army Museum, London / The Bridgeman Art Library
Queen Caroline, Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Henrietta Howard © English Heritage
A satirical print showing Robert Walpole as The Colossus of Rhodes © The Trustees of the British Museum
Lord Hervey © National Trust Images
Molly Lepell (Lady Hervey) © National Trust Images