George III – The Mad King
George III was the eldest son of Frederick, the Prince of Wales (eldest son of George II), and Augusta and therefore the grandson of George II. George III and his wife, Charlotte, produced 15 children and were reportedly quite in love, following the example of his paternal grandparents.
George III attempted to reclaim some of the control lost to Parliament during the previous Georges\’ reigns. He tried to weaken the Whig party through bribery, coercion and patronage. Prime Minister, William Pitt the Elder was toppled by Whigs after the Peace of Paris in 1763 (ending the Seven Years\’ War with France) and only yes-men were picked by George as Cabinet members.
England thrived under the peacetime conditions, but George\’s taxation of the American colonies to pay for the expensive war led to an uprising there in 1775. &nsbp; The colonists declared independence in 1776, but George obstinately continued the war until the final American victory at Yorktown in 1781. The Peace of Versailles, signed in 1783, ensured British acknowledgment of the United States of America. The result for George was loss of political power when William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister in 1783.
George III\’s life was not idyllic. He suffered from the same blood disease, porphyria, from which Queen Anne (not his relative) suffered 50 years before. Unfortunately by 1765 George\’s symptoms affected his mind and he was thought mad by anyone who saw him during one of his attacks. In 1811, his son George, the Prince Regent, was given rule of the country. George III died from the effects of his disease on 29 January, 1820.
© 2004 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.