King George II (1727 - 1760)
Name: King George II
Full Name: George Augustus
Born: October 30, 1683 at Herrenhausen, Hanover
Parents: George I and Sophia Dorothea
Relation to Elizabeth II: 5th great-grandfather
House of: Hanover
Ascended to the throne: June 11, 1727 aged 43 years
Crowned: October 11, 1727 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Caroline, daughter of Margrave of Brandenburg
Children: Four sons and five daughters
Died: October 25, 1760 at Kensington Palace, aged 76 years, 11 months, and 25 days
Buried at: Westminster
Reigned for: 33 years, 4 months, 15 days
Succeeded by: his grandson George III
George II was born in Hanover the son of George I and Sophia of Celle. He married Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach in 1705 an attractive and intelligent woman, and they had 9 children. In 1708 he took part in the Battle of Oudenarde in Belgium against the French.
His father became King George I of England in 1714 and he became Prince of Wales. However his father’s treatment of his mother whom he had imprisoned left son George with a hatred of his father and they regularly quarrelled. He was even put under arrest by his father who excluded him from public ceremonies. When his father died in 1727 he became King George II and set about changing his father’s policies. Walpole was expected to be dismissed but survived on the intervention of Queen Caroline.
The death of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1740 led to the European War of Austrian Succession in which the British and Dutch supported Marie Theresa’s claim to the Austrian throne against the Prussians and French. George II personally led his troops at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, becoming the last British monarch to lead his troops into battle. The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, in which Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) landed in Scotland and marched with a Highland army into England, was defeated at Culloden in 1746 and Scottish opposition brutally suppressed by George’s second son Prince William, Duke of Cumberland. Like his father he quarrelled with his eldest son Frederick, Prince of Wales, over his marriage but Frederick died suddenly in 1751.
The final years of his reign saw George retiring from active politics; however it was a period in which British dominance overseas grew. William Pitt became Prime Minister during the Seven years war against France which spread to India and North America. Robert Clive secured the Indian continent for Britain at the Battle of Plassey, and General Wolfe captured Quebec in Canada. George II died in 1760 of an aneurysm while seated on his water closet. He was succeeded by his grandson also called George.
King George II's Signature
‘No I shall have mistresses’ – King George II (to his wife Caroline on her death bed when she suggested that he remarry)
‘Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals’ – King George II (about General Wolfe)
‘I hate all Boets and Bainters’ – King George II on the arts (he spoke with a strong German accent).
He did however have a soft spot for music particularly George Frederick Handel who wrote Zadok the Priest for his coronation and Music for Royal Fireworks to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
Timeline for King George II
|1727||George II succeeds his father, George I.|
|1729||Charles Wesley founds the Methodists at Lincoln College Oxford.|
|1732||A royal charter is granted for the founding of Georgia in America.|
|1732||Lord Frederick North born|
|1734||Jethro Tull publishes essays on improving farming including the use of the seed drill.|
|1737||Death of George’s wife, Queen Caroline.|
|1738||John and Charles Wesley start the Methodist movement in Britain.|
|1739||Dick Turpin, highwayman, hanged at York|
|1739||Britain goes to war with Spain over Captain Jenkins’ ear, claimed to have been cut off in a skirmish at sea.|
|1740||-1748 The War of Austrian Succession breaks out in Europe.|
|1742||Walpole resigns as Prime Minister.|
|1743||George leads troops into battle at Dettingen in Bavaria.|
|1745||Charles Edward Stuart, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', lands in Scotland and raises his flag for the restoration of the Stuarts. 2,000 Jacobites enter Edinburgh. Scottish victory at Prestonpans. Charles and his Jacobite army march South into England and reach Derby before turning back.|
|1746||Scots defeated at the Battle of Culloden. Duke of Cumberland, the King's 2nd son, ruthlessly represses the rebels and Scottish traditions.|
|1748||Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ends the war of Austrian Succession|
|1751||Death of Frederick, Prince of Wales. His son, George, becomes heir to the throne.|
|1752||Britain adopts the Georgian Calendar. 1st January replaces 25 March as the first day of the year.|
|1757||Britain declares war against France. Start of the Seven Years’ War.|
|1757||Robert Clive wins the Battle of Plassey and secures the Indian province of Bengal for Britain.|
|1757||William Pitt becomes Prime Minister|
|1759||Wolfe captures Quebec from the French and establishes British supremacy in Canada.|
|1759||First botanical gardens laid out at Kew|
|1760||George II dies.|