Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Madness of King George

George III was rather a dull fellow but inexplicably popular w/ the British peeps nonetheless.  He was admired for his faithfulness to Queen Charlotte, his piety, & his strong moral code.  He attempted to shove it all down his sons' throats & they all promptly rebelled against it as soon as they were able, drinking, gambling, consorting w/ actresses & other low wenches, & just generally carousing & having a good time.

George III

George's idea of a good time was hanging out w/ the wife & kidlets, at least until they got too old to mind him LOL

Queen Charlotte

But shortly after that whole colonial debacle, it became apparent George might not be all there.  In 1788 he suffered from a bout of madness, attributed by some historians to porphyria.  He would ramble on quickly & endlessly for hours, until he would lose his voice & start foaming at the mouth, & then he would ramble some more LOL  He was EZ-ily agitated & thunk he was in love w/ one of the queen's ladies, most shocking considering he'd never had a mistress.  Nobody knew what to do w/ him when this dragged on & so a Dr Francis Willis was recommended to the queen as having made great strides in the infant medical specialty of psychiatry.

Poor old George got slipped into a straitjacket & gagged when he started his incessant discourses, & plasters hot enough to blister his skin were applied to draw out the evil humours.  Willis made him get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, & even being king was no exception to the proscribed programme of physical labor.  Every time it seemed George had a grip on reality he would go bonkers again.  When this had gone on for several months, the POW decided meh the old man's nuts & went to Parliament & said I WANNA BE THE KING NOW!

George, Prince of Wales

Parliament decided that wouldn't do, but they did introduce a Regency Bill that would make young George just as good as king.  He sighed & said OK I'll take it, & can ya throw in an increase in my allowance, BTW, b/c I wanna build me a nice chinoiserie pavilion at Brighton.  Alas for Junior, just like w/ Richard of York, the king suddenly made a miraculous recovery & didn't remember a thing about being a whack job.  Prinny went & sulked, tho he perked up some in 1801 & 1804 when his father had more madness, only to have his hopes dashed once again when the old man recovered.

Even crazy, peeps still liked George.  There were 3 assassination attempts on him btwn the 1st & 2nd bouts of madness by, ironically, insane peeps, & George acted mercifully toward em & didn't yell OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!  There was a final Act of Union passed in 1800 that added Ireland into the mix.  George used the op to drop that pesky King of France thing from his titles that had been hanging there since Edward IIIs day, b/c even a nutty king knew he didn't wanna be no steenking king of the Frenchies what w/ all that guillotining & stuff that was going on there lately.  He did hang onto Henry VIIIs silly Defender of the Faith thingy, tho.  They made loads of fun of his sons in the political cartoons of the day, but peeps were always nice to George.  Well, OK, except for the Americans, who called him "Farmer George" (for his interest in agriculture) & branded him a "tyrant".

The youngest princess, Amelia, grew sickly in her teens, prolly w/ some lingering Tudor gene of tuberculosis.  She was Daddy's fav & he was quite upset as her health continued to deteriorate.  Amelia put a huge bummer on Christmas by demising, aged 27, near the end of 1810.  George had developed a bad case of the rheumatiz, was half-blinded w/ cataracts as well as getting increasingly deaf, & he himself took to his bed, overcome w/ mourning for his daughter. 

This turned into his last & final bout of madness & a Regency Bill was passed thru Parliament in 1811, giving Prinny's ever-widening rump the powers of kingship if not the title.  The queen was named the guardian of the king's person.  George was kept in seclusion at Windsor & no one even told him when Charlotte demised in 1818, as he didn't seem to notice she'd gone missing.  By Christmas of 1819 he started yammering again & wouldn't shut up, but no one had to worry about him becoming violent anymore b/c his arthritis was so bad he couldn't walk & by then he was totally blind & just about deaf.  Kinda pathetic, really.

Finally he demised at age 81 in January 1820, having set the bar for longest-lived monarch & longest-ruling monarch, as he was on the throne for not quite 60 yrs.  Elizabeth II & Victoria have since smashed his records FYI.  George III was the 1st of the Hanoverian monarchs to be born in England, speak English as his primary language, & never once toddle over to Hanover to check it out.  He was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The Prince Regent, 1816, in his Garter robes

Prinny was pushing 60 & prolly thinking the insane old man was gonna never demise & let him get his pudgy mitts on the crown, so he likely jumped up & down as much as his bulk would allow LOL when he got the news that the Regency was over & he could FINALLY have a nice coronation.....

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