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A collective biography of the fifteen children of King George III and Queen Charlotte
King George III and Queen Charlotte had fifteen children, born between 1762 and 1783, and all but two survived to maturity. The eldest, who became Prince Regent and later King George IV, is today less remembered for his patronage of the arts than for his extravagance and the harsh treatment of his notorious wife Caroline, who was refused admission to his (and 'her') coronation. The administrative qualities of the second son Frederick, Duke of York, as a conscientious Commander-in-Chief of the British army, are likewise almost forgotten, while King William IV, usually dismissed as a figure of fun, brought a new affability to the monarchy which helped him through the storms engendered during the passage of the Great Reform Bill in 1832.
The princesses, for many years victims of their parents' possessiveness, married only late in life, if at all. Yet they have been disparaged as colourless nonenties.
This book describes the relationships between the siblings and chronologically recounts the life of the family; the intriguing characters who surrounded the royal court; and the princes' liaisons which resulted in the extraordinary situation that when Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of the Prince Regent, died in childbirth in 1817, the elderly and deranged George III did not have a single legitimate grandchild.
'Though our adored sovereign [William IV] is either mad or very foolish,' commented the diarist Emily Eden, 'he is an immense improvement on the last unforgiving animal [George IV], who died sulkily growling in his den at Windsor. This man at least wishes to make everybody happy, and everything he has done has been benevolent.'