Succession to the Crown: King George III

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As the official public record since 1665, The Gazette has been recording successions to the Crown for over three centuries. As part of our ‘Succession to the Crown’ series, historian Russell Malloch looks through the archives at the accession and reign of King George III, as described in The Gazette.



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Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay

Accession Council

The crowns of Great Britain and Ireland passed to King George II’s grandson when he expired at Kensington Palace in October 1760 (Gazette issue 10046), as his eldest son Frederick had died nine years earlier, and his eldest grandchild Augusta was unable to succeed to the Crown because of her gender.

This reign would witness major changes being made to the scope of the royal authority as regards to both the nature and the number of British honours, as the Order of the Bath was reformed, three orders of knighthood were created, and decorations were introduced to reward naval and military services in the fight against enemies such as France and the United States of America.

The council at which the accession of King George III was “openly and solemnly proclaimed”, to use the wording of the act of 1708, was held at Carlton House on the day of his grandfather’s death. The London Gazette published the conventional form of proclamation with the names of more than 50 individuals who signed, led as usual by the archbishop of Canterbury and also including the lord mayor of London, Sir Thomas Chitty, who was knighted when the city delivered an address on the King’s coming of age in 1759 while he was still Prince of Wales.

The formal procedure was observed in Scotland, and The Gazette recorded the proclamation ceremony in Edinburgh on 29 October (Gazette issue 10051). A separate system still operated in Ireland, where the lords justices and others gathered in Dublin to confirm the prince’s status as king of Ireland on 1 November 1760 (Gazette issue 10053). This was the last accession ceremony to be organised for the kingdom of Ireland, as the separate crown had disappeared by the time that George III’s son came to the throne in 1820.

King of France

The 1760 council took place while Britain was at war with France, and it would be the last Accession Council at which the British sovereign was formally proclaimed as king of France. The long and often strained relationship between the Crown and France saw King George use his accession declaration to refer to succeeding to the throne at a time when it was necessary to prosecute peace in what he described as a just and necessary war that came to be known as the Seven Years’ War.

The Gazette had reported the declaration of war in May 1756 because of “the unwarrantable proceedings” of the French in the West Indies and North America, and actions to harm British interests in Nova Scotia and elsewhere (Gazette issue 9583). The campaign lasted until March 1763, when The Gazette noticed the heralds proclaiming peace with France (and also peace in the war against Spain in a conflict that started less than a year after the coronation) (Gazette issue 10298).

British heritage

The first counsellors of the reign were sworn in at Saville House in London in October 1760 when the King’s brother Edward, Duke of York, and his former tutor and future prime minister John Stuart, Earl of Bute, were admitted. On the following day, 28 October, the King conferred the first of the many knighthoods of his long reign on Thomas Rawlinson and Francis Gosling, two of London’s aldermen after the city delivered an address on his accession and to condole the loss of his grandfather (Gazette issue 10047).

Some of the loyal addresses stressed the King’s local origin. The city’s officials described “our peculiar happiness, that your Majesty’s heart is truly English, and that you have discovered in your earliest years the warmest attention to the laws and constitution of these your kingdoms; laws so excellently formed, that as they give liberty to the people, they give power to the prince; and are a mutual support of the prerogative of the Crown, and the rights of the subject.”

Less than a month later the King returned to the theme of his birthplace, when he spoke for the first time in Parliament and said “Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton” (Gazette issue 10053). The King also referred to foreign affairs and the war with France, including events in Canada and advantages gained in the East Indies.

The Accession Council had not adopted any title to recognise the King’s personal interest in Hanover, and he said nothing to Parliament about his family’s court and estates in Europe. In marked contrast to the routine of his grandfather and great-grandfather, George III never visited Hanover, a nation that was foreign to him in a way that it could never have been to his predecessors. As the King never left England for Hanover – or anywhere else – there was no need for a regent or guardian, or for justices to administer the government during his absence.

The King may have relished his English heritage, but the personal link between the Crown and Hanover continued to feature in royal settings in Great Britain, as the Hanoverian quarter remained in the royal arms, and the King’s German and imperial titles continued to appear in the great seal and the coinage.

King George III and Queen Charlotte Coronation Medal 1761

Award of honours

The reign began with the largest admission of members to an order of knighthood since the formation of the Bath in 1725, as many of the stalls in King Henry VII’s Chapel were filled in April 1761, and The Gazette reported that eleven Red Ribands had been conferred, with one stall being allocated to Major-General Jeffrey Amherst, the commander of the British forces in North America, who received his insignia in New York later that year.

The knights were installed in May 1761 in a ceremony that was supervised by Sir William Stanhope, a founder knight and acting great master. The Gazette reported the order’s proceedings in Westminster Abbey (Gazette issue 10108), as well as royal events later that year, as the knights of the Bath were assigned places when the King married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz on 8 September (Gazette issue 10138), and when the royal couple were crowned two weeks later.

The coronation ceremony retained a place for the golden spurs to symbolise the King’s place in the honours system and his link with the knighthood of the Bath. In 1761 they were carried by the Earl of Sussex, whose father had performed that role in 1714, and whose grandfather, Lord Grey de Ruthyn, carried the spurs for James II, William and Mary and Queen Anne (Gazette issue 10142).

The King’s health

Less than four years after the coronation it was the King’s health rather than his location that caused legislation to be drafted to protect the royal authority, as he delivered a speech to Parliament in April 1765 in which he referred to his “late indisposition” that “led me to consider the situation, in which my kingdoms, and my family, might be left, if it should please God to put a period to my life, whilst my successor is of tender years” (Gazette issue 10516). In May 1765 assent was given to a statute that provided for the administration of the government if the Crown should pass to any of the King’s children when they were under 18 years of age (Gazette issue 10522). At this stage his family consisted of the two year old Prince George, and his younger brother Frederick.

The act borrowed from the 1751 legislation that followed the death of the Prince of Wales, and contemplated a regent being assisted by a council, consisting of the King’s brothers and several other persons. The regent was to be the Queen or the Princess Dowager of Wales, or one of the other persons defined in the act, who were to exercise the royal powers until the King’s successor reached their 18th birthday.

As happened before, and would happen on a number of occasions in the future, the legislation was not required as Prince George lived beyond the age of 18 years, and he was joined by several brothers and sisters before the end of the reign, with the result that the royal authority remained in the King’s control until his physical incapacity led to the start of a more extensive form of regency in 1811.

The King’s capacity to reign had led to discussions about protecting the royal authority on several occasions, and The Gazette reported a period of particular difficulty in the late 1780s, but that crisis passed and the King was able to attend a service to give thanks for his recovery in St Paul’s Cathedral in April 1789 (Gazette issue 13090).

Order of St Patrick Star

Honours system

The Gazette reflected the considerable growth in the British honours system that took place during the 50 or so years of George III’s personal reign. That growth reflected the increasing role that London played in the government of people and places that were spread across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and saw royal functions being delegated in a way that led to investitures being performed in locations as far apart as India and New York. The overseas dimension also saw patents being issued under the great seal to grant the honour of knighthood where the individual was unlikely to be able to travel to England to be dubbed by the King.

The Gazette also reported some modest domestic developments, including the nomination of the first royal knight of the Thistle in 1770 (Prince William, later Duke of Clarence) (Gazette issue 11031), and the widening of the membership of the Garter in 1786 by excluding the sovereign’s sons from counting towards the statutory maximum of 25 knights (Gazette issue 12756).

There were more material developments in Ireland, as the King approved the creation of the Order of St Patrick, which was intended to operate as an honour for Irish peers, just as the Garter and Thistle were usually reserved for English and Scottish noblemen. The London Gazette did not record all the corporate activities of the order, as that role was usually taken by The Dublin Gazette, which had started to be published at the beginning of the 18th century.

The Irish dimension was clear from the early proceedings, for although no letters patent passed under the Irish seal (contrary to the terms of the royal warrant of 5 February 1783 that started the process), the role of managing the Irish “society or brotherhood” was delegated to the King’s representatives in Dublin. The original statutes determined that if, as expected, the King was absent from Ireland then “his lord lieutenant general and general governor of this realm, or his lord deputy, or lord justices for the time being” should be the grand masters of the order, “and shall do all things, and enjoy all privileges, rights, and prerogatives, and do all manner of things touching the said Most Illustrious Order, in as ample a manner as we ourselves could have done as sovereign [...] if we ourselves had been present within the said realm.”

In practice the lord lieutenant general and general governor (who was usually known as the lord lieutenant), acted as the sole grand master, and as such he supervised the installation of the knights in Dublin, just as the commissioners and/or the great master did for the knights of the Garter and the Bath. He was also authorised to invest members with their insignia (Gazette issue 12424), a function that the sovereign normally exercised in person in the other orders.

The lord lieutenant also retained the long-standing right of being able to confer other honours on the sovereign’s behalf, as happened after the first installation of knights of St Patrick in March 1783, when he knighted William Hawkins, Ulster king of arms, during a banquet in Dublin Castle (Gazette issue 12426).

Black and white illustration of the Battle of the Glorious First of June

War with France

The most significant factor that persuaded the King’s ministers of the need to expand the honours system, not least in terms of the number of individuals who could receive a royal mark of favour, was the conflict with France, which spanned more than two decades from 1793 until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815.

The honours that were designed to reward services during that period include a series of gold medals and chains for officers of the Royal Navy, which were introduced after Admiral Howe’s victory against a French fleet in the Atlantic Ocean in June 1794. The direct link between the naval distinctions and the King, rather than the first lord of the Admiralty or some other department of state or parliamentary body, was obvious from what happened at Portsmouth shortly after the battle was won when, on board HMS Queen Charlotte (Gazette issue 13680):

“The King, on his coming upon the quarter-deck presented Admiral Earl Howe with a sword, richly set with diamonds, and likewise with a gold chain to be worn about the neck; and he also presented Admiral Sir Alexander Hood, Rear-Admiral Gardner, and Sir Roger Curtis First Captain of the Fleet, with similar chains; to each of which is to be suspended a medal now preparing for that purpose.”

The United Kingdom

The royal authority that existed when King George travelled to Portsmouth to present gold chains to Lord Howe to commemorate his victory against the French fleet on “the Glorious First of June” in 1794, was altered at the start of the new century, after assent was given by the King in London on 2 July (Gazette issue 15272), and by the lord lieutenant in Dublin on 1 August 1800 to two acts “for the union of Great Britain and Ireland” (Gazette issue 15282).

The statutes contained several articles of the union of the kingdoms that impacted on the royal authority and established the legal authority for the sovereign to issue proclamations that dealt with certain specified matters, such as the royal style and titles, and the succession to the Crown. The first article was the most significant in this regard, as it declared that:

“the said kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall, upon the first day of January which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, and for ever after, be united into one kingdom, by the name of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; and that the royal stile and titles appertaining to the imperial Crown of the said United Kingdom and its dependencies, and also the ensigns armorial, flags and banners thereof, shall be such as his Majesty, by his royal proclamation under the great seal of the United Kingdom, shall be pleased to appoint.”

The second article determined that:

“the succession to the imperial Crown of the said United Kingdom, and of the dominions thereunto belonging, shall continue limited and settled in the same manner as the succession to the imperial Crown of the said kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland now stands limited and settled, according to the existing laws, and to the terms of union between England and Scotland.”

The articles did not address the award of honours, and no change was made to the structure or the purpose of the honours system because of the formation of the United Kingdom. There was no alteration to the role of the Orders of the Garter, Thistle and St Patrick, which had generally been reserved for members of the peerages of England, Scotland and Ireland and continued to be limited in that way. On the other hand, the union led to a new type of peerage and a new Privy Council that would have a role to play in royal affairs, as the first proclamations that were issued under the great seal of the United Kingdom were made “by and with the advice” of the council.

The constitutional changes came at a difficult time for the nation as the first of the post-union Gazettes which reported details about the new flag and royal titles also reported legislation and proclamations to deal with food shortages that were caused by poor harvests and the war with France.

Union matters

As happened in 1707 when England and Scotland were united, there was no special Accession Council to mark the King’s altered status when Great Britain and Ireland merged, but The Gazette reported the first meeting of the new Privy Council.

The first matter related to the legality of proceedings. The great seal of Great Britain was defaced in the King’s presence, and the first seal of the United Kingdom was delivered to the lord chancellor to be used for patents to grant the dignities of peer, baronet and knight bachelor and so on. The seal retained the image of the King on his throne, while the counterseal showed him on horseback with a distant view over the fleet, and the revised regal titles, which retained the references to his German duchies and status in the Holy Roman Empire.

The King issued his first proclamations under the new seal on 1 January 1801 and, in accordance with the first article of the union, he declared by and with the advice of the Privy Council that his style and titles would be “George the Third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith” (Gazette issue 15324). That designation would be used by successive sovereigns until 1876 when the words “Empress of India” were added, and it was then subject to a number of other alterations during the 20th century.

Royal Arms of United Kingdom, 1801 -1816The proclamation was significant as it omitted any reference to the title of king of France, which was left to the ill-fated House of Bourbon, and it removed the French fleur-de-lis from the royal inheritance, as the arms or ensigns armorial of the United Kingdom were to have four quarters, with England first and fourth, Scotland second and Ireland third, and “on a escocheon of pretence the arms of our dominions in Germany, ensigned with the Electoral bonnet.” The new arms appeared in The Gazette for the first time on 17 January 1801 (Gazette issue 15328).

The honours system retained an Irish dimension after 1801, as peers were created under the seal of Ireland for some years after the union, and a separate administration and Privy Council continued to operate in Dublin. The lord lieutenant also retained the right to confer honours on the King’s behalf, and most of the Irish awards were noticed in The Dublin Gazette rather than The London Gazette.

Military honours

The principal change to the honours system in the decade between the union and the start of the regency in 1811 was the extension of the award of gold medals from the navy to the army, beginning with the grant of distinctions for services at the battle of Maida in southern Italy in 1806, and later to reward the efforts of the British and allied troops on the Iberian Peninsula.

The fact that the military honours were granted under the royal authority was evident from the text that appeared in The Gazette when the names of Maida medallists were announced in February 1808: “His Majesty having been graciously pleased to command, that, in commemoration of the brilliant and decisive victory obtained by a division of his army under the command of Major-General Sir John Stuart, 4th July 1806, on the plains of Maida, the undermentioned officers of the army, engaged on that day, should enjoy the privilege of bearing a medal” (Gazette issue 16121).

The precedent of 1808 is still followed today. This means that the decorations and medals that were conferred for the 20th century operations in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland were all awarded in the name of the Queen, rather than the prime minister, or a secretary of state, or the Ministry of Defence. At the same time the determination of the operations for which honours are granted, and the selection of the recipients of awards for operations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland, are matters that rest with the authorities who are responsible to Parliament for the armed forces, just as happened with the men who served under Sir John Stuart.

The largest list of military awards to appear in The Gazette up to that point in time was published in September 1810, when more than 100 officers were noticed for their part during the early battles of the Peninsular War. The recipients included men such as Sir John Moore, who fell at the battle of Corunna in northern Spain, and Lord Wellington, who saw action in Portugal and Spain before he helped to secure the final victory over Napoleon at Waterloo (Gazette issue 16403).

The names of many, although not all, of the recipients of the military medals were gazetted, while the decoration itself was generally sent to officers, rather than being presented by the King at an investiture that was reported in The Gazette, in contrast to what happened with the insignia of most of the orders of knighthood at that period.

King George III Golden Jubilee Medal 1810

Anniversary of accession

The last honour that was conferred by King George III in person before the start of the regency was the knighthood that Captain James Yeo of the Royal Navy received at the Queen’s Palace in London on 20 June 1810 (Gazette issue 16380), almost 50 years after the King knighted the London aldermen who presented an address at the beginning of his reign.

No official medals had been sanctioned to mark any of the previous anniversaries of the King’s accession, but The Gazette noticed several developments (but no medals) that were associated with his golden jubilee, such as the proclamations from October 1809 in which the King explained that he was “desirous to mark the fiftieth anniversary of our accession to the throne” by pardoning seamen, marines and members of the land forces who had deserted (Gazette issue 16308).

The Gazette published some of the jubilee addresses, including one the King received at Windsor Castle on the day of the anniversary – 25 October 1809 – from the dean and canons of St George’s Chapel (Gazette issue 16309). A few days later the King was presented with a similar address from the city of London, and The Gazette recorded the award of a baronetcy for the lord mayor, while one of the aldermen was knighted on the same occasion (Gazette issue 16311).

No steps were taken to present addresses or award any honours to mark the completion of the King’s 50th year on the throne in late October 1810, but by this time the life of the court had been overshadowed by the sovereign’s failing health, and by the illness of the King’s youngest daughter Amelia, who died at the start of November.

The Regency

The most extensive and enduring delegation of the royal authority to take place since The London Gazette was first published was caused by the physical incapacity of King George III, and was the result of the Regency Act that was passed on 5 February 1811.

The act explained that “by reason of the severe indisposition with which it hath pleased God to afflict the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, the personal exercise of the royal authority by His Majesty is, for the present, so far interrupted that it becomes necessary to make provision for assisting His Majesty in the administration and exercise of the royal authority.”

Parliament placed the regal power in the hands of the King’s eldest son George, Prince of Wales, who exercised the authority under the title of regent of the United Kingdom. He was required to take certain oaths to enable him to act lawfully, and was prohibited from granting “any rank, title or dignity of the peerage, by letters patent, writ of summons or any other manner whatever”, or of taking certain other steps relating to the peerage until 1 February 1812, or another date that was determined by reference to the parliamentary timetable.

The act committed the King’s physical care to Queen Charlotte and a council, but there was no council for the Regent of the kind that had been designed to manage the exercise of the royal authority under the 1765 act that addressed his father’s first “indisposition”.

Portrait of George, Prince of Wales (future King George IV) by William Beechey

Regency Council

A meeting of almost 100 privy counsellors was convened at Carlton House in London on 6 February 1811 and recalled the format of an Accession Council as it included the archbishop of Canterbury, the prime minister and the speaker of the House of Commons. The Regent took and subscribed the necessary oaths and declarations, and the proceedings were reported in an extraordinary Gazette (Gazette issue 16450).

The act did not restrict the period during which the Regent could award honours apart from peerages, but in practice he observed the one-year time limit before making any appointments to the orders, with the result that The Gazette did not announce any members joining an order before February 1812.

That said, the Regent exercised the royal authority in other ways during his first year in charge. In November 1811, for example, he was pleased “in the name and on behalf of His Majesty” to command that the gold medal that was instituted by his father for the army should be issued to the officers who were present when Thomas Graham secured a “brilliant victory obtained over the enemy” at Barrosa in the south of Spain (Gazette issue 16539).

The Regent also dealt with the subject of foreign honours during that first year, as when he authorised Captain George Hoste of the Royal Engineers to accept the insignia of a Sicilian order for “the great courage and intrepidity displayed by him in the action fought by the Spartan frigate against a squadron of the enemy in the Bay of Naples” (Gazette issue 16561).

The prince eventually performed the royal functions in full and was responsible for signing warrants appointing members to the orders, and for investing individuals with their insignia, as well as playing his part in other routine aspects of the honours system.

Military honours

The Regent was responsible for approving the major changes to the honours system that were proposed by the government led by the Earl of Liverpool. In doing so, he employed the royal powers to an extent that went far beyond the act of any guardian or regent or justice who administered affairs in London while King William hunted in Holland, or the first two Georges stayed in Hanover.

In October 1813, for example, he authorised a series of campaign crosses, medals and clasps for army officers (Gazette issue 16785), and in January 1815 he sanctioned the complete overhaul of the Order of the Bath, which was increased from one to three classes (Gazette issue 16972), while the old system of gold medals was brought to an end. These changes reflected the British government's wish to be better equipped to recognise the services of naval and military officers during the long and grinding war against France.

The impact of the Regent’s actions was obvious from the pages of The Gazette, as more than 700 men joined the Bath during the first year of its three-class structure. That figure may be compared with a total of just under 200 knights who joined the order in almost 90 years since the original single-class constitution was established in the time of King George I.

The Regent’s personal role in the honours system was also extended, as he assumed responsibility for knighting and investing members of the first and second classes of the Bath when they were in England, while the insignia of the much larger number of third class members was invariably sent to the recipient.

The great regency reform is still evident in the insignia that is worn by members of the military division of the Bath, as their badges and stars incorporate the motto “Ich Dien”, which recalls the work done by the Prince of Wales in 1815.

The Regent also featured in the medal that commemorated Wellington’s victory at the battle of Waterloo. The Gazette of March 1816 reported that the medal would be conferred on every officer, non-commissioned officer and soldier who was present when Napoleon was defeated in June 1815 (Gazette issue 17130), and in due course the medal was struck, but showing the name and effigy of the Regent rather than the King.

The Regent also usurped his father’s place on the Guelphic Medal (a decoration that was used in Hanover but not the United Kingdom), which displayed the prince’s portrait and the inscription “Georg Prinz Regent”. The King’s position remained secure on the great seal of the realm, and his portrait and titles were retained in the design of the coinage that was introduced in February 1817, while The Gazette notices continued to be published in the name and on behalf of the King rather than the Regent.

Order of St Michael and St George Star from 1820

Overseas Orders

Two orders were instituted during the regency to serve royal interests in Hanover and the Mediterranean. The Guelphic Order was created in 1815, while the Order of St Michael and St George arrived in 1818.

The first was established as a Hanoverian honour, but one with an important British dimension which reflected the Regent’s principal place of residence. The second was created by patent under the great seal of the United Kingdom, but was limited to the narrow purpose of serving British interests in the Mediterranean until the 1860s when the Ionian Islands were ceded to Greece and it began to operate more widely within the Empire.

The ‘colonial’ orders provided an early example of the royal authority being delegated on a formal basis, for although appointments to the orders were always made in the King’s name, the process of knighting and investing members was left to senior officials who were resident at the locations where the orders operated.

The Order of St Michael and St George’s founding patent of April 1818 declared that “we, our heirs and successors, protectors of the […] United States of the Ionian Islands, and sovereigns of the […] island of Malta and its dependences, shall for ever be sovereign and chief” of the order. The link between the sovereignty and the Mediterranean islands lasted until 1850, when the Ionian and Maltese provisions were removed, which allowed the sovereignty of the order to pass without regard to any interests the Crown retained in those islands.

The statutes allocated the role of the sovereign’s deputy, or grand master, to the lord high commissioner in the Ionian Islands, or to some other senior officer in the Mediterranean, and authorised him to “confer the honour of knighthood” and “then decorate the new knight with the ensigns of the order, giving at the same time the following admonition ‘Receive from my hands, by the most high command of His Majesty the sovereign, the ensigns of grand cross, commander...’.”

This provision also lapsed in the 1850s, when the sovereign assumed personal responsibility for investing members of the two senior classes, unless they were absent from the United Kingdom, in which case the sovereign could issue a warrant, countersigned by a secretary of state and sealed with the seal of the order “to authorize some distinguished officer […] or other person, to perform […] the ceremony of investing such knights grand cross and knights commanders with the insignia of their respective dignities.”

The Gazette provided limited information about the business of the colonial orders at this period, as the Mediterranean appointments were not noticed at all until after the reforms of the 1860s, and the Guelphic references were limited to situations where some (but not all) of the British members were knighted by the Regent, as in February 1817 when Major-General Robert Bolton, a knight commander of the order, was knighted at Carlton House (Gazette issue 17248).

Royal Arms of United Kingdom, 1816-1820The Gazette dealt with other aspects of the royal authority that were exercised by the Regent on his father’s behalf, including the grant of licences to accept and wear foreign decorations, the regulation of the use of titles, and matters of precedence.

Kingdom of Hanover

A new great seal was approved by the Privy Council in August 1815, when the old seal was defaced in the Regent’s presence, and the new seal was given to the lord chancellor (Gazette issue 17048). The seal did not refer to the title of king of Hanover, which had recently been substituted for that of elector of the Holy Roman Empire, and the design also omitted any German titles. A similar process of removing the German dimension from some other public places was followed in, for example, the design for the silver coinage of 1817 (Gazette issue 17222).

The Regent even altered the royal arms by proclamation on 8 June 1816, but rather than remove all reference to his father’s German titles, in line with the practice for the great seal and coins, the change was more modest, and he simply replaced what was known as the electoral bonnet with the crown of Hanover.

Portrait of King George III by Thomas Lawrence

Family planning

The succession to the Crown became a matter of grave concern after the death of the Regent’s only daughter Princess Charlotte in November 1817, as all of his brothers’ children were unable to inherit the throne because of their mothers’ status.

The Gazette reported the family arrangements that were made to try to secure the succession for one of the Regent’s brothers, and the three marriage ceremonies that were conducted during 1818 as part of that scheme. The process began at the Queen’s Palace in June when the Duke of Cambridge married Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel (Gazette issue 17365), and this was followed by a similar service at Kew in July to unite the Duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Leiningen, and the Duke of Clarence and Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (Gazette issue 17378).

Each of the three marriages produced children who were able to succeed to the throne, with the birth of Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Clarence in Hanover in March 1819, followed by the arrival of Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent at Kensington Palace in May (Gazette issue 17480). The 1819 births resolved the succession problem, as the Crown eventually passed to the Duke of Clarence and although his children had died by the time he came to the throne, on his death in 1837 the royal authority devolved on the daughter of the late Duke of Kent.

King George III never regained control of the royal authority before he expired at Windsor Castle on 29 January 1820 (Gazette issue 17558).

About the author

Russell Malloch is a member of the Orders and Medals Research Society and an authority on British honours.

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See also

Gazette Firsts: The history of The Gazette and royal coronations

The Demise of Queen Elizabeth II and Accession of King Charles III

Queen Elizabeth II - In Memoriam

Images (in order of appearance)

The Gazette

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Noonans of Mayfair

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Getty Images

1801-1816, Arms of King George III of the United Kingdom

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

1816-1820, Arms of King George III of the United Kingdom

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Publication updated: 3 November 2022

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.