King George IV

1762 - 1830

The first British monarch to visit Scotland since the Treaty of Union in 1707. George IV was born at St. James's Palace in London, the eldest son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. He was noted for his profligate and flamboyant lifestyle, and built up extraordinary debts. In 1785, he secretly married Maria Fitzherbert. Ten years later, he was forced to marry his cousin Princess Caroline of Brunswick but this lasted little more than a year and he returned to Mrs Fitzherbert, between several other mistresses. Despite a difficult relationship with his father, and his maintenance of an alternative court for many years, he served as Regent during his father's final years. He succeeded his father in 1820 and his coronation the following year was an exceptionally lavish affair. By this time George was massively overweight and suffering from gout, having spent years eating too much and drinking heavily.

George IV visited Scotland only once in 1822, but as the first visit by a reigning monarch since King Charles II in 1650 and was therefore a cause for great celebration. The visit was organised by Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and lasted only sixteen days, but was seen as a great success.

He died at Windsor Castle and lies buried there in St. George's Chapel. His only legitimate child - Charlotte - had died aged only 21 and so the throne passed to George's younger brother King William IV (1765 -1837).

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