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King George I

Royalty

Born: 28 May 1660
Died: 11 June 1727
Birthplace: Osnabrück, Hanover, Germany
Best known as:

 

The first Hanoverian king of England, 1714-27

 

George I was the first Hanoverian king of England and Ireland, a German who was on the throne from 1714 until his death in 1727. He was born to the first Elector of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, and his mother Sophia was the granddaughter of James I of England. George himself inherited the post of Elector (1698), and came to the English throne by way of his mother's line. She was heir to Queen Anne, but died in 1714. Anne then died just a few months later, and George was chosen as a result of Parliament's desire to have a Protestant on the throne; he didn't want to leave Hanover, but he went to England and was crowned on 20 October 1714. During his years on the throne, George I was not well loved by his subjects. He was reclusive, didn't speak English and was considered a mean-spirited oaf. In part this was because he'd had his wife's lover killed (probably) in 1694, then imprisoned her in a castle in Germany, where she died three decades later, unable to see her two children, George Augustus and Sophia. Meanwhile, King George I lived with his mistresses and, in later years, had a stormy relationship with his son, the heir to the throne. The end result of his reign was a more solid constitutional monarchy (thanks in large part to the work of his political right-hand man, Robert Walpole), and a line of Hanovers that extended all the way up to Queen Victoria. He fought off repeated attempts at usurpation by the Jacobites (James Stuart supporters), but his heart seemed to be in Hanover. He was on his way home there in 1727 when he was felled by a catastrophic stroke. He was succeeded by his son (George Augustus), who became King George II.

Extra credit:

 

King George I's daughter by his first wife, Sophia, became the mother of Frederick the Great… King George I had two Turks as servants, Mahomet and Mustapha. He'd captured them during his early military career, and in the English court they served him as personal valets and political confidantes… At the worst point of his relationship with George Augustus, King George I booted his son from the palace and held onto young George's three children as hostages; eventually father and son found an uneasy truce.

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