History Today subscription

The Marriage of George III

One of the longest and happiest, though least fortunate, of British royal marriages was solemnized in 1761. It had been preceded by a lengthy search which, writes Romney Sedgwick, the King himself inspired and conducted, through all the eligible princesses of Europe.

Soon after George III’s seventeenth birthday, when, as Macaulay puts it, “the mightiest of human instincts ordinarily arises from its repose,” it occurred to his grandfather, George II, that “a matrimonial companion might be no unacceptable amusement.”

The partner selected by the King was the elder daughter of the Duke of Brunswick, a princess so accomplished and good-looking that he said that, if he had been twenty years younger, he would have married her himself.

He was anxious that the match should be concluded before his death, so that his grandson’s mother, the Dowager Princess of Wales, should have no temptation to do a job for her relations by marrying her son to one of the Saxe Gotha family.

On learning of this project, the Princess of Wales, writes Lord Waldegrave, the Prince’s governor, 

did everything in her power to prevent the match.

The Prince of Wales was taught to believe that he was to be made a sacrifice merely to gratify the King’s private interests in the Electorate of Hanover.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week