William IV: A Portrait

Queen Victoria’s uncle and immediate predecessor was a good-humoured, simple-minded sovereign, whose bustling amiability much endeared him to his subjects, writes Joanna Richardson.

At nine o’clock on the evening of Thursday, July 15th, 1830, the funeral procession of George IV made its way through the precincts of Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel. There were the trumpets and kettledrums, and the drums and fifes of the Foot Guards.

Then came the six banners, borne by peers, and the crowns of the United Kingdom and Hanover, borne by Kings of Arms. Then came the household dignitaries and then the coffin, its pall supported by six dukes and four eldest sons of dukes. The duke of Wellington bore the Sword of State.

And then came the chief mourner. King William IV wore ‘a long Purple Cloak, with the Star of the Order of the Garter embroidered thereon’, and the Collars of the Garter, the Bath, the Thistle, St Patrick, and the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order.

He was dizzy with delight at being King of England, and ‘talked incessantly and loudly to all about him, so that the most frivolous things were overheard’.

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