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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Victoria here. 2014 marks several significant historical anniversaries.  One hundred years ago, the world became embroiled in the Great War, known nowadays as World War I. Two hundred years ago the Allies triumphed over Napoleon, sent him into exile on Elba, then celebrated their grand victory with a series of London extravaganzas before settling into the Congress of Vienna where they argued over the fate of a non-Napoleonic Europe.

Kensington Palace

Three hundred years ago in 1714, the Hanoverians became Kings of England, when King George I took the throne left vacant by the death of Queen Anne (1665-1714) in August 1714. Anne's several children had predeceased her and at her death, Great Britain was left without a successor as monarch. A few years earlier, after the death of her one child who lived to the age of eleven (William, Duke of Gloucester, 1689-1700), the English Parliament struggled to find a successor to the Queen, a successor who would not restore Roman Catholicism.  The Act of Settlement of 1701 gave the crown, assuming no further children were born to Anne, to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and her Protestant descendants.  She was a granddaughter of James I, and though dozens of Catholic family members had closer ties to Anne, all but Protestants were precluded from the succession.  Sophia, the Electress, had died just two months before Queen Anne's passing; thus, her eldest son was Elector and became British King.

Studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller,  George I, c. 1714 

Georg Ludwig (1660-1727) was 54, the Elector of Hanover, when he became the King of Great Britain and Ireland.  George had married Sophia Dorothea of Celle in 1682. The marriage, though it resulted in two children, was never happy.  When he came to London to receive the British crown, Sophia remained behind in Germany, more or less a prisoner. for the rest of her life. When George I was crowned in Westminster Abbey in October, 1714, there was widespread rioting in opposition to his rule.

However, the politically powerful, mainly the Whigs, kept him in power, even though he never learned to speak English. During his reign, Sir Robert Walpole, first real prime minister, truly ran the government. Many historians see George I's time as big jump in shift of power from the crown to Parliament.

Thomas Hudson: George II, 1744

George II succeeded his father in October, 1727, as the last King of Britain born elsewhere; he also had the distinction of being the last British king to lead his armies in battle during the War of Austrian Succession 1743. He'd had a contentious relationship with his father, and the same could be said of his dealings with his son and heir, Prince Frederick.  But Frederick died before his father and thus the third Hanoverian to wear the British crown was George II's grandson George III, who succeeded in 1760 at the age of 22.

Allan Ramsay, George III, 1762

This year, Historic Royal Palaces celebrate the Hanoverians at three of their popular sites. At Hampton Court, events will center around George I and his reign. You'll meet the Court of George II at the newly renovated Kensington Palace, soon also to be the home of the latest George, Prince George of Cambridge, and his parents Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Her Grace, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.  Kew Palace in Kew Gardens will host events centering on the family of George III, the first of the Hanoverian kings actually to be born in England. 

Hampton Court Palace
There will be a large number of events at all three locations, from scholarly meetings to family activities.  Learn more here.

Join our blogger pal Madame Guillotine as she learns about the Glorious Georges here.   
The Queen's Gallery
 © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Until October 2014, the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace is presenting an exhibition of treasures from the Royal Collection: The 1st Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760Click here for more information.
The Victoria and Albert Museum will also mark the early Georgian period with its exhibition
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, on display until July 13, 2014.  Click here for more information.

Kristine visited this exhibition earlier this year when it was shown in NYC by the co-organizer, the Bard Graduate Center.  See her report here.



Monday, April 14, 2014


Welcome - you are reading our 1,000th post! If you’ve arrived at this page, you must share our interest in all things Georgian, Regency and Victorian, as well as our passion for the England of today. How many of the 999 previous blog posts we've published have you read?  Have you been with us from the start in March 2010?

When we first began this blog, we had no idea how central it would become to our lives...almost everything that happens to either of us is considered possible fodder for a post.   Articles in magazines and newspapers, art exhibitions, books, dinners, plays, concerts, movies, interesting tweets, our travels, our husbands ...would it work for Number One London?  A London connection -- anything vaguely British will do.

But we've also learned a lot from our wanderings on the web and elsewhere. Geography and history foremost among them.  Eccentricities are our favorite -- or wait!  Maybe posts on actors from the old days.  Or do we really prefer some of the new actors like Benedict or Jude or Orlando.  Double wait -- what about Colin and Sean and Alan?
But let's get back to the basics.  We like to research, write, and dream about the Duke of Wellington.
And now we're planning and leading the Duke of Wellington Tour next September.  You are cordially invited to accompany us, meeting up on the 4th of September in London, and visiting around Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire until we depart on September 14 from Windsor, with transfers to Heathrow included. For all the details, click here.

Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey