King William IV

 

King William IVKing William IV was born the third son of George III and Sophia Charlotte Mecklenburg (Queen Charlotte). He had two older brothers so he was never expected to inherit the Crown.

 

At the age of 13 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman and was present at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, which was a battle off the coast of Portugal, on 16 Jan 1780, during the Anglo-Spanish War.

 

He also served in New York during the Revolutionary War. At the time he was in New York, there was a plot by George Washington to kidnap Prince William and another Royal Navy Admiral. The British found out about it and assigned guards to protect Prince William. He later became an Admiral in the Royal Navy. Because of his Naval Service he was known as the "Sailor King".

 

Prince William from 1791 to 1811, lived with Dorothea Bland, an Irish actress, who went by her stage name "Mrs. Jordan". William was not concerned with having illegitimae children or cohabitation with a woman, due to the fact he never expected to be King. During the 20 years cohabitated with Dorothea Bland, they had ten illegitimate children, 5 boys and five girls. They were all given the surname of FitzClarence.

 

On 11 July 1818 in Kew, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the daughter of George I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. She was 25 years old, half the age of William. During their marriage they had two daughters that were short-lived and three miscarriages. The Queen remained with William until his death.

 

It is believed that Prince William had other illegitimate children in which no record was kept. One in particualr is my great Great Grandfather John S. Haslam. His mother was Elizabeth (Betsy) Haslam. You can read his biography in this webpage.

 

On 26 June 1830 King George IV died, who was the brother of Prince William, who was then "the Duke of Clarence". Prince William then became William IV. He was 64 years of age and at that time was the oldest person to assume the British Throne.

King William unlike his brother King George IV, tried to endear himself to the people. He dismissed his brother's French Cook and German Band, replacing them with English ones to public approval. He also walked the streets of London and made himself accessible to the public. He also gave much of King George IV's art collection to the Nation.

 

William's reign was short, but eventful. During his reign the House of Commons rose in power and the House of Lords declined. He disolved Parliament and was unsuccessful in his attempt to remove the Melbourne ministry, which reduced the political influence of the Crown and the King's influence with the people. None of Williams successors has attempted to remove a government or appoint another against the wishes of Parliament.

 

During Williams reign Parliament enacted a lot of reforms including The Factory Act, which prevented child labour, the Abolition Act, which emancipated the slaves in the Colonies and the Poor Law, which standardized the provisions for the destitute.

 

King William IV died on the morning of 20 June 1837 at Windson Castle, where he was buried. He had no legitimate heirs, so the Crown past to Princess Victoria of Kent, the only child of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, George III's fourth Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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