Explore the key dates and events in the Georgian period, taken from our Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain exhibition
George I: 1714 – 1727
The king is depicted when he succeeded Queen Anne in 1714: as great-grandson to King James I and a Protestant, he was designated heir. George I arrived without a queen, his wife Sophia Dorothea of Celle having been imprisoned for adultery some years before. An experienced ruler and distinguished soldier, he was also a music lover, noted for his patronage of Handel.
George II: 1727 – 1760
George II succeeded his father George I in 1727. He too had military experience and was the last British king to lead his troops into battle. Unlike his father, George II and his wife Caroline of Ansbach spoke good English and enjoyed society. They shared a love of opera and theatre. This portrait shows him towards the end of his reign.
George III: 1760 – 1820
George III succeeded his grandfather George II in 1760. A patron of the arts and sciences, the king formed great collections of books, maps and music, all of which are on display at the British Library. This portrait shows him in middle age, when he was suffering increasing bouts of insanity, now thought to be caused by the blood disease porphyria. He and his queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, had 16 children and enjoyed a secluded domestic life.
- 1763 Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War: Britain poised to become a world power
- 1776 American Declaration of Independence: Britain subsequently loses America
- 1789–1815 French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars
- 1805 Battle of Trafalgar and death of Admiral Lord Nelson: British sea power is pre-eminent
- 1807 Abolition of the slave trade
George IV: 1820 – 1830
George IV succeeded his father George III in 1820, after nine years as Prince Regent. Passionate about fashion and the arts, his extravagant lifestyle left him with enormous debts and attracted widespread disapproval. Following a secret and illegal marriage to the Catholic Maria Fitzherbert, he married Caroline of Brunswick in 1795. The marriage was a disaster, and although they were not able to divorce, the couple soon separated.