Alice’s Restaurant

September 11, 2007

A Case of the Georges

Filed under: Guest Blogs, History, History with Mr. Al, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:02 pm

Mr. Al is back!!  He kept me on tenterhooks long enough.  I had to pry this out of his fingers last night.  I’m so glad I did.

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Early one morning in the year of our Lord 1760, George Augustus, King George the Second of England, went to the bathroom. Nature was not kind to him on this fateful morning. Exerting himself above and beyond, he suffered a stroke and died on a rather different type of throne.

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Waiting in the wings was his grandson, George William Frederick, Now King George the Third.  The reason his grandson inherited the title rather than the son is because the son was already dead  The son, Frederick, had survived into adulthood and had become Prince of Wales, for a while.
As Hanover boys were wont to do, he had become a royal millstone around his father’s neck. The focal point of political opposition to his majesty, Frederick reveled in anything that made his father miserable. .
Said his mum, “If I was to see him in hell, I should feel no more for him than I should any other rogue that ever went there.”

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Dad felt the need to reprimand her for being too soft on the lad. Fortunately, Fred went out to play tennis one day in disagreeable weather. He caught a chill and died. His title passed to his son. Sayth one historian, “When George was thirteen, his absurd father died.” Things didn’t really improve from there.

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Two years into his new job, on August 12, 1762, George the Third’s incredibly fecund wife, Charlotte, gave birth to their first child. The Earl of Huntington, exceeding his authority, he was only the Groom of the Stole, not the Queen’s Chamberlain, ran off to be the first to tell the King that he was the father of a bouncing baby girl. The king, anxious for his Queen’s health, raced to the scene to discover that she was doing just fine. He also discovered that he was the father of a bouncing baby boy. The Earl was sacked, but the die was cast. Misunderstandings and miscommunication would be the rule rather than the exception between father and son henceforward.

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It didn’t help that the two were as different as night and day. Although this did not come to fore until the Prince was a teenager. George the Third, perhaps feeling the sting of his own lack of a proper education, decided the Prince would not be found wanting in this department. The Prince’s early tutors were able enough, if somewhat obscure and unimaginative. “A formal piece of dullness.” Was Horace Walpole’s verdict on one of them, Robert D’Arcy, Fourth Earl of Holderness. Fortunately, the Earl became ill and traveled to the continent to take the waters.

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He kept up a steady stream of letters filled with advice, but left the day to day job of educating the Prince and his brother, Frederick, to one Leonard Smelt and the Prince’s Preceptor, Doctor William Markham. Smelt, an army engineer, was a talented artist and a great lover of literature. Markham, who would one day become Bishop of Chester, was a somewhat pompous fellow who enjoyed hob-nobbing with the rich and powerful. But for all that, he knew what to teach.

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Alas, as he would discover when his boss, D’Arcy, returned from the continent, he didn’t seem to have a grasp on HOW to teach the Prince and his brother. D’Arcy had definite ideas in that department. Rather medieval ideas, as we shall see. But before I can tell you about that, You’ll need to know a bit more about Mum and Dad and the way they saw the world.

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Thank you, Mr. Al .  I love it already.

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Alice

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6 Comments »

  1. Gosh I’ve missed this! Thanks Mr. Al. History with humor, what more can we ask? Till next week!

    Comment by Anastasia — September 12, 2007 @ 5:18 am

  2. Oh I love it!

    Comment by Renee — September 12, 2007 @ 9:30 am

  3. I’m happy to see you back, Mr. Al! I’ve missed your weekly installments too. Great job!

    Laurie

    Comment by Laurie — September 12, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  4. Thank you, Mr. Al. More history, please! 🙂

    Comment by Donna — September 13, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  5. Thank you, loyal readers. There is more to come.

    Comment by Mr Al — September 21, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  6. Thank you, loyal readers. There is more to come.

    Comment by Mr Al — September 21, 2007 @ 3:14 pm


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