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Hall of Fame: King George IV (Read 3635 times)
Five Fingers
Ex Member



Hall of Fame: King George IV
Jul 2nd, 2003, 3:02pm
 

 
George IV, the eldest son of George III, was born in 1762.  
 
By the 1780s the Prince of Wales had become a gambler, spendthrift, womaniser and an incredible drinker. He was deeply in debt and when Parliament agreed to increase his allowance, George III remarked that it was "a shameful squandering of public money to gratify the passions of an ill-advised young man." The Prince of Wales continued to overspend and my 1795 he had debts of 650,000. In an effort to persuade Parliament to pay off his debts, George agreed to marry his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick. After the birth of a daughter, Princess Charlotte, on 7th January 1796, the couple lived apart.
 
On the death of his father in 1820 George became king. Caroline returned to England to claim her rights as Queen. George IV persuaded Lord Liverpool and his government to bring in an Act of parliament to deprive her of the title Queen and to declare the marriage "for ever wholly dissolved, annulled and made void". King George IV hated his wife and when she refused his offer of 50,000 ($75,000) not to come home, he had her barred from attending Westminister Abbey where they were both due to be crowned. When he was brought news of Napoleon's death, the messenger was not precise enough: "Your Majesty, your greatest enemy is dead!" he announced. The king replied "Is she, by God?"
 
George IV was so despised by the British people that whenever he appeared in public he was surrounded by troops, who tried to catch the stones thrown at him.  
 
George's indulgent lifestyle seriously damaged his health. By the 1820s he was extremely overweight and was addicted to both alcohol and laudanum. George IV also began showing signs of insanity. As he neared death George IV drank gallons of cherry brandy and suffered delusions of having fought and won the battle of Waterloo. His doctor, Sir William Knighton, advised: "His Majesty has only to leave off cherry brandy and, rest assured, he will gain no more victories."  
 
The king became more and more a recluse at Windsor Castle and eventually died in 1830.
 
"Drunk as a Lord" is an expression directly attributable to King George IV.
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