George I of Great Britain (May 28, 1660 - June 11, 1727) was the first Hanoverian King of the Kingdom of Great Britain (as well as King of Ireland) from August 1, 1714, to June 11, 1727. George, unlike most British kings in the past 300 years, did not speak English -- he spoke German and was ridiculed by many of his subjects for this and the harem of German women he maintained, earning him the nickname Geordie Whelps.
King of Great Britain, Ireland
Elector of Hanover
George was born on May 28, 1660 in Hanover, Germany, and was the son of the Electress Sophia of Hanover who was a granddaughter of King James I of England. In 1682, he married Sophia, Princess of Zelle, and they had two children.:
- King George II of Great Britain - (November 10, 1683 - October 25, 1760).
- Sophia Dorothea, later Queen consort of Prussia - (March 26, 1683 - June 28, 1757. Mother of King Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great.
George divorced Sophia in 1694. She had committed adultery with the Swedish count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, whose murder at the command of Countess von Platen he seems to have countenanced, but the grounds for the divorce were not George's or Sophia's adultery, but Sophia's alleged "abandonment" of her husband. George had Sophia imprisoned in the Castle of Ahlden, where she remained until her death in 1726.
George's mother died only a few weeks before her cousin, Queen Anne of Great Britain, and thus it was George who inherited the throne on Queen Anne's death on August 1, 1714. The Hanoverian ruling family were the closest Protestant relatives, but they faced opposition from supporters of the Stuart pretender. An unsuccessful rebellion took place in 1715, in an attempt to put James Francis Edward Stuart, the son of King James II of England on the throne. See Jacobitism.
George never learned to speak English properly, and divided his time between Britain and his other territory of Hanover. He had a poor relationship with his own son, George, who was created Prince of Wales shortly after arriving in Britain. The birth of a second grandson in 1717 was the occasion for a family quarrel, and the Prince of Wales was banished from the royal residence along with his wife and children. Some reconciliation was eventually achieved, but they were never on cordial terms.
George I died at Osnabrück in 1727 from a stroke while on his way to Hanover, where he was buried. His son succeeded him as King George II of Great Britain. George's remains were shifted to the Schloss Herrenhausen after World War II.
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