George II (10 November 1683-25 October 1760; reigned 11 June 1727-25 October 1760), was the second Hanoverian king of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland. He was concurrently Duke and Elector of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg in Germany.
Prince Georg August (George Augustus) was born at Schloss Herrenhausen, Hanover, the son of Georg Ludwig, then-Hereditary Prince of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and his wife Princess Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Zell. He became Hereditary Prince of Hanover when his father succeeded as Duke of Hanover and Elector, 23 January 1687. Under the provisions of the Act of Settlement, Prince George Augustus of Hanover was naturalized a British subject in 1705 and became a Knight of the Garter on 4 April 1706. Queen Anne created him Duke and Marquess of Cambridge, Earl of Milford Haven, Vicount Northallerton, and Baron of Tewkesbury in the peerage of England on 9 November 1706. When his father ascended the British throne as King George I, he automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, as the eldest son of the British Sovereign. His father created him Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 27 September 1714 at the Palace of Westminster. The new Prince of Wales was by this time a man of thirty, and had been married for several years to Princess Caroline of Brandenberg-Ansbach with whom he had three sons and five daughters.:
King of Great Britain, Ireland
Elector of Hanover
- Frederick, Prince of Wales (1 February 1707-31 March 1751); married 1736, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenberg (30 November 1719-8 February 1772); and had issue.
- Anne, Princess Royal (2 November 1709- 12 January 1759); married 1734, Prince Willem IV of Orange-Nassau (11 September 1711-12 October 1751); and had issue.
- Princess Amelia Sophia Eleanor (10 July 1711-31 October 1746).
- Princess Caroline Elizabeth (21 June 1713- 28 December 1757).
- Prince George William (13 November 1717 - 17 February 1718).
- Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (26 April 1721 - 31 October 1765).
- Princess Mary (5 March 1723-14 January 1772); married 1740, Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel (14 August 1720-31 October 1785); and had issue
- Princess Louisa (18 December 1724-19 December 1751); married 1743 King Frederick V of Denmark and Norway (31 March 1723-14 January 1766); and had issue.
George was neither cultured nor intelligent, but his wife, Caroline, was both. She exercised political influence by her friendship with the prime minister, Robert Walpole, even after a quarrel with the king which resulted in the Prince and Princess of Wales - as they then were - being thrown out of their royal apartments. She was also Regent whenever George was on one of his frequent visits abroad in Hanover. They held a rival court at their home in Leicester House.
George II succeeded to the throne on his father's death in 1727, but a battle of wills continued with his son and heir, Frederick, Prince of Wales, ending only with Frederick's untimely death in 1751. Frederick's eldest son, the future George III, was thereupon created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. However, young George's mother, the Dowager Princess of Wales, mistrusted her father-in-law and did her best to keep them apart.
George II is remembered as the last British Sovereign to lead his own troops onto the battlefield, which he did at the Battle of Dettingen. He was accompanied in this exploit by his military-minded younger son, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.
The most important event of George's reign, however, was the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which almost resulted in his overthrow by the Stuart claimant to the throne and culminated in the Battle of Culloden (1746), the last battle to be fought on British soil. The Duke of Cumberland, entrusted with command on his father's behalf, defeated the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie, effectively putting an end to the Jacobite resistance.
George II, despite being happily married, always had an interest in other women, and kept many mistresses. On the premature death of his wife, Queen Caroline, in 1737, he was distraught. When she reputedly told him, on her deathbed, that he should re-marry, he famously replied, "Non, j'aurai des maitresses" ("No, I will have mistresses")! He died on 25 October 1760 from a stroke suffered while sitting in his toilet and was buried at Westminster Abbey.
He was succeeded by his grandson, George III.
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