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George II of Great Britain

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.:

George II
King of Great Britain, Ireland
Elector of Hanover
George II had a poor relationship with his father, and his own eldest son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, would have an equally bad relationship with him. After the death of George I, it was discovered that the late king had planned to send his son into exile in the colonies.

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.

Preceded by:
George I
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
George III