Two Kings and a Queen

It was on Wednesday, 19th January 1831 that Charles Greville, considered by many to be the greatest English diarist after Pepys, began musing about the health of England’s King who was also the King of Handover. King William IV had become England’s King on 26th June 1830 following the death of his elder brother King George IV and Greville wrote:

‘George Lamb said that the King is supposed to be in a bad state of health, and this was confirmed to me by Keate, the surgeon, who gave me to understand that he is going the way both his brothers {Frederick, Duke of York in 1827 & King George IV in 1830}.  He will be a great loss in these times, he knows his business, lets his Ministers do as they please, but expects to be informed of everything.  He lives a strange life at Brighton with a tag rag and bobtail about him, and always open house.  The Queen is a prude and will not let her ladies come décolletées to her parties.  George the 4th, who liked ample expanses of that sort, would not let them be covered.’

The concern was a little premature because King William hung on until June 1837 – just a little bit beyond Princess Victoria’s 18th birthday.  This was critical because, if he had died before that birthday, her mother would have held the powers and England would have been a very different place.  Perhaps we’ll do a little bit about that later this year.


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