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Born 2 Rule: Kings of Georgian Britain

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

My first foray into Georgian England in book form - absolutely enjoyed it!

I was inspired to read this after watching Horrible Histories song about the Four Georges Born 2 Rule and several podcast episodes from Historic Royal Palaces on the first Georgian kings (links below).

The book is (predictably) broken up into four chapters, each covering one King George. The author takes care not to repeat the same episodes in the overlapping narratives of other Georges, but instead, to present the events from the titular George of that chapter in question.

I was delighted ‘to meet’ these four in/famous kings that gave their name to an age: the ‘Sad’ one, the ‘Bad’ one, the ‘Mad’ one and the ‘Fat’ one (borrowing the ‘Horrible Histories' terminology). Of course, the ‘real’ Georges are more than that and are presented as real people who weren’t just melancholy or evil or insane or overweight. Forget the Tudors and the soap opera with the six wives. The Georgians, with their signature father-son feuds are far more delicious (if only because as much as we all love Tudors, I think it’s time to cleanse the palette and have a new favourite dysfunctional historic Royal family). The amorous intrigues, the governmental stalemates, the colonial calamities, the extravagance and the dynastic crisis are just a few ingredients of this melting pot of Georgian court. Add Mistresses, troublesome siblings and misbehaving offspring for flavour.

N.B. The fact that this century’s worth of Royal Family drama has had surprisingly few appearances in the Royal Telly Spectrum. The most notable Celluloid George 'stars' in The Madness of King George - a 1994 film based on Alan Bennet’s play The Madness of George III of 1991. (The film is at times on Netflix or Amazon Prime, at the moment of writing - Prime.) N.B. The fantasy version of the young George III is currently leading the new Bridgerton season, but more on this later... Some Georges or this family members have indeed appeared in radio shows, plays, TV series and films, but serving mainly as a jumping off point for the story or in the background, or not at all - many stories are set in Georgian England and not feature anyone from the Royal Family ...which is fine, of course...I’m just lamenting the lack of Georgian Family drama on screen. And what drama! Absolutely made for a binge-worthy TV series à la ‘The Crown’. I’m looking at you, @netflixuk @amazonprimeuk #prettyplease

Fun Fact:

Within George III’s story you’ll have a glimpse of his sister - Caroline Matilda, who became the Queen Consort of Denmark; her story was the central focus of A Royal Affair film (2011), if it’s still on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It stars Alicia Vikander & Mads Mikkelsen. Also, Harriet Walter makes a cameo as Caroline Matilda’s mother - the Dowager Princess of Wales.

In the chapter about George IV as Prince of Wales you’ll meet Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire - she also has her own film - The Duchess (2008), starring Keira Knightley, look for it either on Netflix or Prime.

Further Edutainment:

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