British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"
by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann
- The 'United Kingdom' came to existence in the 18th century. It was a result of the Act of Union, which was set up in 1707, and stated that England and Scotland should be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain.
- Though Queen Anne experienced seventeen pregnancies, none of the children outlived infancy. Therefore she needed a successor. Due to her siding with the whigs, her half-brother could not take the throne because he was a Tory. Therefore Anne agreed to the Act of Settlement, which allowed the Whig candidate, George of Hanover to succeed her.
- The position of the Prime Minister was established during the reign of King George I. Due to the fact that George preferred to spend as much time as he could in Hanover, the kingdom was in need of someone to temporarily replace the king as the majority leader in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister to take office was Robert Walpole.
- George IV officially became king in 1820 but was never really interested in government. Instead spent most of his time leading an extravagant lifestyle. He got married secretly and illegally to Maria Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic, but then was offically married to Princess Caroline of Brunswick. This arrangement was mainly set up so his wife's government would pay the debts George IV had summed up over the years. Their marriage did not work out so George tried to get divorced after he became king.He never gained much importance with his people because he preferred to be engaged in leisure activities instead of governing his country.
- Victoria always wanted to be informed about political matters. She was rather fond of the Prime Minister in charge, Lord Melbourne, in whom she saw a political mentor. The Prime Minsiter and her husband Prince Albert had a considerable influence on her. They 'taught' how to be a successful head of the country.
- The quote refers Queen Elizabeth's wide range of interest in all kinds of topics and her enormous knowlede of current situations. She always tries to be as up to date as possible which occasionally astonished and embarrassed her Prime Ministers, except for Churchill, who was always impressed and delighted by her knowledge and wit.