British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

Glossary: George I

Political Career:

After having been the Elector of Hanover since, 1698 George became the successor of Queen Anne after her death in 1714 under the terms of the 1701 Act of Settlement. George I decided to side with the Whigs because he considered them to be the better choice of the two evils. However he was always aware of the fact that any decision he would make would consequently offend about half the British population. In 1715 the Jacobites, a branch of the Tories, tried to get rid of George and replace him with the Old Pretender, however the rebellion failed and England settled for a time of peace.
Since George spent as much time as he could in Hanover the position of the Prime Minister was created, as the majority leader in the House of Commons, who would act instead of the king. The first one was Robert Walpole. At this time the cabinets gained more importance. The king's ministers became the representatives of the executive branch of government and the parliament represented the legislative.

Personal Life:

George I was born on March 28th 1660 in Osnabrück to Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover and Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of James I. He grew up in the royal court of Hanover, Germany. In 1682 George married the Princess of Celle, Sophia Dorothea, with whom he had a son - the future George II, and a daughter Sophia Dorothea.
George's character and manners were strictly German. He never bothered to learn the English language and spent lots of his time in Hanover. When George arrived in Greenwich on September 29th in 1714, he brought along a good deal of German friends, advisers and servants. He also brought along two mistresses but no wife for his wife was imprisoned for adultery. The British population was not fond of his two mistresses; this was obvious given their chosen nicknames "Maypole" and "Elephant."
He died October 11th 1727 of a stroke, while visiting his beloved Hanover at the age of 67.


Back to previous page