George I
                      George II
            |                             |
            |                             |
        Frederick                      William
      Prince of Wales             Duke of Cumberland
       (1707-1751)                   (1721-1765)
   |              |              |                    |                    |  
   |              |              |                    |                    |  
Augusta        George III      Edward          William Henry             Henry
   |           (1738-1820)  Duke of York    Duke of Gloucester    Duke of Cumberland
   |              |         (1739-1767)          (1743-1805)            (1745-1790)
   |              |
   |          |-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
   |          |          |                 |           |                  |             |
   |          |          |                 |           |                  |             |
Caroline=George IV   Frederick      William IV    Edward             Augustus        Adolphus
        (1762-1830) Duke of York   (1765-1837)   Duke of Kent     Duke of Sussex   Duke of Cambridge
                    (1763-1827)                  (1767-1820)        (1773-1843)      (1774-1850)

The Origin of the House of Hanover

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 replaced the Roman Catholic James II with the respectably Protestant dual monarchy of William and Mary. Unfortunately William and Mary jointly failed to produce the necessary heir and successor and thus in its search for an acceptably Protestant monarch Parliament passed the Act of Settlement 1701 which secured the succession on firstly Anne, daughter of James II, and failing Anne's issue, on Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth Stuart and thus a granddaughter of James I, and her issue.

As it happens, the queen Anne who succeeded William failed to produce any surviving issue, as 17 out of her 18 children died shortly after their birth, with only William, Duke of Gloucester surviving until the age of 11 before he succumbed to encephalitis. Thus when Queen Anne died on the 31st July 1714, since Sophia had herself died a few months previously, the succession devolved upon Sophia's son George Louis Hanover, Elector of Hanover, who was crowned as king George I of Great Britain on the 20th October 1714 at Westminster Abbey.

The first three Georges

George I had previously married Sophie Dorothea of Brunswick-Lüneburg-Celle in 1682, and she had borne him two children,

The reason that the marriage was comparatively unproductive was simply that George had also divorced Sophia in 1694 on the grounds of her adultery with Count Phillip Christoph von Königsmarck. Indeed, not simply content with divorcing his errant wife, George imprisoned her at Ahlden Castle for the remaining 32 years of her life until her death in 1726. It is said that the only reason that George kept his ex-wife alive was his belief in her prophecy that he would only outlive her by a year and a day. The prophecy almost came true, as George did indeed outlive Sophia Dorothea, but only by seven months.

George II duly succeeded his father in 1727. He married, on the 22nd August 1705, Caroline of Ansbach and fathered a total of nine children. Of the sons, there was unnamed boy who was stillborn in 1716 and a George who died before his first birthday in 1718, leaving two surviving sons;

The five daughters were;

Neither Amelia nor Caroline ever married, whilst Anne married William IV, Prince of Orange, Mary married Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel and Louise to Frederick V, King of Denmark and Norway.

The heir apparent Frederick Louis Hanover, Prince of Wales married Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg on the 7th April 1736, a marriage which ultimately produced a total of nine children. there were four daughters;

and five sons;

As Frederick Louis Hanover, Prince of Wales predeceased his father on the 20th March 1751 the succession skipped a generation on the death of George II in 1760, and the crown passed to his grandson George crowned George III on the 22nd September 1761. George III married Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on the 8th September 1761. From this marriage there were two sons that died young, Octavius who died on the 3rd May 1783 aged four and Alfred who died on the 20th August 1782 shortly before his second birthday, and seven surviving sons, being;

There were also six daughters named;

Charlotte Augusta married Frederick I, King of Wurttemberg, Elizabeth married Frederick VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg and Mary her cousin William Frederick Hanover, 2nd Duke of Gloucester. Both Augusta Sophia and Sophia Matilda remained unmarried whilst Amelia may or may not have been secretly married to a Charles Fitzroy.

George IV, William IV and Victoria

George III died on the 29th January 1820 and was succeeded by his eldest son George IV. This George was married twice, firstly to a Maria Smythe alias Mrs Fitzherbert on the 21st December 1785. This marriage was later declared invalid on the grounds of Mrs Fitzherbert's religion; she was a Roman Catholic and such marriages were prohibited under the Royal Marriage Act 1772.

George was persuaded to put his first wife aside and subsequently married Caroline of Brunswick on the 8th April 1795. George and Caroline's only child was a daughter named Charlotte Augusta born on the 7th January 1796. Charlotte Augusta subsequently married Leopold I, King of the Belgians but she died on the 6th November 1817 as a result of childbirth after more than 50 hours of labour. The baby also died and the attending physician Sir Richard Croft was so distressed by the outcome that he later committed suicide.

Therefore on the death of George IV on the 26th June 1830 the crown passed to his younger brother William, the third son of George III (since the second son, Frederick, Duke of York had previously died on the 5th January 1827.) who was duly crowned William IV.

William had earlier married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in 1818 and William had fared no better than his brother in the matter of producing legitimate offspring. There had been four unnamed children who were stillborn, a daughter Charlotte who died shortly after her birth on the 21st March 1819 and another daughter Elizabeth who died on the 4th March 1821 aged less than three months.

William was rather more successful with his long term mistress Dorothea Bland alias Mrs Jordan, who bore him a number of children who bore the surname of Fitzclarence, the most notable of which was George Fitzclarence, who became the 1st Earl of Munster. The next in line was his younger brother Edward, Duke of Kent, and although Edward died in 1820, his marriage with Victoria of Leiningen had produced a child in the form of a daughter named Victoria Alexandrina Hanover born on the 24th May 1819.

Thus when William became king in 1830 his niece Victoria became the heir and with the death of her uncle William on the 20th June 1837 Victoria became Queen of Great Britain. But as far as Hanover was concerned, which had been upgraded from an electorate into a kingdom in 1814, the application of the Salic Law gave preference to William IV's brother, Ernest Augustus Hanover, Duke of Cumberland, the fifth son of George III, who duly became King of Hanover thus breaking the 123 year old dynastic link between Britain and Hanover.

Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, more commonly known as Prince Albert, a union which produced four sons; and five daughters;

Victoria married Kaiser Frederick III and was the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Alice married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt Helena married the improbably named Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, Louise married John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll whilst Beatrice was matched with one Henry of Battenberg.

Queen Victoria was to reign for a period of almost 64 years, the longest in British history, overtaking the record previously set by her grandfather George III whose reign had lasted a mere 60 years. She died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, on 22 January 1901 and was succeeded on her death by her son Edward VII who became the first ruler of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

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