William IV (b.1765 r.1830-1837)
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William IV (b.1765 r.1830-1837)

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Altogether he seems a kind-hearted, well-meaning, not stupid burlesque, bustling old fellow, and if he doesn't go mad may make a very decent king.
Charles Greville.

Additional Information on
William IV (b.1765 r.1830-1837)

George IV was succeeded by his younger brother William, otherwise known as the 'Sailor King', or 'Silly Billy' (for his lack of intelligence). William had served widely in the navy and had been a sailor since the age of thirteen. He came to the throne unexpectedly at the age of sixty four. There was concern that he was not fit for the task, but William acquitted himself well. He hated pomp and ceremony and so his sensible behaviour was a refreshing change. He insisted on a coronation that cost one tenth of his brother's - also endearing him to the public.

William showed enough sense to accept advice from his ministers rather than quarrel with them. He tried to hold on to what little power the sovereign had and opposed the Reform Bills of 1831-1832 which tried to abolish their power completely. However, riots followed and in 1833 William gave in, thus losing the last remnants of power. This highlighted the early pressures of a modern age, and the evolvement of British democracy.

William had married late in life, in 1818, due to financial difficulties. Before this he had lived in bliss for twenty years with his mistress, the actress Dorothea Jordan, who bore him ten illegitimate children. None of his legitimate children lived for more than a few hours.


Although if he had been false, able and artful he might have caused more perplexity to his Whig government... it is perhaps fortunate for the country, and certainly happy for his reputation, that his virtues thus predominated over his talents.
- Charles Greville, Diary 24 July 1837.

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