Rent Royal Discord: The Family of George II
The family of George II has been ill-served by history and by most historians. He was a German, the last British monarch to have been born outside of Great Britain, but by the end of his long reign the House of Hanover was firmly established as the British ruling family, while the dangerous and more legitimate claims of the Stuarts had finally been laid to rest. It has been said that he was the first British king to wield little real power, but he was the first genuinely to understand the concept of constitutional monarchy and allow his ministers to guide him, although he certainly made them suffer in the process. The family has been further neglected because the early death of his eldest son, Frederick, the Prince of Wales, meant that the succession passed to George's grandson, the familiar 'mad' George III. This, and the tendency of European royalty to use a very limited number of Christian names, has caused a genealogical 'blurring' that has erased the family of George II from the consciousness of history. To make matters worse, Frederick has usually been viewed through the distorting glass of his father's often unreasonable animosity rather than for his actual contribution. His brother, the Duke of Cumberland, has been dismissed simply as the Butcher of Culloden and his lifetime achievements overlooked. Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange is the only English princess ever to rule in her own right in a foreign country but she is virtually unknown. And their four sisters are even less remembered. Royal Discord seeks to redress the balance and restore the members of this remarkable family - with their undoubted strengths and their undeniable weaknesses - to a fitting place in the pageant of not just British but European history.
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