William IV (254 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors

Context

The reign of William IV is often seen as an appendage to the Georgian and Regency eras, before the long and distinctive Victorian period. On the other hand, many of the pieces of legislation that shaped the Victorian period were passed during the seven-year reign of Victoria's uncle. William himself had never expected to become king. As the third son of George III, he only became heir apparent in 1817, after the death of the Prince Regent's only daughter in childbirth. The succession crisis this caused could most straightforwardly be solved, in Parliament's eyes, if William gave up his long-term mistress, the actress Mrs Jordan, and married a princess with whom he could produce legitimate heirs. He acquiesced in their proposals (…

Citation:
Editors. "William IV". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1187, accessed 11 December 2016.]