A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

Written by Janice Hadlow
Review by Tess Heckel

In 1714, the German House of Hanover was surprised to become the British royal family by default of the Act of Settlement of 1701, which assured that only a Protestant monarch would rule England. Although George I and George II were not fond of England, they were also quite miserable parents who despised their own offspring. When George III took the throne at age 22, he was determined to launch a “Royal Experiment” by marrying for love, and cherishing his children to create a happy family environment. But heredity will out: he showed his love for his daughters by keeping them at home in the family, refusing to allow them to marry. For many years, his seven sons produced no legitimate living male heirs, while George, Prince of Wales, after a career in carousing, produced only a daughter. Although the Royal Experiment had a few flaws, George III did modify the meaning and role of the Royal Family. No doubt the final sadness was the strange illness that struck the robust King, suddenly tormented by physical ailments no one could cure or identify. Soon, his mind followed his body’s betrayal. In this expansive and captivating biography, Janice Hadlow holds the reader willingly in their world. Most highly recommended.