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The Elder Sons of George III (Hardback)

Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke

P&S History > British History > Georgian History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History

By Catherine Curzon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473872479
Published: 26th November 2020



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For nearly 60 years, King George III reigned over a tumultuous kingdom. His health and realm were in turmoil, whilst family life held challenges of its own. From the corpulent Prinny and the Grand Old Duke of York, to a king who battled the Lords and the disciplinarian Duke of Kent, this is the story of the elder sons of George III.

Born over the course of half a decade of upheaval, George, Frederick, William, and Edward defined an era. Their scandals intrigued the nation and their efforts to build lives away from the shadow of their impossibly pious parents led them down diverse paths. Whether devoting their lives to the military or to pleasure, every moment was captured in the full glare of the spotlight.

The sons of George III were prepared from infancy to take their place on the world’s stage, but as the king’s health failed and the country lurched from one drama to the next, they found that duty was easier said than done. With scandalous romances, illegal marriages, rumours of corruption and even the odd kidnapping plot, their lives were as breathless as they were dramatic. In The Elder Sons of George III: Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke, travel from Great Britain to America and on to Hanover in the company of princes who were sometimes scandalous, sometimes sensational, but never, ever dull.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm always grateful to have a Curzon book to read in my list! When it comes to Regency history Cruzon is the first historian I turn to. Having read George III's daughters by Curzon I needed the balance of reading about the sons too. I found like the daughters I felt sad for the sons too, though some of what they did they brought on themselves ultimately separation from family and the need of finding love followed all of them.

NetGalley, Zoe Pollock

I found this book very interesting and well researched, I highly recommend.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells the stories of the first four sons of George III (hehe, as it says on the label). What looks like a line-up of heir and his spares, actually included two Kings, one father to a Queen Regnant and a Royal Duke, who died before he could inherit the throne. Together with the chapter on their mighty father, that makes for five well-told, well-researched chapters.📖
As usual with her Georgian books, the author does her best not to repeat the narrative snippets when telling different stories that overlap temporally in any way. 👑
My favourite mini-biography of this volume was chapter three - the one on Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany - the one who, out of the four of them, didn’t get into the line of succession even retrospectively. Frederick’s war exploits and his army reforms were something I knew nothing about. ⚔️The only impression I had of him, was formed from Julian Rhind-Tutt’s performance in “The Madness of King George” in 1994, and that was almost no impression at all...I was glad out there was so much more to the real person. He deserves a limited series of his own. ✨
I sincerely hope there will be a book by the same author on the younger sons of George III as well, to complete the collection....🌟

NetGalley, Natalie Lomako

I thought the name of the author looked familiar, and actually looking it up as I had not long read her book, The Daughters of George III. An excellent book, very well researched that I had read and reviewed here at UKHistorianBenDavidson.co.uk Now I’m not going to say this book was more interesting or better, it’s just that as this was about men and back then women were the homemaker/lady in waiting. It’s just that men of the age have to deal with situations when in that position of power or leadership, so what they have to deal with is going to be slightly more important in the greater scheme of life. A fascinating book indeed proving why the Georgian era seems so popular at the moment, and this is good to see as we all need to read more books about the Georges, or the Georgian period. While some would prefer a longer book, I found this a great read and covered most things that occurred, split into chapters where the author concentrates on each son. The book is very clear and easy to read/follow, it has in fact made me want to read more about the subject, which in my opinion is a good thing. A very good and interesting read, I would happily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in this period of British history.

5 stars

Read the full review here

UK Historian

I enjoyed this look at the elder sons, especially since they were the ones who most closely shaped the succession and the rush to secure brides on the brothers’ part in order to sire the potential heir following George’s daughter Charlotte’s death is well known. Curzon perfectly strikes that balance between providing a good overview for those new to the topic and also providing insights for those who are more educated on the subject, so regardless of if you’re a historian or a hobbyist, there’s something worth cleaning from this text.

NetGalley, Courtney Tonokawa

This was a good, well-researched book focusing on the first four of George III's sons. Less attention is paid to George IV ("Prinny"), since the author points out there are so many books about him out already. But Curzon still provides plenty of information to introduce a novice reader to George, as well as the others. She never assumes the reader knows about anyone ahead of time and gives a decent overview of all four men's lives. A good book to introduce readers to the time and the princes.

NetGalley, Anne Morgan

A wonderful historical fiction of King George III's four oldest sons -- George, Frederick, William, and Edward. It told about each one's lives which were incredibly fascinating. It was an easy educational read and quick read. Fantastic for beginning monarchy reading.

NetGalley, Vonda Svara

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Elder Sons Of George III, if you enjoy historical fiction, Catherine Curzon, she never disappoints in her books, her writing, the way she has with her words to make such a exciting story of this incredible time in English history!! Follow their fathers time ruling over England,the scandals, the politics and the effects this family had not only in England but around the world in the 18th Century.. You begin to find out the different personalities of these sons--brothers and how the English survived this kind of rule over a course of 60 years,I think it was and how their behaviour affected English history. Who would make The best ruler next out of these brothers if their father ever died??The other characters who helped shape English history besides the sons, you will become to see who, what and where of how they all help created these time in history and the scandals, loves,hates, loyalty and decisions and why they were made.. George III and Queen Charlotte children,total 15 that lived.. When you do finish this fantastic story you will have much more insight into the family and shake your head at how they could actually get away with things and the people that these sons hurt,destroyed or tried to destroy not only the people in these brothers lives but their selves in the process.. I have read all of Miss Catherine's stories except for the daughters,sisters of this family,it's a must on my list!! This book takes you to another century another land and you travel the world where you actually feel as you are living in this time with all of these characters..you will also know who your friend is who is your enemy and become apart of this dysfunctional family and you will either love or not these brothers but understand more and it puts a whole new meaning or not on "Brotherely love"!! Received from Net Gallery and you I promise, not be disappointed in this amazing story of who King George III's sons were and had become as brothers...

NetGalley, Trick Wiley

As the author's other book about George III's daughters, this was a very readable and approachable book. It wasn't too dense to get through and gives a brief overview of George III's four eldest sons -- George, Frederick, William, and Edward. They had many similarities throughout their lives and it was interesting reading about each of them in turn since they did lead very intriguing lives. Just an overall good read that is approachable for a novice in this era and someone who has read a lot about it.

NetGalley, Caidyn Young

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fabulous account of George III's elder sons, George, Frederick, William and Edward. None of the men seemed particularly likeable but they certainly lived eventful lives! Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Jen Lynch

George III was the longest reigning king in British history. Given this fact and that he and his wife Charlotte produced no less than fifteen children, it's difficult to see how he could have done more to ensure the survival of the monarchy and the House of Hanover.
Despite this, the final years of his sixty year reign which ended with his death in 1820 were clouded not just by his own insanity but by a succession crisis. Some of it was bad luck. Some of his children and grandchildren died before reaching adulthood. But his remaining offspring, prone to adulterous liaisons, overeating and drinking, fighting duals and other bad habits, were also genuinely terrible at the primary Royal function: producing heirs and spares themselves.
This is the story of his four oldest sons, all born in the 1760s and thus all in their fifties by the closing years of their father's long reign.
The first, George, was a fat waste of space who became Prince Regent and then George IV between 1820 and 1830. His own daughter, Princess Charlotte died in 1817. Then came Frederick, the Grand Old Duke of York of nursery rhyme fame. He predeceased his older brother after a long military career blighted by scandal. 'Old melon head' William, Duke of Clarence was next. Never expected to be king, he was put into the navy as a child but became King William IV between 1830 and 1837. His head was indeed an odd shape. A bystander once threw a rock at it but he was protected by some padding he'd added to make his hat fit on his oddly shaped cranium.
Finally, Edward, also something of a disappointment. He died in 1820, shortly before his father. Yet it was he who in his final year would become father to the baby girl who would famously rule the empire for the last sixty years of the century and whose great great granddaughter sits on the throne today.
These are just the highlights. Catherine Curzon tells the story so much better in this thorough and very readable volume.

NetGalley, Chris Hallam

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Although I’ve just recently studied the history of the UK up to and stopping with Victoria via the excellent series by Peter Ackroyd, I cannot say I knew the period and royal personnel described in this book exceedingly well. Therefore, I was quite excited to be granted a free copy—for a non-historian, reading history books is always about learning new things, after all. I wasn’t disappointed by the trip, either. Catherine Curzon’s writing style is light, informative, and entertaining. She paints the different persons and the times in vivid colours, often with a little wink shining through the turns of her phrases, always sympathetic, even when talking about some less savoury characters. I’ve learned a lot of historical facts about George III and his wife Charlotte as well as their four eldest sons George (future King George IV), Frederick (the Grand Old Duke), William (future King William IV), and Edward. Very interesting indeed, the biographies are woven together to form a coherent narrative, sprinkled with anecdotes and character studies. The style is never pedantic, and the author always tries to remain non-judgmental, never really taking sides. A book I can recommend without a moment’s hesitation for those interested in that tumultuous period (Independence of the USA, French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, etc.).

NetGalley, Dieter Moitzi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Having read another of Catherine's books, about George's daughter's, I kind of knew what I'd be getting, but this book far exceeded expectations. Perhaps it is just because the sons lead more colourful lives than their sisters, but this was much more interesting and gripping, and I had enjoyed the other book. I found i couldn't put this book down and, as due to the male line being the one to inherit, wanted to follow the line of ascension to learn more about those who did ascend, and those who just came close. I would heartedly recommend this book, not just to those who have a love of history as I do, but also others who just want to read the ridiculous stories of what these men got up to.

NetGalley, Saffron Melnyk

About Catherine Curzon

CATHERINE CURZON is a historian of old Hollywood and even older royalty.
Catherine has appeared on Radio 4’s PM programme and Dan Snow’s Story of England, as well as radio stations across Europe and the UK. Her work has been featured online by BBC News, BBC History Extra and the Daily Express, and in publications including All About History and Who Do You Think You Are?. Further afield, Catherine’s expertise has been featured by Smithsonian Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Town & Country, Elle Australia, Der Bund, La Vanguardia and Metrópoles, among others.
She has spoken at venues including Kenwood House, Wellington College, the Royal Pavilion, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House. As one half of Ellie Curzon (with Helen Barrell), her World War Two sagas for Bookouture and Orion have achieved bestseller status in the UK and the US.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not cheering for the Terriers, can be found by following the distant strains of Dean Martin. She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill with a rakish gent and a very woolly dog.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn dies

23rd January 1820

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the son of George III, died 23 January 1820 at Woolbrook Cottage, Sidmouth.

Death of King George III

29th January 1820

King George III died 29 January 1820 at Windsor Castle. He was 81 years old when he died, and it is still unknown to this day what his illness was. George suffered with mental illness in the later part of his life and would die on this date just six days after the death of his son, Prince Edward. He is the third longest reigning UK monarch in history.

Death of Prince Frederick, Duke of York

5th January 1827

Prince Frederick, Duke of York (brother of George IV), died on 5 January 1827. He was buried on 20 January 1827 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

View all events View all anniversaries

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Born in 1765, third son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, Prince William, Duke of Clarence, initially had little expectation of succeeding to the British throne. A brief career in the navy, followed by several years of semi-obscurity and a liaison with the actress Dorothea Jordan that gave them a family of ten children, came to an end with the ‘royal race for the crown’, requiring him and several of his other similarly unmarried brothers to find wives and ensure the royal succession after the unexpected death of their only legitimate niece Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent. William’s…

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