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Part II

Queen Victoria (my favorite picture of her)

6. George III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Hanover
Born: 4 June, 1738. Died: 29 January 1820. Reign: 1760-1820

George III is Britain’s longest reigning king. He was the first of the Hanoverian monarchs to speak English as his native language. Suffered from the blood disease porphyria which caused mental breakdowns. The king had a passion for agriculture and earned the nickname “Farmer George.” He was not the tyrant of the American revolution and it was in his reign which saw a further erosion of political powers and the move toward a symbolic monarchy where the king embodied moralistic virtue.

7. Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
Born: 24 May, 1819. Died: 22 January, 1901. Reign: 1837-1901

Queen Victoria is Britain’s longest reigning monarch and gave her name to an entire era. Her reign saw great advancement of changes with the industrial revolution. Dependent on her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, she became isolated and withdrawn for years after his death in 1861. Political power was lost during her reign as Victoria placed the monarchy above partisan politics. Her reign saw the British Empire reach its zenith.

8. Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
Born: 9 November, 1841. Died: 6 May, 1910. Reign: 1901-1910

As Prince of Wales the future Edward VII lived in the shadow of his mother. Although Edward reigned for only 9 years an era was named for him also. The Edwardian era contrasted with the Victorian era in that social life became more vibrant after the many years of official mourning at his mother’s court. Edward was a very gregarious king and his personal relationships with other monarchs in Europe gave Edward the reputation as a efficient diplomat.

9. Christian IX, King of Denmark
Born: 8 April, 1818. Died: 29 January 1906. Reign: 1863-1906

Prince Christian was born the son of Duke Wilhelm of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, from 1825 Duke of Glücksburg, and was a direct descendant of King Christian I of Denmark in the male line; the future Christian IX was born without rights to the Danish throne. In 1847 the great European powers selected prince Christian as heir presumptive to the Danish throne with the extinction of the most senior line of Danish kings was growing imminent seeing that the Frederik VII seemed incapable of fathering children. Christian unsuccessfully sought the hand of the future Queen Victoria of Great Britain. He eventually married Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel, a great-niece of Christian VII of Denmark and she actually was a closer heir to the throne than her husband. Christian and Louise, like Victoria and Albert of Great Britain, had children that married into many of the Great royal houses of Europe earning Christian IX the nickname “the father-in-law of Europe.” His eldest son became king of Denmark, his eldest daughter became Queen of Great Britain (wife of Edward VII). Another daughter became Empress of Russia (married to Emperor Alexander III). His second son was elected to the Greek throne a few months before he was even king of Denmark. His grandson was elected the first king of an independent Norway in centuries.

10. Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia
Born: 27 January, 1859. Died: 4 June, 1941. Reign: 1888-1918

The last German Emperor is a fascinating study. He was the eldest grandson to both Queen Victoria of Great Britain on his mother’s side and to German Emperor Wilhelm I on his father’s side. This set a battle between liberal and conservative ideologies which would have a great impact on his life. He also had an injury at birth which gave him an non-functioning left hand and arm. These and other issues had a great influence on his personality. A very intelligent man who would suffer violent outbursts of temper and depression. In an era where monarchs were becoming symbols of their nation and above partisan politics, Wilhelm II had considerable powers which he tried to implement, often with disastrous results. He was the Emperor-King that saw the dissolution of his empire at the end of the First World War and many nations placed sole blame on his shoulders. Although he held responsibility for the war, historians have come to see that there were many other factors that lead to war that were beyond his control.

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