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William IV (William Henry; August 21, 1765 – June 20, 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from June 26, 1830 until his death in 1837. William was the third son of King George III, William succeeded his elder brother King George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain’s House of Hanover.

William, Duke of Clarence.

William served in the Royal Navy in his youth, spending time in North America and the Caribbean, and was later nicknamed the “Sailor King”. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. In 1827, he was appointed as Britain’s first Lord High Admiral since 1709.

In the Drawing Room at Kew Palace on July 11, 1818, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the daughter of Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, and Luise-Eleonore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. William apparently remained faithful to the young princess

William’s marriage, which lasted almost twenty years until his death, was a happy one. Adelaide took both William and his finances in hand. For their first year of marriage, the couple lived in economical fashion in Germany. William is not known to have had mistresses after his marriage. The couple had two short-lived daughters and Adelaide suffered three miscarriages. Despite this, false rumours that she was pregnant persisted into William’s reign—he dismissed them as “damned stuff”.

William IV, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover

As his two older brothers, King George IV and Frederick, Duke of York, died without leaving legitimate issue, William inherited the throne when he was 64 years old.

His reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, and the British electoral system refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a British prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. He granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution.

At the time of his death on June 20, 1837, William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years.

Since the Salic Law was in effect in the Kingdom of Hanover, William IV was succeeded by his niece Queen Victoria in the United Kingdom, and his brother King Ernst-August in Hanover.

Princess Alexandrina-Victoria of Kent.

Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 until her death. She adopted the additional title of Empress of India on May 1, 1876. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and the second longest in British history.

The Victorian Era was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (the fourth son of King George III), and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After both the Duke of Kent and George III died in 1820, she was raised under close supervision by her mother and her comptroller, John Conroy. She inherited the throne aged 18 after her father’s three elder brothers, the last being King William IV, died without surviving legitimate issue.

Victoria receives the news of her accession from Lord Conyngham (left) and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Engraving after painting by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1887.

Though a constitutional monarch, privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.

Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. Prince Albert was the second son of Ernst III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his first wife, Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.

Coronation portrait of Queen Victoria

Their children married into royal and noble families across the continent, earning Victoria the sobriquet “the grandmother of Europe” and spreading haemophilia in European royalty.

After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism in the United Kingdom temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration. She died on the Isle of Wight in 1901. The last British monarch of the House of Hanover, she was succeeded by her son Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.