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George II (George Augustus; November 9, 1683 – October 25, 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

George Augustus was born in the city of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire, followed by his sister, Sophia Dorothea, three years later. Their parents, George Louis, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later King George I of Great Britain), and Sophia Dorothea of Celle, both committed adultery. In 1694 the marriage was dissolved on the pretext that Sophia had abandoned her husband. She was confined to Ahlden House and denied access to her two children, who probably never saw their mother again.

George Augustus spoke only French, the language of diplomacy and the court, until the age of four, after which he was taught German by one of his tutors, Johann Hilmar Holstein. In addition to French and German, he also learnt English and Italian, and studied genealogy, military history, and battle tactics with particular diligence.

George Augustus as Prince of Wales

George Augustus’s second cousin once removed, Queen Anne, ascended the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1702. She had no surviving children, and by the Act of Settlement 1701, the English Parliament designated Anne’s closest Protestant blood relatives, George’s grandmother Sophia of the Rhine and her descendants, as Anne’s heirs in England and Ireland.

Consequently, after his grandmother and father, George was third in line to succeed Anne in two of her three realms. He was naturalized as an English subject in 1705 by the Sophia Naturalization Act, and in 1706 he was made a Knight of the Garter and created Duke and Marquess of Cambridge, Earl of Milford Haven, Viscount Northallerton, and Baron Tewkesbury in the Peerage of England. England and Scotland united in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and jointly accepted the succession as laid down by the English Act of Settlement.


Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach by Godfrey Kneller, 1716

George’s father did not want his son to enter into a loveless arranged marriage as he had and wanted him to have the opportunity of meeting his bride before any formal arrangements were made. Negotiations from 1702 for the hand of Princess Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, Dowager Duchess and regent of Holstein-Gottorp, came to nothing. the eldest child of Charles XI of Sweden and Ulrike Eleonore of Denmark. Princess Hedvig Sophia of Sweden,was heir presumptive to the Swedish throne until her death in 1708.

In June 1705, under the false name “Monsieur de Busch”, George visited the Brandenburg-Ansbach court at its summer residence in Triesdorf to investigate incognito a marriage prospect: Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, the former ward of his aunt Queen Sophia Charlotte of Prussia. She was married to Friedrich I, King in Prussia.

Caroline was born on March 1, 1683 at Ansbach, the daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, and his second wife, Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach. Her father was the ruler of one of the smallest German states; he died of smallpox at the age of 32, when Caroline was three years old.

The Brandenburg-Ansbach family belonged to a branch of the House of Hohenzollern and was the ruler of a small German state, the Principality of Ansbach. Since Caroline was orphaned at a young age she moved to the enlightened court of her guardians, King Friedrich I and Queen Sophia Charlotte in Prussia. At the Prussian court, her previously limited education was widened, and she adopted the liberal outlook possessed by Sophia Charlotte, who became her good friend and whose views influenced Caroline all her life.

The English envoy to Hanover, Edmund Poley, reported that George was so taken by “the good her character that he had of her that he would not think of anybody else”. A marriage contract was concluded by the end of July. On September 2, 1705 Caroline arrived in Hanover for her wedding, which was held the same evening in the chapel at Herrenhausen.

George Augustus his fathe, the new King George I of Great Britain, sailed for England from The Hague on September 16, 1714 and arrived at Greenwich two days later. The following day, they formally entered London in a ceremonial procession. George Augustus given the title of Prince of Wales.

Caroline followed her husband to Britain in October with their daughters, while thier eldest son, Frederick Louis, remained in Hanover to be brought up by private tutors. London was like nothing George Augustus had seen before; it was 50 times larger than Hanover, and the crowd was estimated at up to one and a half million spectators. George Augustus courted popularity with voluble expressions of praise for the English, and claimed that he had no drop of blood that was not English.

In the first years of his father’s reign as king, George Augustus associated with opposition politicians until they rejoined the governing party in 1720.

King George I died on June 22, 1727 during one of his visits to Hanover, and George Augustis succeeded him as King George II of Great Britain and Ireland, Elector of Hanover at the age of 43. The new king decided not to travel to the Holy Roman Empire for his father’s funeral, which far from bringing criticism led to praise from the English who considered it proof of his fondness for England.

George II suppressed his father’s will because it attempted to split the Hanoverian succession between George II’s future grandsons rather than vest all the domains (both British and Hanoverian) in a single person. Both British and Hanoverian ministers considered the will unlawful, as George I did not have the legal power to determine the succession personally. Critics supposed that George II hid the will to avoid paying out his father’s legacies.

George II was crowned at Westminster Abbey on October 22, 1727. George Frideric Handel was commissioned to write four new anthems for the coronation, including Zadok the Priest.