Well, it has been along series. I cannot even remember when I began this series. I just checked….I began this series on December 6, 2012. 9 months!!! We have seen the legal succession to the throne snake its way through a number of branches and have had seen that not all kings and queens that have sat upon the throne always were the legal successor to their predecessor.
With the accession of the House of Hanover the throne has been pretty stable ever since that time with the exception of the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. King George I reigned until 1727 and because of the language difficulties and George’s disinterest in matters of State, the office of Prime Minister began to develop. George was succeeded by his eldest son, George-Augustus, who reigned as King George II. The crown then skipped a generation as Frederick, Prince of Wales, died in 1751, nine years before his father. George II was legally succeeded by his eldest grandson who became King George III.
There was at least one time when their was a scramble to beget an hier in the last few years of the nearly 60 year reign of King George III. His eldest son, The Prince of Wales, and after 1811 he was the Prince Regant, only had one daughter during his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Their daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales was much loved in Britain. In 1816 Princess Charlotte married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and despite the arranged marriage the couple was happy. Sadly, wedded bliss for the couple did not last long. The next year Charlotte was pregnant and during her pregnancy she eat heavily and got very little exercise. On the night of November 5th, 1817 after many hours of a difficult labor Princess Charlotte delivered a still-born son. Shortly thereafter other complications set in and as a result Princess Charlotte passed away.
This left the George III without any legitimate heirs in the third generation. There were plenty of illegitimate offsprings though. Many of the aging bachelor princes, most of them in their late 40s or early 50s, began leaving their mistresses to find legal wives to beget an hier. Prince Frederick, Duke of York, next in line after the prince Regent, was married to a Prussian Princess but there were no children for this union. The next in line after Frederick was Prince William, Duke of Clarence, married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, 27 years younger than the duke. They had two daughters, Charlotte and Elizabeth, who did not live long. Adelaide also delivered still-born twin sons.
The next brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, married Princess Victoria, the sister of Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the widower of Princess Charlotte of Wales. This union produced a daughter, Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who became Queen of the United Kingdom in 1837 after the reigns of her uncles, George IV and William IV. In 1840, Victoria married her maternal first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. They had nine children and many descendants who populated many European thrones.
Queen Victoria died on January 22, 1901 after a reign of 63 years. She was succeeded by her eldest son who became King Edward VII. He reigned until his death in 1910. Edward VII was followed on the throne by his eldest son, King George V who reigned until his death in 1936. With his death his eldest son began his reign as King Edward VIII and with him we saw one of the most recent struggles for the crown.
Edward was in love with a twice divorced American woman. In 1936 this was unacceptable to many Britons and those in power. Edward refused to give her up and was determined to marry her. After much deliberation Edward VII abdicated the throne to his brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York. This was the first, and so far the only, time when a British/English/Scottish monarch voluntarily gave up the throne.
Prince Albert chose to reign as King George VI and he successfully navigated World War II and was a popular monarch until his death in 1952. This brings us up to the current monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II who has reigned for 61 years. The legal succession is secure. Next in line is her eldest son, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. After him comes Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, and then the newest member of the British Royal Family, Prince George of Cambridge.