The First Foot Guards

We are a Revolutionary War reenactment group based in Boston MA,
accurately portraying the royal household regiment that is now known as
The Grenadier Guards


A very brief history
of the Hanoverian Kings:

Stuff every Redcoat should know


George I

Reigned 1714-1727 (age 54 -67)
Lived 1660-1727

George Louis did not like Britain, nor did he trouble to learn English.
Married Sophia Dorothea of Celle.
He divorced her in 1694, and she spent the rest of her life in Germany.

They had one son:
George II

And one daughter:
Sophia Dorothea
who married Frederick William I of Prussia, and became mother of Frederick the Great.

When Queen Anne died, the Act of Settlement of 1701 assured that the crown would pass to Hanover.

He came to London with a large entourage of Germans, among them his two mistresses, Schulenberg and Kielmansegge. According to Horace Walpole, the first was 'thin as a maypole', the latter had 'two acres of cheek and an ocean of neck'. Evidently George Louis found them alluring.

Events of note

1715. The Jacobite Rebellion: James Edward Stuart "The Old Pretender" sought unsuccessfully to claim the throne.

1717. Cape Passaro, in which battle the Spanish fleet was destroyed.

1718. The Triple Alliance. Britain, France & Holland.

1718. The Quadruple Alliance. Britain, France, Holland & Austria.

1720. The South Sea Bubble. Financial ruin was visited upon many prominent families.

1722. Sir Robert Walpole became the equivalent of Prime Minister (it was not called such at that time.)

1727-28. The siege of Gibraltar. The British held onto the fortress.

Due to the strong hand of Walpole, the reign was mostly peaceful. George was uninterested in most things, including politics, but he trusted Walpole, who was an able minister. The two had to converse in French. Walpole MA is named for this leader.


George II

Reigned 1727-1760 (age 44-77)
Lived 1683-1760

George disliked his father, George I, and on his accession he dismissed Walpole, his father's man, who later was to wield his influence.

Married Caroline of Ansbach, a beautiful and able woman who understood politics.

They had 3 sons:
Frederick, Prince of Wales (father of George III) who married Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

George William, died in infancy.

William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, 'Bloody Cumberland'

And 5 daughters.

Events of note

1739. The War of Jenkins' Ear. War with Spain, and since the Bourbons ruled France as well, it meant war with France. So much for the Triple and Quadruple Alliances of the previous reign!

1740. The War of the Spanish Succession. Now the lineup was France and Prussia against Britain and Austria.

1742. Sir Robert Walpole resigned.

1743. King George in person (the last British monarch to do so) led his troops into action at the battle of Dettingen.

1745. The battle of Fontenoy.

1745. The Jacobite Rebellion hadn't gone away. Now The Old Pretender's son, Charles, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", threw down the gauntlet, heading an army as far south into England as Derby.

1746. The battle of Falkirk, in January. The Bonnie Prince triumphed.

1746. The battle of Culloden, in April. The revolt was savagely crushed by The Duke of Cumberland, who earned his sobriquet 'Bloody Cumberland'. He is remembered to this day by Scotsmen.

1746. A rising star, William Pitt, was appointed Paymaster of the Army and Navy.

1748. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle restored political divisions in Europe to where they had been at the start of the war, maintaining a shaky peace until 1756, although the British and French still fought each other in India and North America.

1756-1763. The Seven Years War. William Pitt became Prime Minister.

Battle of Plassey in India. Clive and his Redcoats triumphed.

1759. Wolfe's triumph over Montcalm at Quebec.

1759. Admiral Hawke's destruction of the French fleet at Quiberon Bay (Brest) removed the threat of French invasion.

Battle of Minden.


'Turnip' Townshend revolutionized agriculture, with his 'rotation of crops'.

1733. Kay's flying shuttle began the Industrial Revolution.

1755. Doctor Johnson's Dictionary was published.

The rise of Wesleyanism. Wesley preached around the country, and gained many converts, as did George Whitefield, who visited New England.

Lord Chesterfield wrote his remarkable letters, elegant and full of sound advice, to his son.

Admiral Byng was court-martialed and shot for not relieving Minorca. A miscarriage of justice, if there ever was one.

By the end of the reign in 1760, due to the leadership of Pitt and some able military men, Britain controlled Gibraltar, the seas, India and North America, and aimed at wresting control of the West Indies from the French.

George was patron of George Frederick Handel, an important musical influence of the age.


George III

Grandson of George II
Reigned 1760-1820 (age 28-81)

Lived 1738-1820

Since his father had predeceased him, the throne passed to a young man of 28, who reigned for 60 years, and saw many changes in the world. George loved England ('he gloried in the name of Briton"), and was eventually loved by his subjects, who called him Farmer George for his simplicity and generosity. He was frugal to a point, which may have set up his son to become the complete opposite. His insanity evoked popular sympathy.

Married Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz.

They had 9 sons:
George IV, the Prince of Wales, later The Prince Regent.

Frederick, Duke of York.

William IV.

Edward Duke of Kent.

Ernest, Duke of Cumberland (King of Hanover 1837-1857).

Augustus, Duke of Sussex.
Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.
Octavius and Alfred died young.

And 6 daughters.

Events of note

1763. The Peace of Paris ended the Seven Years War.

1765. The stamp Act stirred animosities in North America.

1768. The King founded the Royal Academy.

1773. The Boston Tea Party.

1775. The battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington.

1776. The American Declaration of Independence.

1778. War with France.

1778. William Pitt the Elder (later Lord Chatham) died.

1779. War with Spain.

1780. War with Holland.

1780. The Gordon Riots.

1781. The surrender at Yorktown.

1783. The Peace of Versailles, recognizing the independence of the United States.

1788. The king suffered his first mental breakdown.

1789. The fall of the Bastille heralds the French Revolution.

1793. Louis XVI was guillotined.

1794. Admiral Lord Howe's victory of The First of June.

1796-1797. Bonaparte's brilliant military campaign in Italy bring him to the fore.

1797. The naval battle of Cape St Vincent.

1798. Admiral Lord Nelson triumphed at the Battle of the Nile.

1798. the Irish rebellion.

1800 The Act of Union.

1801. Nelson's destruction of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen.

1802. The treaty of Amiens brings the war with the French top a temporary close.

1803. Resumption of the Napoleonic War. Invasion becomes a real threat.

1805. Nelson smashes a combined French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, but loses his life.

1806. Mr Pitt died.

1808-1813. Wellington's brilliant Peninsular Campaign.

1810. The King became permanently mad.

1811. The Prince of Wales becomes Prince Regent, taking the helm from his father.

1812. Napoleon's disastrous retreat from Moscow.

1815. Napoleon's waterloo at Waterloo.

The reign saw much change as Britain became an industrial powerhouse. Roads, canals and rail changed the face of transportation, bringing prices down, and allowing the population to be more mobile. Many new inventions furthered the Industrial Revolution, and families moved progressively to great industrial centers.


George IV

Son of George III
Reigned as Prince Regent from 1811-1820
Reigned as King from 1820-1830 (age 57 to 67)

Lived 1762-1830.

Married Caroline of Brunswick

And had one daughter, Charlotte who married Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who later became King of the Belgians.

Caroline died in childbirth, an event that deeply affected the King.

The king was estranged from Caroline. She was barred from the Coronation in 1821 (though she tried to break in), and was finally divorced. George preferred his mistresses, often slightly older than himself, such as Mrs Fitzherbert.

George was as spendthrift as his father was frugal, as fun loving as his father was dour, as artistic as his father was unimaginative. The age of the Regency gave its name to clothing fashion, architecture, interior decorating, and more.

It was the age of dandies like George 'Beau' Brummell, who led the change in men's fashion from bright colors to black and white (still true today in formal wear). George built the extravagant Carlton House, where he lived in London , and the even more outrageous Brighton Pavilion (which can be visited today). The excesses of the Regency brought a social reaction that developed into the prudery of the Victorian age.

There was much social upheaval, which the authorities (fearful of revolution) brutally suppressed. Protesters were cut down by the yeomanry, strikers were transported to Australia. There was much unemployment and hunger and the Act of Habeas Corpus was suspended.

Events of note

1819. The Peterloo Massacre, Manchester.

1824. Trade Unions were made legal.

1825. Opening of the Stockton & Darlington railway.

1827. Admiral Codrington (along with the Russians and French) sank a Turkish fleet at Navarino Bay.

1828. repeal of the test Act, allowed access to public office of Nonconformists (but not to Catholics).

1829. Catholic Emancipation Act lifted restrictions.

1830. Opening of the Liverpool to Manchester passenger railway. On the opening day, a Member of Parliament, William Huskisson, accidentally stepped in the way of a train and was killed, becoming the first railway fatality.


William IV

Son of George III, brother of George IV
Reigned as King from 1830-1837 (age 64 to 71)

Lived 1765-1837.

Married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen

Their two children died in infancy, setting the stage for the accession of William's niece, Victoria.


The coats of arms
of the Hanoverians

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