|George I by Godfrey Kneller, 1714|
We're not feeling too cheery in the salon today because I have been reflecting on the death of the man whose reign began the glorious Georgian era. Far from a romantic hero, George I did not endear himself to his family, ministers or many of his subjects and on 11th June 1727, the first Hanovarian king of England died during a visit to his beloved native lands.
Since his coronation in 1714, the country of George's birth was never far from his mind though his home was predominantly in England, he had made several trips back to Hanover in the intervening years. The journey of 1727 was to be his last and he was accompanied on the trip by Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal. Immensely powerful at court, the Duchess was George's mistress of many years standing and, some whispered, his secret wife.
On 9th June, as the group travelled between Delden and Nordhorn, George was afflicted by a major stroke. Barely clinging to life he was rushed to the comfort of Schloss Osnabrück, home of his brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of York and Albany. Here the king lingered on the verge of death for two days before he died in the early hours of 11th June.
George I was laid to rest in the chapel of the Leineschloss and here he remained for over two centuries. When the palace was destroyed by bombing raids during World War II, George was removed and reburied at Herrenhausen, where he remains to this day.
Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.