An Unfaithful Monarch

George II was a man of many mistresses, his beloved Hanover amongst them.               

George Augustus was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death in 1760.

He was the last British monarch to have been born outside Great Britain, and was infamous for his antipathy with both his father and, subsequently, his son and heir, Frederick.

Like his father George I, his first languages were German and French, but unlike George I, he was also very fluent in English (although he spoke with a heavy German accent), as well as Latin, Dutch, and Spanish.

As king, he was discontent with Parliament’s great control of government which gravitated him more and more over the years back to his beloved homeland of Hanover, where as Elector, he reigned supreme.







George I I as prince of wales

As a young man, George Augustus was a martial prince, much like his despised cousin Frederick of Prussia (whom he once challenged to a duel!)

 At the head of his father’s Hanoverian contingent, he proved himself a good and valient soldier fighting with Marlborough and Price Eugene of Savoy at the Battles of Oudenared and Malplaquet (War of Spanish Succession).

 Having so distinguished himself, George I said of his detested son, “He is wild, but he fights like a man. “

George II at Dettingen

As King George II, he was the last British monarch in history to lead his own army. At the Battle of Dettingen when his horse spooked (like many others) he was nearly carried into the enemy lines, but once dismounted, brandished his sword at the whole French army with notorious pluck.

 In 1705,  while still a German princeling, he married a German Princess, renown for her beauty, intelligence, good temper and wit, and contrary to his parents marriage it was a good match. Caroline of Anspach would prove an exceptionally fond and devoted wife. 

Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Princess of Wales (1717)

He was a choleric little man, prone to fits of temper, and was frequently remarked kicking his wig about the room when piqued.   

As king,  managed unwittingly by his queen and chief minister, Sir Robert Walpole.   “You may strut dapper George but ’tis all in vain; we know not you, but Queen Caroline who reigns.”

 Curiously, though no one could doubt he loved his queen, Dapper George  Had the same need as his sire to flaunt his virility with mistresses, the first of whom, Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, served both Caroline as a Woman of the Bedchamber, and  George Augustus as mistress, for two decades.

(Link to an excellent article about Henrietta Howard by Lucy Worsley :–mistress-saved-royal-marriage.html.                    









Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk

When the King finally tired of Henrietta (Or when she made her escape into Lord Suffolk’s arms) he began to pursue Lady Deloraine, the governess to the royal princesses, but even his wife and mistresses could not keep him content enough to stay in Britain.

George II was forever going back to Hanover. In 1729, he went for a visit that lasted over two years!  With his intelligent and ambitious queen ruling in his stead, he was not the least missed by his faithful British subjects.

He went for other extended visits in 1735  during which time he met his next mistress, a married lady named Amalie Von Wallmoden.

Countess of Yarmouth

In 1736, she bore a son, Johann Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Wallmoden-Gimborn, the unacknowledged illegitimate child of the king. By 1738, George II’s visits to Hanover to see his mistress were numerous enough to invite satire by Samuel Johnson in the poem “London”.

Johnson wrote another scathing verse of the king’s relationship: “his tortured sons shall die before his face / While he lies melting in a lewd embrace”.

 A shocking anecdote of George II, was his reply to his wife, who on her deathbed, feared for his loneliness and implored him to remarry. His reply,”Non. Non;j’aurai des maitresses.”  (No. no; I will have mistresses!)

After the death of the queen in November 1737, von Wallmoden divorced her husband and came to join the king in England, where she was naturalized and patented Countess of Yarmouth, the last royal mistress to be so honored.



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