Imagine that you are a monarchy without a king or queen! At least, you don’t have a king of queen who fits the preferred profile.
That is exactly what happened in 1714 when Queen Anne died leaving no heirs (even though she has had 17 pregnancies).
Of course, there was James 11 who was especially eager to assume the throne, but, he did not meet the criteria. He was Catholic and believed in being a supreme ruler which contrasted with the intent of the Parliament to establish a constitutional monarchy.
There were up to 50 (yes, 50!) others who would have been considered “legitimate” heirs, but none of them met this new definition.
Enter George Ludwig, Elector of Hanover in Germany.
He and his successors have re-entered the scene during this 300th anniversary in the form of museum exhibits and many related activities.
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As described in the brochure of “The First Georgians” in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, “the exhibition tells the story of Britain’s emergence as the world’s most liberal, commercial and cosmopolitan society through works of art collected by the royal family during the reigns of George I and his son, George II”.
At the Victoria and Albert Museum an exhibit entitled “William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain” provided information on the
the life and work of William Kent, the most prominent architect and designer of early Georgian Britain. He became the “go to” choice to provide versatility and artistic inventiveness at a time when Britain defined itself as a new nation and developed a design aesthetic for the period, notably at Kensington Palace.
Ahhh, Kensington Palace. I spent an entire afternoon enjoying three different exhibitions, including one called “The Glorious Georgians” that focused on the life in the courts of George I and George II.
Since Queen Victoria grew up at Kensington Palace and later actually saved it from destruction when she was queen, there is also a delightful exhibit called “Victoria Revealed” that explores her long and fascinating life.
Princess Victoria was born on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace where she grew up alone with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and spent what she would later recall as a lonely and unhappy childhood.
She became queen at just eighteen and held her first Privy Council meeting in Kensington Palace’s Red Saloon.
I was especially touched by the devoted relationship she had with Albert. Remember that since she was the monarch, protocol required that she would propose to him. I love that! After 24 years on the throne at age 42, she was completely devastated by Albert’s death. As you may remember, she lived for another 42 years. She died in 1901 at age 82.
– See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/VictoriaRevealed#sthash.wm6IL8sm.dpuf
By the way, on September 11 of next year, Queen Elizabeth will surpass the long reign of Queen Victoria. At age 88 now, she certainly seems to be on her way to achieving that exciting milestone. Remember, her mother died at age 102!
Four other interesting museum exhibits deserve mention:
1. “Italian Fashion” at the Victoria and Albert Museum
2. “Fashion Rules” at Kensington Palace included dresses from The Queen, her sister Princess Margaret and also Diana, Princess of Wales or affectionately considered “The People’s Princess”.
Remember that Diana lived at Kensington Palace and it was there that people flocked after her death to place flowers and other tributes.
Currently, among many other members of the Royal family, William and Kate and baby George live there. Another George!
3. The Royal Mews, a permanent “exhibit” that includes the ceremonial coaches used for royal processions. See the most famous golden one:
The Golden Coach
4. “Henri Matisse, The Cut-outs” at the Tate Modern was a completely delightful presentation of his intense curiosity and unmatched artistry.
I have also been enjoying the vibrant theatrical scene here in London. More about the three plays I have experienced thus far in my next post.