William IV

King of the United Kingdom and Hanover from 1830 to 1837 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. The third son of George III, William succeeded his elder brother George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.

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William IV
William in Garter Robes with his right hand on his sword and St Edward's Crown and sceptre beside him on a cushion resting on a covered table; in the distance to the right is a view of Windsor Castle.
Portrait by Martin Archer Shee, 1833
King of the United Kingdom and Hanover
Reign26 June 1830 – 20 June 1837
Coronation8 September 1831
PredecessorGeorge IV
Born(1765-08-21)21 August 1765
Buckingham House, London, England
Died20 June 1837(1837-06-20) (aged 71)
Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England
Burial8 July 1837
(m. 1818)
William Henry
FatherGeorge III
MotherCharlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
SignatureCursive signature of William IV
Military career
AllegianceGreat Britain
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of active service1779–1790
RankRear admiral (active service)
Commands held
Battles/warsBattle of Cape St. Vincent

William served in the Royal Navy in his youth, spending time in British North America and the Caribbean, and was later nicknamed the "Sailor King". In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. In 1827, he was appointed Britain's first Lord High Admiral since 1709. As his two elder brothers died without leaving legitimate issue, he inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. His reign saw several reforms: the Poor Law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, and the electoral system refashioned by the Reform Acts of 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last British monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. He granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution.

At the time of his death, William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. Late in life, he married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen and remained faithful to her. William was succeeded by his niece Victoria in the United Kingdom and his brother Ernest Augustus in Hanover.