Ward's Book of Days.
Pages of interesting anniversaries.
What happened on this day in history.
On this day in history in 1727, died George I.
George was a German, the first of the Hanoverian monarchs succeeding the childless Queen Anne when the Stuart line ran out.
George had only a nebulous claim to the throne. His ancestry descended from James I, George’s great grandfather. Parliament had decided by the Act of Settlement of 1701, that George would succeed in due course but many other candidates for the throne with closer claims by primogeniture had been overlooked in the selection process. The other candidates were either Catholic, a threat to the Established Church, or monarchs of other nations, a great difficulty when England was at war with France and some other European states.
George had certain advantages for the throne. He was an able military strategist, he had connections in the courts of Europe and had one priceless advantage: He could not speak English. This was of great advantage to the king’s ministers as the king, being unable to order affairs of state directly, was obliged to delegate to them. The king’s favourite minister, Robert Walpole, by degrees took over the government and earned himself the title of Prime Minister. Walpole was the first Prime Minister and the longest serving. Unfortunately, Walpole could not speak German but both he and king George spoke French so the business of state had to be conducted in the language of the enemy.
George made intermittent visits to his homeland and, on one occasion, he had a stroke when sitting on the toilet and died.
For other unusual Royal deaths see 24th March.
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