Fact of the day: 26th June

On this day in 1830 George IV of the United Kingdom died.

When George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent, then aged 57, ascended the throne as George IV, with no real change in his powers.

By the time of his accession, he was obese and possibly addicted to laudanum.

George IV spent most of his later reign in seclusion at Windsor Castle, but he continued to intervene in politics.

At first it was believed that he would support Catholic emancipation, as he had proposed a Catholic Emancipation Bill for Ireland in 1797, but his anti-Catholic views became clear in 1813 when he privately canvassed against the ultimately defeated Catholic Relief Bill of 1813.

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By 1824 he was denouncing Catholic emancipation in public. Having taken the coronation oath on his accession, George now argued that he had sworn to uphold the Protestant faith, and could not support any pro-Catholic measures.

The influence of the Crown was so great, and the will of the Tories under Prime Minister Lord Liverpool so strong, that Catholic emancipation seemed hopeless.

In 1827, however, Lord Liverpool retired, to be replaced by the pro-emancipation Tory George Canning.

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