William IV: The Last Hanoverian King of Britain John Van der Kiste
Born in 1765, third son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, Prince William, Duke of Clarence, initially had little expectation of succeeding to the British throne. A brief career in the navy, followed by several years of semi-obscurity and a liaison with the actress Dorothea Jordan that gave them a family of ten children, came to an end with the royal race for the crown', requiring him and several of his other similarly unmarried brothers to find wives and ensure the royal succession after the unexpected death of their only legitimate niece Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent. William's wife, Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, failed to produce any children who survived infancy, but despite their great difference in ages she succeeded in taming his previously uncouth manners. By the time he ascended the throne in 1830, the formerly outspoken prince had proved himself fitted to be a conscientious and astute if occasionally eccentric sovereign who successfully weathered the storms engendered by the passage of the Great Reform Bill. Between them, King William and Queen Adelaide helped to restore the popularity of a somewhat tarnished crown and lay the foundations for a modern monarchy under the auspices of their niece who succeeded them as Queen Victoria. This book portrays the life and character of Good King Billy', one of Britain's most endearing sovereigns. An affable character of straightforward honesty and common sense, an occasionally tactless, blundering character with an instinctive dislike of pomp and ceremony but with the common touch, he was arguably the most human, down-to-earth of the Hanoverians.