Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Prince's Ball at Brighton

What Regency blog is complete without the Prince Regent? Poor George, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and little else to recommend him. His father, George III, seemed to put a damper on all his prospects. First off, III lived to the ripe old age of 82, meaning that the Prince of Wales would not become king until he was 58. That's a long time to wait around until he was to take the position he was born to. His unfortunate father was afflicted with a terrible disease, assumed today to be acute porphyria. One symptom was recurring bouts of insanity, making it impossible for him to act in his ruling capacity. As a result, his son was appointed Prince Regent, ruling in his father's stead, though not with any actual power. 

George III, for all the negative opinion voiced by American colonists, was quite a nice man. He was a sober and clean-living young man, rejecting any opportunities to be a wild wastrel in his spare time. He agreed to an arranged marriage with Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he met on their wedding day. Fortunately, they hit it off from the start and had a very happy marriage and 15 children. George III was devoted to his family and never took a mistress.

Young George did not take after his father in that respect, but dove into high-living at an early age. Despite his parents' tight control over the purse strings, Prince George plowed his way through society, racking up huge debts which he believed would be taken care of once he became king. Parliament holds the purse, dear boy.  One of George's greatest extravagances was the building of the Royal Pavilion at Brighton. A huge pleasure palace of fantastic oriental design, it was the party headquarters in the foremost seaside resort of the Georgian era, and a never-ending source of inspiration for the caricature artists of the times. Here's a great one of George and a mistress enjoying their new giraffe.

Dolly and Minerva have managed to be invited to a ball at the Royal Pavilion. Nice escorts, girls!

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