King George IV of England

Prince Regent Appoints British Consul in Hanover 1 Month before George III's Death

Prince Regent Appoints British Consul in Hanover 1 Month before George III's Death


Handwritten diplomatic appointment signed by then Prince Regent and future King George IV (1762-1830) as "George R" at upper right. Issued from Carlton House, London, England, on December 20, 1819. Vellum bearing a large embossed seal at top left, and an oblong blue seal at lower left. Also signed by Foreign Secretary Robert Stewart, Viscount of Castlereagh (1769-1822) as "Castlereagh" at lower right. With expected paper folds. Handsomely presented behind beveled olive green matting and glass to the right of a print of George IV in royal dress and pompadour. Not examined out of frame. Sight size of document is 17.5" x 12.75"; the frame size overall is 28.25" x 18.25" x .75". Catalog description from Kenneth W. Rendell Gallery, Inc. (New York, NY and Beverly Hills, CA) found verso.


The Prince Regent appointed Richard Rochfort British Consul at "Embden, in the circle of Westphalia." This region of northwestern Germany had been taken over by the Kingdom of Hanover--and therefore by the British monarchy--in 1814. Rochfort's appointment was publicized in the July-December 1819 issue of the London Gazette.


The appointment reads in part, with unchanged spelling and grammar:


"George the Third by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, King of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburgh &c. To Our Trusty and Well-beloved Richard Rochfort, Esquire, Greeting:


Whereas We have thought fit, for the better carrying on of Our Trade at Embden, in the circle of Westphalia, to constitute and appoint a proper Person to be Our Consul there - We, in consideration of the good Testimony We have received of your Loyalty to Us, and of your abilities to execute such an Employment in a fit and proper manner, do by these Presents nominate and appoint you the said Richard Rochfort to be Our Consul at Embden…


Given at Our Court at Carlton House the twentieth day of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and nineteen, in the sixtieth Year of His Majesty's Reign.


By the command of His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, in the Name and on the Behalf of His Majesty…"


The Regency-era language of this document is revealing, and fascinating. The Regency Act of 1811 authorized the ailing king's son and heir apparent to act as proxy. Yet the Prince Regent acted only in George III's name and on his behalf. In this way, instead of just admitting that George III was insane and replacing him with a new ruler, there was a universal suspension of disbelief that ensured the continuity of the Hanoverian Dynasty. The Prince Regent acted as de facto ruler between 1811-1820.


George III died on January 29, 1820, just five weeks after the Prince Regent had signed this diplomatic appointment. The elderly monarch was almost completely blind and deaf and suffered from dementia. George III was certainly no stranger to mental illness. During his 60-year-long reign, he had several incapacitating episodes that some speculate might have been caused by the genetic disorder porphyria.


Carlton House was George IV's London residence between 1783-1820. The heir apparent and later Prince Regent spent a fortune redesigning and redecorating the palace. "The first gentleman of England" formed a lavish court there that attracted the intelligentsia and social celebrities of the age. George IV and this coterie shaped the fashions of Regency-era Britain.


George IV was a problematic sovereign. While he ensured the continuity of the Hapsburg monarchy during and after his father's illnesses, his personal temperament and lifestyle excesses alienated him from both the government and the British people.



Item: 65140

Price: $600.00
King George IV of EnglandKing George IV of EnglandKing George IV of EnglandKing George IV of England
King George IV of England
King George IV of England
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