The Crown in Crisis
Glittering jewels and opulent costumes help royal portraits to convey power and brilliance. Such images masked the family feuds and sex scandals that sparked national anxiety about the future of the monarchy. George III was one of Britain’s longest-reigning monarchs. He was admired for his devotion to duty and respectable domesticity. While the king suffered from mental ill health, his son George, Prince of Wales, reigned in his place. He and his brothers indulged in affairs, gambling and drinking. Much of the public thought them morally unfit to rule. In the early 19th century, people’s hopes for the monarchy were focused on the Prince of Wales’s daughter, Princess Charlotte. Her premature death turned attention towards another young princess, her cousin Victoria, born in 1819.