George III of England Facts & Worksheets

George III of England facts and information plus worksheet packs and fact file. Includes 5 activities aimed at students 11-14 years old (KS3) & 5 activities aimed at students 14-16 years old (GCSE). Great for home study or to use within the classroom environment.

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    • Early Life
    • Ascension to Throne
    • Reign through American Revolution
    • Mental Illness and Death 

    Key Facts And Information

    Let’s know more about George III of England!

    King George III ruled the British kingdom through difficult times, including the American Revolutionary War, after which the colonies gained independence. Before Queen Victoria, he was England's longest-ruling monarch, having ascended the British throne in 1760. He spent the last decade in a cloud of insanity and blindness after enduring recurrent episodes of acute mental illness. 

    King George III


    • The sickly prince was born prematurely on June 4, 1738, to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. George William Frederick looked unlikely at the time to become King George III, England's longest-ruling king before Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. 
    • He was baptised the same day by Thomas Secker, who was both Rector of St James's and Bishop of Oxford, because he was born two months prematurely and deemed unlikely to survive. A month later, he was officially baptised at Norfolk House, again by Secker. King Frederick I of Sweden, his uncle Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, and his great-aunt Sophia Dorothea, Queen of Prussia served as his godparents.
    • Young George was educated by private tutors, and by age 8 he could speak English and German and would soon learn French. He was taught a variety of courses, but the natural sciences caught his interest. In his childhood, George was quite shy and timid, but he was greatly affected by his primary mentor, Scottish nobleman John Stuart, Third Earl of Bute, who helped the young prince overcome his shyness and advised him on a variety of personal and political concerns.
    • George acquired the title Duke of Edinburgh from his father when he died in 1751. Three weeks later, his grandfather, George II, made the 12-year-old Prince of Wales, putting him in position to succeed to the throne. George's grandfather asked him to reside at St. James Place when he became 18, but Lord Bute persuaded him to stay at home with his dominating mother, who instilled in him her strict moral ideals.


    • Following the death of his grandfather George II, George III became King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1760. The 22-year-old monarch downplayed his Hanoverian ties in his inaugural speech to Parliament. “Born and educated in this country,” he said, “I glory in the name of Britain.” 
    • George married Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the daughter of a German duke, a year after his coronation. It was a political union—the two met for the first time on their wedding day—but one that bore fruit: Queen Charlotte had 15 children. 
    • Aside from the throne, George inherited a raging world war, religious turmoil, and shifting societal challenges. Since 1754, when a British colonial militia led by Lieutenant George Washington attacked French Fort Duquesne, Britain and France had been engaged in a border conflict along the North American boundary.
    • During the Seven Years' War that followed, George III's prime minister, Lord Bute, kept the young, inexperienced monarch isolated from critical members of Parliament. 
    • Bute was vilified by other members of Parliament because of his Scottish origin and belief in King George III's divine right to govern, and he was finally compelled to retire owing to heavy public criticism and his supposed participation in a sex scandal involving George's mother. 
    • Boundary line of the Proclamation of 1763

      Bute was replaced as King George's prime minister by George Grenville in 1763. Grenville looked to the American colonies for revenue because the Empire was badly in debt at the end of the Seven Years' War. He reasoned that since the colonies benefited from the war's outcome and British troops were required to safeguard them in North America, they should pay the costs.

    • In 1763, George issued a Royal Proclamation prohibiting European settlement in British lands west of the Appalachians in North America, partly as a concession to allied Native American nations fighting alongside Britain against France, such as the Iroquois Confederacy. Many American colonists who want to settle in the newly conquered lands complained, but King George had other plans for them.
    • The reasoning was accepted by King George, who approved the Sugar Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765. But in the colonies, the Stamp Act was met with outrage, contempt and, for some tax collectors, violence. "No taxation without representation!" rang out in Boston, Massachusetts, and eventually in other colonial cities as well.


    • The Battles of Lexington and Concord started off the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. The Declaration of Independence, published the next year, outlined the Americans' argument for independence, presenting George III as an inflexible tyrant who had wasted his power to rule the colonies. In actuality, the situation was more complicated: colonial policy was overseen by Parliamentary ministers rather than the monarch, while George nevertheless wielded direct and indirect influence.
    • Lord North became Prime Minister in 1770, marking the start of a 12-year period of parliamentary stability. Across 1773, he imposed a tea tax in the colonies. The Americans grumbled about unrepresentative taxes, but North stood steady with George's support. 
    • Despite the repeal of the Stamp Act, Parliament approved the Declaratory Act in 1766, which declared the colonies to be under Parliament's control and subject to British law. Following that, Parliament passed new tax laws. 
    • As the colonies' criticisms became louder, Lords Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Elder stated their resistance to taxing them, claiming that the distance and difficulties of collecting taxes was too considerable. 
    • In the middle of all of this political strife, King George III pushed the Royal Marriages Act through Parliament. 
    • The king, a devout Anglican, was outraged by his adulterous brother, Prince Henry, and passed legislation making it unlawful for a member of the royal family to marry without the monarch's approval.
    • Many colonists had had enough of Parliament's overreach by the year 1775. The colonists convened the Second Continental Congress, which was inspired by Enlightenment intellectuals John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, and shaped their thoughts into a declaration of independence. 
    • Despite the fact that the regulations were created and enacted by Parliament, the colonists' complaints were solely directed against the monarch. 
    • Many British authorities realised by 1779 that the war was a hopeless cause, but the king insisted on fighting it nevertheless to avoid rewarding disobedience. 
    • On October 19, 1781, combined French and American armies encircled the British Army at Yorktown, thereby destroying any British chances of triumph. He drafted an abdication speech but in the end decided to defer to Parliament’s peace negotiations. The 1783 Treaty of Paris recognised the United States and ceded Florida to Spain.
    • He stated it was his responsibility to fight the Americans in "the battle of the legislature" and "resist every attempt to weaken or impair" the empire's sovereign power. As a result, he was thrilled when the Coercive Acts passed almost unanimously, and he rejoiced when the results of the late-1774 parliamentary election elected an even larger majority of parliamentarians hostile to conciliation. 
    • The Coercive Acts fully united the colonies, and in November 1774, King George III told Lord North, "We must either master them or totally leave them to themselves."
    • George III's primary role in the war was in prolonging it well after North lost all faith that it could be won once news of Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga reached London in late 1777. The King came to regard victory over the United States as critical to the British Empire's survival—and he was convinced that the war must go on, and that North must remain in office to counter the virtual traitors, such as Chatham and the Marquis of Rockingham, who were willing to accept defeat as a badge of shame.


    • Lord North's coalition was thrown out at the end of 1783 by William Pitt the Younger, who would go on to become Prime Minister for the next 17 years. In 1778, George had gone into a months-long period of violent insanity. As the rule crisis developed around him, he was confined with a straitjacket and subjected to numerous therapies. 
    • He recovered the next year and went on to reign for the next 12 years as a much-loved monarch and symbol of stability in the midst of France's revolutionary turmoil. George's backing for England's involvement in the late-1790s French Revolutionary Wars provided early opposition to Napoleon's juggernaut. 
    • In 1804, George had a second severe episode of insanity, from which he recovered, but in 1810 he succumbed to his final sickness. His son, the future George IV, became prince regent a year later, allowing him to reign effectively during the War of 1812 and Napoleon's eventual defeat at Waterloo in 1815.
    • King George's insanity resurfaced in 1811 as a result of personal family tragedies and the stress of reigning. The monarch had become feeble and blind, and it was clear that he could no longer perform his responsibilities. The Regency Act was enacted by Parliament, and the empire's destiny eventually fell to his oldest son, Prince George, who was put in the unfortunate position of having to rule according to his father's increasingly unpredictable will. 
    • George III had intermittent periods of lucidity until his death on January 29, 1820, at Windsor Castle. He was buried in St. George's Chapel. 
    • Although a 2005 investigation of hair samples revealed arsenic poisoning (from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics) as a probable cause, his ailments might have been caused by porphyria, a hereditary metabolic condition.