King George III of Great-Britain (1738-1820) had always been a family man with strong moral principles, but, during his recurring bouts of ‘madness’, he developed an embarrassing fancy for a respectable grandmother of over fifty.
His doctors had him strapped into a strait-jacket, which worsened his condition. They didn’t realise that George suffered from a rare hereditary disease causing excruciating pains.
George III was born on June 4, 1738. His mother was Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719-1772) and his father was the Crown-Prince Frederick (1707-1751), who was known as “Poor Fred”, because both his parents hated him. His father, George II, called Frederick “the greatest villain that ever was born”, his mother, Caroline of Ansbach, called him “the greatest ass, and the greatest beast in the whole world” and his sister Caroline (1713-1757) wished that “he may die and that we may all go about with smiling faces and glad hearts”. Nevertheless, Frederick was a much better father for George than his father had been for him. He loved music and encouraged his children to appreciate it. He engaged reasonably competent tutors for his sons and they were taught Latin, French, German, history, mathematics and religion. The tutors found George a difficult pupil, not exactly unwilling, but lethargic and incapable of concentration. At times he was silent and morose and when he was angry, he became obstinate and sullen. At twenty he still wrote like a child.
In March 1751 Prince Frederick caught a chill and died soon afterwards. His widow became a rather possessive mother to the children. Her friend and adviser was the vain and pompous John Stuart (1713-1792), Earl of Bute, who was regarded as “extremely handsome”. According to Horace Walpole (1717-1797) “the beauty of his leg was constantly displayed in the eye of the poor captivated Princess”. George implored Bute to help him and Bute never hesitated to mark his faults or to remind him of the immense responsibility of his calling. So when George succeeded his grandfather in 1760, he took Bute’s advice on every matter, ignoring other ministers with decades of political experience.