Heritage > Rulers

William IV, 1830-1837

William was born in 1765, and was the eldest surviving brother of George. He married Adelaide, daughter of the Grand Duke of Saxe-Meininghen. They had two children, whom both died as infants.

William spent many years at sea, commanding ships and later became the Admiral of the Fleet.

Before succeeding to the throne, he had a mistress in Dorothea Jordan, or otherwise known as Dorothy Bland, who was a popular actress. They settled down together and had ten children. When William's allowance was low, which was frequent as it was a meagre one, Dorothy would put on her grease-paint and take to the stage, once again, to raise cash.

After 20 years, William realised that he was no longer in love with her and paid Mrs Jordan a pension in order to release himself for a marriage of wealth. The seeking of this marriage took seven years and Mrs Jordan died of a broken heart in those years.

William eventually found Princess Adelaide, she brought no dowry, only a promise that she would look after his illegitimate children. Princess Adelaide was a good hearted and kind woman.

At this stage William was only third in line to the throne, but with the death of Frederick Duke of York, he became heir. He was 65 years old when he was crowned King and nobody expected much of him, but hoped that he would be easier to respect than his hated brother.

He did some good for British politics by creating enough Whig Peers to force the Great Reform Bill through the Tory House of Lords.

He died at the age of 71.

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