George II (1683-1760), king of Great Britain and Ireland (1727-1760)

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Son of George I, George II was the last British king to lead his troops in battle. He was present at the battle of Oudenarde (1708), where he distinguished himself. He grew up in Hanover, and did not come to Britain until 1714, and Hanover remained more important for him, sometimes causing problems during the wars of his reign. His relationship with his father was sometimes strained, and they were estranged from 1717-1720. He argued with Frederick of Prussia early in his reign, and although they were reconciled in 1730, they were never easy allies.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, his initial concern was the safety of Hanover, but Britain eventually entered the war on the Austrian side, and George II was personally in charge of the allies troops at the battle of Dettingen (27 June 1743), the last time a British monarch led his troops in person, and the victory restored his popularity. However, the war turned against Britain and Austria. The second Jacobite Revolt (the 45), forced Britain to withdraw troops from the continent, although the Jacobites were eventually beaten back into Scotland by George II's third son, the duke of Cumberland, who inflicted a final defeat on them at Culloden (16 April 1746). French and Prussian successes forced an end to the war with a mutual restoration of lands, confirmed by the treaty of Aix-le-Chapelle (18 October 1748).

When the conflict resumed, as the Seven Years War (1754-1763), Britain found herself allied with Prussia against France and Austria, in a reversal of alliances. He was forced to accept William Pitt the Elder as effective commander in chief, and by the time of George's death, he had withdrawn from active politics, a landmark in the develop of the constitution. He was followed on the throne by his grandson, George III.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (31 October 2000), George II (1683-1760), king of Great Britain and Ireland (1727-1760), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_george2.html

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