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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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George IV and William IV (1821 - 1837)
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George IV and William IV (1821 - 1837)GEORGE IV (1821-30)
BORN IN 1762, GEORGE IV understudied the sovereign's role as Prince Regent during his father's illness. During this time, wayward 'Prinny' did his utmost to destroy the respect painstakingly earned by George III.

Artistic, imaginative, handsome, the Prince was charming to women (who cooed over 'the irresistible sweetness of his smile, the tenderness of his melodious yet manly voice'). But over-eating and drinking soon transformed George into the cartoonists' gross 'Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion' - apoplectic and almost bursting out of his breeches.

The love of his life was Mrs Maria Fitzherbert, a Catholic widow he married in secret. His 'official' marriage in 1795 to a German cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, proved short: 'I am not well, pray get me a glass of brandy,' were his words when they met. The couple separated after a daughter, Charlotte, was born in 1796. Arriving for the coronation in 1821, the queen was shut out of Westminster Abbey.

George liked fashionable clothes and company, such as George (Beau) Brummel. He made Brighton and Bath the places to see and be seen. As king, George IV forsook the radical views he had spouted to annoy his father, playing no part in the reign's reforms (of criminal law and police; free trade; more religious freedoms for Catholics and Nonconformists). Princess Charlotte having died in childbirth in 1817, George IV was succeeded by his brother, William.

WILLIAM IV (1830-37)
'Silly Billy' was George Ill's third son, born in 1765. Nobody expected him to become king and so he was sent into the navy - hence his more flattering nickname, 'The Sailor King'.

THE ROYAL PAVILION, BRIGHTON
The domes, pinnacles and minarets of Brighton's Royal Pavilion make it Britain's most exotic royal palace. In 1786 - a year after marrying Mrs Fitzherbert - the Prince of Wales took a modest farmhouse, transformed between 1815-22 by John Nash into an oriental fantasy palace with Chinese interiors and a dramatic Banqueting Room. The Pavilion is a unique memorial to Regency taste, extravagantly indulged.


Cheery and excitable, William lived in cosy, unmarried bliss with the actress Dorothea Jordan and their ten children, but - pressured by the royal family - in 1818 he married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. The deaths of Princess Charlotte and his older brother, the Duke of York, made him next in line to the throne.
William was thrilled to be king, riding about London in a carriage, waving to passers-by. His modest coronation was in marked contrast to George IV's and his acceptance of the 1832 Reform Act -though reluctant - showed the monarchy adjusting to a world in which 'One man, one vote' became a clarion call.

Good-hearted, and showing unexpected common sense in a crisis, William had no surviving children from his marriage to Queen Adelaide. It was his niece, Princess Victoria, who succeeded 'Silly Billy' in June 1837.

'Who is Silly Billy now?' William IV, speaking to his Privy Council

GEORGE IV
Flamboyant George loved dressing up. He admired Jane Austen but almost sold his father's books (now in the British Library) to the Tsar.

George IV and William IV (1821 - 1837)


NASH'S FAIRY-TALE FANCY The Royal Pavilion, looking like an elaborately iced cake, is one of Britain's most instantly recognizable buildings.

George IV and William IV (1821 - 1837)


THE SAILOR KING
William IV spent his early years at sea, and served under Nelson in the West Indies. He fretted over the fact that he had never been given his own command.

George IV and William IV (1821 - 1837)




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