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King George I and King George II

Join us on 28 January at 2pm, in the historic Amy Buller Library at Cumberland Lodge, as we delve into the fascinating history surrounding two of Britain’s most underrated monarchs, King George I and King George II, with Peter Symonds from the Royal Collection Trust, an expert in royal history. 

George I and George II – or, the words of a contemporary, ‘Dunce the First’ and ‘Dunce the Second’ – reluctantly governed Britain for 46 years. Father and son famously despised each other, and were widely ridiculed by their English subjects in the early 18th century.

To help understand why this reputation is so enduring, Peter examines their public and private lives, their scandals, wives, mistresses and politics. In the course of the talk, he will reveal how the First Georgians did not entirely deserve their unfortunate legacy.

Historical background

George I was the first British monarch of the House of Hanover. During his reign (1714-27), the John and Sarah Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, occupied Cumberland Lodge, leaving it to their grandson John Spencer, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, after them.

It was George II’s favourite second son William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who took up the Rangership of the Great Park in 1746 and was responsible for making significant changes to the landscaping and floor plan of Cumberland Lodge, during his time in residence. The magnificent view from the back of the Lodge today owes much to the landscaping in this period. William Augustus was the first member of the Royal family to reside here, and he felt the Lodge needed much improvement to accommodate a Prince.

The Duke commissioned the architect Henry Flitcroft to add another wing to the house ('The Royal Wing'), and to design The Mews, which date from 1750 and once stabled the great racehorse Eclipse.

In 1791, King George III became Ranger of the Great Park and it was he would employed the architect James Wyatt to undertake major renovations on the house and give it a fashionable gothic facade. Unfortunately, funds ran out, which is why only the west face of the house was completed. It was George III who renamed the house Cumberland Lodge in honour of his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland. The King used the Lodge as a quiet retreat in his later years.


Tickets for this talk cost £10 per person, including tea, coffee and cake afterwards.

All proceeds will support our charitable work in empowering people, through dialogue and debate, to promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies. Everyone is welcome.

To book your place, please contact Emma Albery on 01784 497790, email

Event Type: 

Dates and times

From: 28 Jan 2020 - 2:00pm
To: 28 Jan 2020 - 3:30pm
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