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King William IV Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 21, 1765 in Buckingham House, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 21, 1837 in St George's Chapel, Windsor, England, United Kingdom
Biography | show moreshow less
Prince William Henry (1765-1837), the third son of King George III, reigned as King William IV from 1830 until his death. Since his older brothers, including King George IV, predeceased him without legitimate offspring, he inherited the throne, becoming the last Hanoverian monarch of England. William, who himself had 10 illegitimate children, also died without an official heir, resulting in the accession of his niece, Queen Victoria. As a young officer in the Royal Navy, the future king served in New York during the American Revolution, where George Washington authorized a plot to kidnap him, if this could be done "without offering insult or indignity." Serving in the West Indies, he formed a lifelong friendship with Lord Horatio Nelson. In 1789, King George III made William the Duke of Clarence reluctantly, fearing that his reform-minded son would be a vote against him in the House of Lords. William forced his royal father's hand by threatening to run for the House of Commons, a threat which appalled the King. As a member of the House of Lords, William - now the Duke of Clarence - generally supported reform measures, with one notable exception: he supported slavery and the slave trade. Despite his naval background, and despite being made a titular Lord High Admiral, William unsuccessfully sought active duty during the Napoleonic Wars; his early opposition to war with France probably prevented this, although he later supported the conflict. William IV proved a popular monarch, noted for shunning pomp and ceremony. His reign saw the passage, with his support, of the Reform Act of 1832, expanding the British electorate, and also - despite his earlier opposition - the ending of the slave trade.

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