You are here: History > British kings and queens > House of Hanover

House of Hanover

King George I

George I (1714–1727)

In 1701, the English parliament passed the Act of Settlement. This stated that if Anne, the heir to the throne, had no surviving children herself, the throne would pass to her distant German relative, the Protestant Electress of Hanover, Sophia. When Sophia died in 1714, the succession passed to her son George. Queen Anne died childless later the same year, so George became the first Hanoverian king of England and Scotland as George I. Anne had many Roman Catholic relatives with stronger claims, including James Stuart, son of James II, who led a rebellion by his supporters, known as the Jacobites, in Scotland in 1715. This, however, was suppressed.
George was unable to chair the Cabinet meetings as he spoke no English. As First Lord of the Treasury from 1721 to 1742, Robert Walpole took over the role and became in effect the first prime minister. Partly because of his inability to speak English, and partly because of the way he treated his wife Sophia (he even imprisoned her in 1694), George was an unpopular monarch throughout his reign.

In 1743, George led his troops into battle against the French at Dettingen. He was the last British king to fight in battle.

Q-files now has new sections specially written for younger readers. They are: Living world, Earth, Science, Human body, Prehistoric life, Space, History, Geography and Technology.

Find the answer