05.06.

1771: Ernest Augustus Becomes King in Germany

1771: Ernest Augustus Becomes King in Germany
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Statue of Ernest Augustus I in front of the Hannover Hauptbahnhof. Bystanders meet "under the tail"

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 5 June 1771
  • Ernest Augustus was the son of British King George III and uncle of Queen Victoria. There were even some allegations that he intended to eliminate Victoria in order to become king of Great Britain himself.

On this day in the year 1771 Prince Ernest Augustus, who later became king of the German state of Hanover, was born.

The Hanover dynasty ruled Britain since 1714, when George I, who was originally a German prince-elector of Hanover (he inherited the British throne after his mother), came to the throne.

The House of Hanover ruled Great Britain and Hanover in parallel over a long period (i.e. personal union), and Hanover had been created a kingdom in 1814.

Three British kings in succession were the kings of Hanover as well (George III, George IV and William IV).

However, when Queen Victoria came to the throne in Britain, the personal union with Hanover ended.

Namely, inheriting the throne in Hanover was regulated by the so-called Salic Law, which barred women from the succession. Therefore, the King of Hanover became her closest male relative – said Ernest Augustus.
Ernest Augustus was originally born as a British prince, son of King George III of the United Kingdom. In England, Ernest Augustus was Duke of Cumberland.

To Queen Victoria he was an uncle i.e. her father’s brother. There were even some allegations that he intended to eliminate Victoria in order to become king of Great Britain himself.

Specifically, Ernest Augustus had quite a temper. His face was scarred with a saber wound he sustained on the battlefield while still young. He also lost sight in his left eye during military operations.

He was once accused of adultery and of murdering his valet. On one occasion he allegedly said that his opponents had accused him of violation of all Ten Commandments.

It seems that there is no real evidence that Ernest Augustus really intended to remove his niece Victoria from the throne. In any case, he got his own throne when he became King of Hanover.

It was a not-small state in northern Germany, which included the famous university city of Göttingen.

The successor of King Ernest Augustus is today’s Prince of Hanover – Ernest Augustus V – who is married to the famous Princess Caroline of Monaco.

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