Regency is a term which applies to short time in Great Britain beginning in 1811 when time King George III was declared legally mad, or insane, and his son and heir was named Regent to rule in his stead. Many experts believe that George, also known as “Mad King George” III had porphyria which affected his sight, his hearing, and eventually his sanity. He’d suffered with bouts of madness for years but his final collapse into insanity might have been triggered by the death of his favorite daughter, Amelia, who died of tuberculosis.
His eldest heir, George IV, the Prince of Wales (also known by the derogatory term of Prinny) was declared Regent of England. During the Regency Era, Prince George did little more than indulge in parties and debauchery, leaving the running of the country to his mother the queen, and to Parliament. Some people believe the nursery rhyme, Georgie Porgie is about Prince George.
Though this portrait shows George IV as a war hero, he never involved himself in any of the wars that took place during his life. He was too busy playing and spending money for any such nonsense as leading a country. He loved to plan and throw parties, which is one of the reasons why he was so much in debt.
The death of King George III officially ended the Regency Era in January of 1820, but King George IV’s coronation didn’t take place until a year and a half later because he wanted to plan out every minute detail of the grand affair. He made his coronation the most ostentatious event of the century, designed to outdo Napoleon’s coronation.
Here is a picture of the coronation banquet. I found the picture on Wikimedia Commons. It surpasses the imagination, doesn’t it?
There are some more lovely picture of the coronation here.
Though the beginning of the reign of King George IV officially ended the Regency, its influence lives on in the hearts of millions of Jane Austen fans, and those of us who continue to read and write Regency Era novels and Regency set romances.