King Lessons

02.27.14

How To Be a King, Circa 1749

Letter to George III from his father revealed

Avoid war; don't trust flatterers, courtiers and ministers; and most importantly 'retrieve the glory of the Throne'.

That's just some of the advice given by Frederick, Prince of Wales to his son, the future George III in a previously unseen letter of 1749, which will be shown at a new exhibition entitled The First Georgians to be held at the Queen's Gallery in London.

The letter, drawn to our attention by our friends at Wistorical, contains more sound advice for young heirs,

"If you can be without war, let not your ambition draw you into it… Flatterers, Courtiers or Ministers, are easy to be got, but a true Friend is difficult to be found... Let your steadiness retrieve the glory of the throne."

Written 'out of love' and sent with 'the tenderest paternal affection', it urges the future monarch to behave as 'an Englishman born and bred'.

The author was the eldest son of George II, Frederick, who was first in line to the throne, but pre-deceased his father so never took the crown.

In the letter, Frederick credits his grandfather, George I, for his ideas, rather than his father. The roots of his antipathy towards his parents can be traced back to the time when, at just seven years of age, he was left behind in Hanover. Separated from Frederick for 13 years, George II clearly favoured his second son, William, Duke of Cumberland.

Once in London, Frederick presented himself as a fashionable man about town, entertaining freely and informally.

Frederick's mother, Queen Caroline, despised her son's relaxed manner: ‘Popularity always makes me sick’, she is reported to have said, ‘but Fretz’s popularity makes me vomit'.

Nice.