10-Minute Talks: George II Augustus von Welf, British King and German Prince-Elector

by Professor Norman Davies FBA

26 May 2021

Golden statue in a public plaza of King George II from the 18th century.

The world’s leading professors explain the latest thinking in the humanities and social sciences in just 10 minutes.

George II, King of Great Britain and Ireland and Elector of Hanover from 1727-60, was considered short-tempered and uncultivated, but during his reign presided over a great flourishing in his adoptive country - economic, military, and cultural. In this talk, Norman Davies places George II in the unfamiliar framework of a composite state, stressing the monarch's conviction that his native German possessions were no less important than his British ones, together with the unfamiliar story of how his German Electorate was governed from St. James’s Palace in London. He also discusses his book, George II: Not Just a British Monarch, and its use of unconventional terminology,  calling the monarch 'George Augustus' (not just George II), insisting that he was 'King-Elector' not just a mere King, that he belonged to the dynasty of Von Welf (the Guelphs) not to the invented tribe of 'Hanoverians', and that his coat-of-arms, which, inter alia, bore the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, was 'royal and electoral', not just, as the British always say, 'royal'.

Speaker: Professor Norman Davies FBA, Professor Emeritus of History, University of London; Honorary Fellow, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford; Honorary Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge

10-Minute Talks are a series of pre-recorded talks from Fellows of the British Academy screened each Wednesday on YouTube and also available on Apple Podcasts.

If you have any questions about this talk, please email events@thebritishacademy.ac.uk.

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