William Sterling

George II

Life and Times of King George II

I ran this workshop at Crayford Manor (Bexley College) in November 2002 as part of a series on the Kings and Queens of England. I subsequently ran it at the City Lit in June 2019 and as a zoom class in February 2021. The slides from this are at the end.

The 2002 workshop was run to complement the Music Appreciation Class on Handel and Royalty. George II is perhaps best remembered as the last British monarch to lead his troops into battle and also as the instigator of the custom of standing for the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel’s Messiah. His reign marked the high point of Handel’s career which the King did much to promote but also saw other great achievements in British culture with the art of Hogarth and the works of Pope and Swift. In politics, Robert Walpole created the post of Prime Minister and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion was the last attempt by the Stuarts to regain power and made him into an instant legend. Towards the end of the reign men like Pitt, Wolfe and Clive laid the foundations of the British Empire whilst the Agricultural Revolution was transforming British Society. The course ran in three sessions dividing George II’s life into three periods and looked at more or less chronologically. In each session his personal life and family was examined as well as the role he played as Prince of Wales and King as well as looking at the background to his “times”, the social and cultural state of the nation. Themes that came out included the changes in politics with the development of the post of Prime Minister under Robert Walpole and his successors, foreign affairs such as the wars against France and the famous Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 under Bonnie Prince Charlie, cultural developments especially in music and the role of the court in the works of Handel (who wrote much of his best loved music for the royal family) and his contemporaries, the art of Hogarth, Britain’s first great native painter of everyday life who nevertheless ended up by being given a royal appointment, and the early development of the British Empire in Canada and India under great leaders like Wolfe and Clive.


George II chronology

Below is a copy of the spreadsheet I created for the class showing events year by year in George II’s life.

George II chronology


Handouts for this class included

from scourging rebellion

A Song made for the Gentlemen Volunteers of the City of London

George II children and grandchildren ext

God Save the King words

The following Song

Cherokee Indians visit London

Robert Walpole 04

PDF Slides 2021

George II slides 1 2021 ancestors PDF version

George II slides 2 2021 early life to 1714 PDF version

George II slides 3 2021 Prince of Wales 1714-1727 PDF Version

George II slides 4 2021 Portraits as king PDF

George II slides 5 2021 King 1727-60 Family PDF

George II slides 6 2021 King 1727-60 Music and Art PDF

George II slides 7 2021 King 1727-60 Politics PDF

Horace Walpole Described the Funeral of George II

Some of the Music played in the Course

Coronation – Handel’s Zadok the Priest

Handel’s The King Shall Rejoice

Queen Caroline’s funeral – Handel’s How Are the Mighty Fall’n

The Jacobites – Handel’s From Scourging Rebellion

Arne’s Rule Britannia

Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus

Charlie is my darling

Peace of Aix-la-chapelle – Handel’s Firework Music

Other entertainments

Gay’s Beggars Opera

John Eccles’s A Soldier and a Sailor

Ariosti’s Vespasiano

Bononcini’s Crispo

Handel’s Messiah