ISSUE 12, January 2005

Editorial
Kitchener of Khartoum: Mason extraordinary
Travel: Where east meets west
Veteran Honoured: Old soldier remembered
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part 1
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro First Grand Principal and, Report of the Committee of General Purposes
  Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London: London's first consecration
Soccer: Man in the Middle
Wales: Joseph Parry - flawed genius?
Library & Museum: Donations gather pace
Education: Dates for your diary and, Planning a 'white table' and, Looking to the future and, Time marches on
Grand Charity: General meeting and non-Masonic grant list
Masonic Charities: Reports from the four main charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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George, Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales, later Prince Regent and in 1820 King George IV, was born in 1762 and died in 1830. The position of Prince of Wales is a difficult one, especially when your father lives to 82. George was an intelligent child with lots of promise, but quickly became a cause for concern to his father and the country.
     Unlike most of his brothers, George was denied a military career which he longed for as a young man. He quickly fell in with people of whom his father disapproved, such as the Whig politician Charles Fox and, more importantly to Freemasons, his uncle, Henry.
     Cumberland and his circle introduced George to the pleasures of drink, gambling and the theatre. By 1785 George had married the Catholic actress Maria Fitzherbert. The marriage was illegal because of the Royal Marriage Act, which meant that all Royal marriages needed the consent of both the King and Parliament and that marriage to Catholics was forbidden.
     Mrs Fitzherbert had to be paid off by the government, but continued to be the Prince's mistress for many years.
     In 1787, at a special Lodge meeting held at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall, George was initiated into Freemasonry by his uncle Henry. That year, George formed his own Lodge, The Prince of Wales's Lodge (now No. 259).
     Initially the members were a mixture of his friends and household such as Chevalier Ruspini, his dentist - one of the founders of the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls - and Louis Weltje, the Prince's chief cook.
     The Lodge attracted other high-ranking Masons such as Thomas Dunckerley and the Tory Prime Minister George Canning. At this stage, George was still a popular figure in Britain and his association with Freemasonry would have given further respectability to Grand Lodge.
     Therefore, it was not surprising that George was elected Grand Master on the death of his uncle in 1790. George was not the most active of Grand Masters. He enjoyed the social side of Freemasonry, and its imagery found its way into some of the designs at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
     He also had an able Acting Grand Master in the Earl of Moira. As the Prince of Wales's private and public life became more complicated, his involvement in the Craft diminished.
     He married Caroline of Brunswick in 1795, who provided him with a daughter, Charlotte, in 1796 and spent the rest of her life in conflict with her husband.
     The Grand Lodge of Scotland elected George as Grand Master in 1805, but there is no evidence that he ever attended a Lodge, let alone Grand Lodge, north of the border.
     In 1811 the King's illness (porphyria) that had been troubling him since the 1780s, forced him out of public life and George became Regent.
     By 1813 his involvement with Freemasonry had come to an end, although he was given the title Grand Patron of the Order. The Prince Regent became George IV in 1820. As King he abandoned liberal politics and became very reactionary. In the end he became best known for his indulgences, his womanising and his girth, although perhaps he should also be remembered for his patronage of the arts and architecture, and to Freemasons for being the first of their order to become King of England.
   



Top
Mather Brown Freemason's Magazine 1793 (Cartoon featuring George, Prince of Wales, later George IV, then Grand Master)
Bottom
Frederick Lewis, father of George III


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