William IV Queen Adelaide 1831 CORONATION MEDAL
Obverse : The Royal couple (William on left,
Adelaide on right) standing facing, either side of an ornately covered
throne/altar, accepting the Crown and Sceptre laid thereon. Toothed border
PROCLAIMED JUNE 28 1830
W A CROWN'D SEPR 8 1831
Reverse : Inscription on six lines. Radiating crown near top. Sprays of rose,
thistle, and shamrock below. Toothed border
CROWNED WITH THEIR PEOPLES LOVE
GUARDED BY A NATIONS LOYALTY
HALLOWED BY THEIR COUNTRYS BLESSING
A medallion marking the marriage of William
IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.
William IV was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1830. He was known both as
the 'Sailor King' and as 'Silly Billy'. William was born at Buckingham Palace in
London on 21 August 1765. He was the third son of King George III and Queen
Charlotte and as such was not expected to succeed to the throne. At the age of
13 he began a career in the Royal Navy. He enjoyed his time at sea, seeing
service in America and the West Indies and becoming admiral of the fleet in
1811. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence. From the early 1790s until 1811,
William lived with his mistress, the actress Dorothy Jordan. They had ten
children who took the surname Fitzclarence.
In 1811, William's oldest brother George became prince regent (later George IV)
when their father was declared insane. The death of the prince regent's only
daughter in 1818 resulted in a scramble amongst George's brothers to marry and
produce heirs. The same year, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.
With the death of George III's second son, William became heir and then, with
the death of George IV, king in June 1830.
He was initially very popular, his insistence on a simple coronation contrasting
with the extravagance of his brother's reign. William's reign was dominated by
the Reform crisis. It began almost immediately when the Duke of Wellington's
Tory government, which William supported, lost the general election in August
1830. The Whigs, led by Lord Grey, came to power intent on pushing through
electoral reform against strong opposition in the Commons and the Lords. Another
general election in 1831 gave the Whigs a majority in the Commons but the Lords
continued to reject the Reform Bill. There was a political crisis during the
winter of 1831-2, with riots in some parts of the country.
The king eventually agreed to create enough new peers to get the bill through
the House of Lords, but the Lords, who had opposed it, backed down and it was
passed. The 1832 Reform Act abolished some of the worst abuses of the electoral
system and extended the franchise to the middle classes.
William died on 20 June 1837, without surviving children. His niece Victoria
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