December 13th, 2012 at 9:29 am (10. Hanoverians)
After four episodes, we finally review Queen Victoria in full. From the spirited young girl who resisted Conroy's Kensington System to the dumpy old lady celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, Victoria had her fair show of up's and downs. Some would criticise her for an often partisan and stubborn approach to politics, while her never-ending mourning for Prince Albert got so tiresome that republicanism even started to raise its head. However, Victoria's resume can also boast the British Empire, major advancements in electoral and social reform and a record-breaking stint on the throne. So when it's all put together, will Queen Victoria be worthy of the Rex Factor?
November 29th, 2012 at 10:00 pm (10. Hanoverians)
This week we look at Victoria's Prime Ministers following the death of Lord Palmerston in 1865. Victoria was heavily into mourning Prince Albert, but the efforts of Lord John Russell and the Earl of Derby to introduce electoral reform started to coax her back into national affairs. However, it was the rivalry of the two great politicians of the age - the charming Benjamin Disraeli and the severe William Gladstone - saw her re-emerge as a dominant figure. To Victoria's great distress, Gladstone proved to be the candle that wouldn't blow out, replacing her favoured Disraeli and Salisbury before finally retiring and allowing the reluctant Rosebery to become her final (new) PM.
November 18th, 2012 at 12:07 am (10. Hanoverians)
Having looked at Victoria's personal life, we now look at the events of her reign through her Prime Ministers. In this first of two episodes, we encounter the first six of her ten leaders. Her first PM, Melbourne, was an old-school Whig with a penchant for anecdotes and little work, while Sir Robert Peel's efforts to modernise the Conservative party saw a split that threw politics into confusion for the next ten years. Lord John Russell (Whig) and the Earl of Derby (Conservative) both struggled to hold their respective governments together, while the Earl of Aberdeen's talented coalition was brought down by the Crimean War. Victoria had positive relationships with all five, but it was the roguish, charming, womanising, unpredictable Lord Palmerston who came to dominate, winning the support of the public and overseeing the formation of the Liberal Party.
October 12th, 2012 at 8:16 am (10. Hanoverians)
Following the death of her beloved husband, Albert, Victoria plunged into mourning, wearing black for the rest of her life and refusing to perform her duties in public. Her reclusive habits saw her popularity plunge and the spectre of republicanism being discussed even in Parliament. However, the efforts of two prime ministers, Gladstone and Disraeli, to coax her back into public life, plus the support of a Scottish ghillie, John Brown, started to have some effect. The turning point proved to be the illness and recovery of her eldest son, Bertie, after which Victoria once again became a figure of popular sympathy. From the 1870s, Victoria was a symbol of British imperial expansion and was once more at the heart of national and international affairs. But eventually, time would catch up with her and the Victorian sun would set...
September 28th, 2012 at 8:24 am (10. Hanoverians)
In the first of five podcasts we look at the life and reign of Queen Victoria, beginning in 1817 with the death of the Prince Regent's only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, and the race among George III's sons to produce a legitimate heir. The Duke of Kent was the winner, but he did not have long to enjoy it, leaving Victoria under the thumb of Sir John Conroy and her mother in the Kensington System, keeping her under strict control. In this episode, we follow her stand against Conroy, her early years as queen with the genial PM Lord Melbourne, and finally her marriage to Prince Albert. This is a very different Victoria from the popular memory: young, spirited, laughing and sensual - but the tragedy of 1861 would change everything...
August 11th, 2012 at 10:26 am (10. Hanoverians)
Sandwiched between the Georgians and Queen Victoria, poor old William IV is perhaps the most forgotten of monarchs. Little was expected of William IV as a young man - an excitable character sent off to the navy by George III, he lived the typical life of a sailor and came home with rough habits and bad language. When he came to the throne in 1830 he proved hard-working, conscientious and arguably Britain's first truly constitutional monarch and oversaw the passing of the 1832 Reform Act which proved a major step forward in parliamentary democracy. His final challenge was to survive long enough to ensure that his niece, Victoria, would not face the regency of her mother. Could he ensure a stable legacy for Victoria? Could he be the first Hanoverian Rex Factor?
(Parental Advice: There's one instance of censored bad language by the Sailor King!)
July 16th, 2012 at 9:58 pm (10. Hanoverians)
When George III descended into his final madness in 1811 his eldest son became the Prince Regent, finally becoming George IV in 1820. Unlike his sober and dutiful father, George IV was a drinking, gambling, womanising figure of huge controversy who was extremely unpopular in a difficult period of economic and political strife. However, he was also one of the monarchy's most entertaining characters, surprisingly kind in person and in his cultural patronage left a glorious legacy still enjoyed today. Some would call him one of the worst monarchs, but could this be his chance for redemption?
June 23rd, 2012 at 12:30 am (10. Hanoverians)
In the second part of the George III podcast we review his reign in the traditional fashion. However, reviewing George III is no easy task, for his epic reign contains some of the most glorious highs and disastrous lows of any reign. From the disastrous loss of America Britain moves to the defeat of Napoleon via its two greatest military heroes, Nelson and Wellington. George's interference in politics causes ministerial instability and he is anything but a friend of reform, yet he is a decent and affable man who oversees cultural patronage, the industrial revolution and the abolition of slavery. And of course, through all of the factors is the dilemma of his final decade where his mental illness meant his son, the Prince Regent, was in effect ruling. When everything has been through the Rex Factor computer, it proves to be one of the tightest decisions yet...
May 30th, 2012 at 8:09 am (10. Hanoverians)
It's a slight change in format this episode as we split George III in half (so to speak) - this episode will focus on the events and background to his reign while the next will see us review him in the usual fashion and decide whether he has the Rex Factor. So why does "Mad King George" need two episodes? Besides the madness, George's reign encompasses the end of the Seven Years War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the political rivalry between Pitt the Younger and Charles Fox...and much more besides!
May 5th, 2012 at 1:39 pm (10. Hanoverians)
It's a case of history repeating itself when George II comes to the throne in 1727 - like his father, he has Robert Walpole as his 'prime minister', is at odds with his eldest son, has a Jacobite rebellion to deal with, gets involved in the wars and diplomacy of continental Europe and is keen to get back to Hanover as much as possible. Where George II does differ, however, is in his strong and happy marriage to Caroline of Ansbach and the military triumph enjoyed under his rule, with Britain becoming a major worldwide power under the direction of Pitt the Elder. With victories against France and Bonnie Prince Charlie, could George II become the first Hanoverian Rex Factor winner?