Cultural depictions of William IV of the United Kingdom

William IV of the United Kingdom has been featured in artworks.


In Patrick O'Brian's final novel of the Aubrey-Maturin series, Captain Jack Aubrey is obliged to accept as midshipman a bastard son of the Duke of Clarence, as a "first voyager". The novel paints a colourful picture of the Duke and acknowledges his reputation as a competent seaman and commander. However, in other novels in the series, the Duke is portrayed in a far less flattering light; indeed, in the penultimate novel of the series, one of the protagonists - Stephen Maturin - characterizes him as "...a bounding, confident, foul-mouthed scrub".

Bernard Bastable's "Mozart Mysteries" - Dead, Mr. Mozart and Too Many Notes, Mr. Mozart - involve an alternate version of Wolfgang Mozart who survives in the 1820s and has settled in England, where odd circumstances draw him into Hanoverian intrigue and cover-ups. William IV is a major character in the second book, where he effectively makes Mozart his personal spy against rival factions within the royal family.

Film and television

On screen, William has been portrayed as king by Ernst G. Schiffner in the 1936 German film Mädchenjahre einer Königin, based on the play by Geza Silberer about Queen Victoria's early life, Peter Ustinov in the 2001 TV miniseries Victoria and Albert and by Jim Broadbent in the 2009 film The Young Victoria. He has been depicted as a prince by Scott Forbes in Mrs. Fitzherbert (1947), Tom Gill in The First Gentleman (1948) and Toby Jones in Amazing Grace (2006) - in the most recent of these, he is incorrectly (when still a prince) seen sitting in the House of Commons.


There are several extant statues of the king: at Greenwich Park, London; at Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham; and on the Wilhelmsplatz, Göttingen, Germany.

William IV of the United Kingdom

William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837. The third son of George III, William succeeded his elder brother George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.

William served in the Royal Navy in his youth, spending time in North America and the Caribbean, and was later nicknamed the "Sailor King". In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews. In 1827, he was appointed as Britain's first Lord High Admiral since 1709. As his two older brothers died without leaving legitimate issue, he inherited the throne when he was 64 years old. His reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire, and the British electoral system refashioned by the Reform Act 1832. Although William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament. Through his brother Adolphus, the Viceroy of Hanover, he granted his German kingdom a short-lived liberal constitution.

At the time of his death William had no surviving legitimate children, but he was survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he cohabited for twenty years. Late in life, he married and apparently remained faithful to the young princess who would become Queen Adelaide. William was succeeded in the United Kingdom by his niece Victoria and in Hanover by his brother Ernest Augustus.

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