George IV (George Augustus Frederick) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover following the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.
George IV led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle. He was instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery and King's College London.
His charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, and his dissolute way of life, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He even forbade Caroline to attend his coronation and introduced the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to divorce her.
For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister, with little help from George. His ministers found his behaviour selfish, unreliable and irresponsible. At all times he was much under the influence of favourites. Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending at a time when Britons were fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He did not provide national leadership in time of crisis, nor act as a role model for his people. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory, negotiated the peace settlement, and attempted to deal with the social and economic malaise that followed. After Liverpool's retirement, George was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it. His only child, Princess Charlotte of Wales, died before him in 1817 and so he was succeeded by his younger brother, William.