George III

(1738–1820)

George III

Anecdote 1...

The acclaimed musician Johann Peter Salomon gave violin lessons to George III, but found the king neither an apt nor a diligent pupil. Torn between exasperation and the wish to encourage the royal fiddler, Salomon delivered the following pronouncement: “Your Majesty, fiddlers may be divided into three classes: the first, those who cannot play at all; the second, those who play badly; the third, those who play well. You, sire, have already attained the second class.”

Anecdote 2...

Greatly impressed by astronomer William Herschel’s forty-foot telescope, George invited the archbishop of Canterbury to view the magnificent new instrument. “Come, my lord bishop,” he urged. “I will show you the way to Heaven.”

Biographical Note: 

George III was King of Great Britain and Ireland (1760-1820). Principal events of his long reign were the loss of the American colonies and Britain’s great victories in the wars against Napoleon. From the 1780s George suffered bouts of insanity, and after 1811 his son, later George IV, acted as regent.