Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

A History of the Four Georges, Volume I »

By Justin McCarthy

Her son George succeeded to her claim upon the crown of England.

[Sidenote: 1714–The House of Brunswick]

The reigning house of Hanover was one of those lucky families which

appear to have what may be called a gift of inheritance. There are

some such houses among European sovereignties; whenever there is a

breach in the continuity of succession anywhere, one or other of them

is sure to come in for the inheritance. George the Elector, who was

now waiting to become King of England as soon as the breath should be

out of Anne’s body, belonged to the House of Guelf, or Welf, said to

have been founded by Guelf, the son of Isembert, a count of Altdorf,

and Irmintrude, sister of Charlemagne, early in the ninth century. It

had two branches, which were united in the eleventh century by the

marriage of one of the Guelf ladies to Albert Azzo the Second, Lord of

Este and Marquis of Italy. His son Guelf obtained the Bavarian

possessions of his wife’s step—father, a Guelf of Bavaria. One of his

descendants, called Henry the Lion, married Maud, daughter of Henry the

Second of England, and became the founder of the family of Brunswick.

War and imperial favor and imperial displeasure interfered during many

generations with the integrity of the Duchy of Brunswick, and the

Electorate of Hanover was made up for the most part out of territories

which Brunswick had once owned. The Emperor Leopold constructed it

formally into an Electorate in 1692, with Ernest Augustus of

Brunswick—Lueneberg as its first Elector. The George Louis who now, in

1714, is waiting to become King of England, was the son of Ernest

Augustus and of Sophia, youngest daughter of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of

Bohemia, sister to Charles First of England. Elizabeth had married

Frederick, the Elector—Palatine of the Rhine, and her life was crossed

and thwarted by the opening of the Thirty Years’ War, and then by the

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