Only one of Queen Anne’s seventeen pregnancies produced a potential heir, William, Duke of Gloucester (1689-1700). His death in July 1700 at the tender age of eleven caused Parliament to institute the Act of Settlement making Electress Sophia of Hanover heiress presumptive. Electress Sophia died two months before Queen Anne.
In 1714 Queen Anne died and was succeeded by her second cousin, Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover. Georg was an appealing choice to Parliament as he was Protestant and was willing to share the responsibility of rule with them. James Stuart, the heir to the throne by blood, was Catholic.
In the Georgian period (1714-1760), these two dynasties, Stuarts and Hanoverians, and two factions in Parliament, Tory and Whig, fought over the succession and constitution.
A new type of society emerged in Britain; a more free, diverse and enlightened society. The new royal family the dynamic life of London. For most of the period the Princes of Wales maintained their courts in town houses rather than grand palaces. They behaved as though fashionable members of the aristocracy making them perceived to be more of the people.
British culture at this time was a mixture of the conventional and the revolutionary. The ‘Georgian Age’ was considered to be elegant and polite. As with the sweet comes the sour; the ‘Age of Hogarth’, a time of speculation, squalor and satire.