William IV and Queen Victoria

Victoria was the only child of Prince Edward, the fourth son of George III. Edward died in 1820, and when George III died, just six days later, the throne passed to the eldest son – George IV. The second son, Prince Frederick, died in 1827 without issue; so when George IV died in 1830, also without issue (his only child, Princess Charlotte, having died while giving birth to her first child in 1817), the throne passed to the third son – William – and Victoria was his heir presumptive. When William died seven years later, also without issue, Victoria became queen.

Queen Victoria put an end to all this "without issue" nonsense by producing nine children. Six of them outlived her, and all but one made it to 50 – several of them living to a ripe old age. The shortest–lived was Prince Leopold, the eighth child and fourth son, who suffered from haemophilia and died in 1884 aged 30. His daughter Alice went on to become HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (sister–in–law to Queen Mary), and when she died in 1981 aged 97, she was Queen Victoria's last surviving grandchild. Leopold's great–grandson (through his posthumous son Charles) is King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden.

© Haydn Thompson 2017