Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's In a Name?

George IV and his bling.
     With the Royals visiting California, it seems fitting to talk about the Crown. The "official" Regency is 200 years old this year. Great Britain defined the Regency as lasting from 1811 to 1820. This is the era in which George III was declared unfit to rule due to his mental illness and was replaced by his son George, Prince of Wales, who acted as Prince Regent under the "Care of the King During His Illness Act" of February, 1811. The Regency ended when the third George died in 1820, and his son was crowned George IV.

      The term "Regency" has come to be used very loosely, especially on this side of the Atlantic. It gets a bit confusing. If you're like me and you consult the great oracle Wikipedia hoping for clarity, all you get is static. And I quote:

        "The term Regency era sometimes refers to a more extended time frame than the decade of the formal Regency...If Regency era is being used to describe the transition between Georgian and Victorian eras, the focus is on the pre-Victorian period from 1811, when the formal Regency began, through 1837 when Queen Victoria succeeded William IV. If, however, Regency era is being contrasted with the Eighteenth century, then the period includes the later French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars." (

       Thanks for clearing that up. 

      Anyway, to simplify things, we as a group concentrate on the Georgian Period of history, which begins in 1714 with the coronation of George I and ends (confusingly) with the death of William IV in 1837. This long period includes not just the British Regency, but the French Ancien Regime, Revolutionary, and First Empire Periods, and the American Colonial, Revolutionary, Early Republic, and Jacksonian Eras.

       So since this whole shebang was covered by the Georgian Period anyway, why didn't we just call it the Georgian Aficionados' League?

       Because REGAL just sounded better. And the guys in the group didn't want to belong to GAL.

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