George I was King of Great Britain from 1714 until 1727, and elector of Hanover from 1698 until 1727. He was the first of the Hanoverian line of British rulers. This medallion celebrates his coronation as King of England. The son of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover, a small Germanic principality, and Sophia, granddaughter of king James I of England, George succeeded Queen Anne by the terms of the act of settlement. Thoroughly German in tastes and habits, he never learned the English language, and he made periodic lengthy visits to Hanover, and despite his dutiful efforts to attend to his new kingdom’s needs Hannover was his abiding primary concern.
He remained, however, unpopular in Britain, due in part to his private life. He divorced his wife in 1694 and kept her imprisoned in Hanover. When he came to England, he brought with him two mistresses who both became unpopular because of their greed. Supporters of the House of Stuart, known as the Jacobites, plotted, unsuccessfully, to replace him. George appointed only whigs as his ministers and advisers, reasoning that the tories were favorable to the Stuart cause. He took a keen interest in foreign affairs, and it was his judgment that made possible the formation in 1717 of the Third Triple Alliance with the Netherlands and France. For domestic policies he relied on his ministers, James Stanhope, Charles Townshend, and Robert Walpole. Their sound administrative skills strengthened the position of the House of Hanover in Great Britain.