Andrew Roberts admires George III (1738–1820), and he is right to do so. The historical image of the king as a tyrant and a lunatic is not remotely true in the first case (a contention Roberts provides much evidence to substantiate) and true only for part of his reign in the second. The king’s reign, from 1760 to 1820, is the third longest in British history, after Queen Victoria’s and the present queen’s. It covered a period in the nation’s story that was simultaneously catastrophic and glorious, and one whose mark remains very much upon the world today. In Britain, the legacy is largely metaphysical: a people with the baggage of empire and the industrial revolution, and with an evolved constitutional settlement rooted in the stability of the Crown. But there is also a massive physical and cultural legacy to George 


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