George IV spent most of his life waiting to become king: as a pleasure-loving and rebellious Prince of Wales during the sixty-year reign of his father, George III, and for ten years as Prince Regent, when his father went mad.
'The days are very long when you have nothing to do' he once wrote plaintively, but he did his best to fill them with pleasure - women, art, food, wine, fashion, architecture. He presided over the creation of the Regency style, which came to epitomise the era, and he was, with Charles I, the most artistically literate of all our kings. Yet despite his life of luxury and indulgence, George died alone and unmourned.
Stella Tillyard has not written a judgemental book, but a very human and enjoyable one, about this most colourful of all British kings.
Stella Tillyard is one of Britain's best-selling historians, notably Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox 1740 - 1832, winner of the History Today Prize and the Fawcett Prize, which became a BBC/WGBH series, A Royal Affair: George III and His Troublesome Siblings, Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald, 1763-98, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and a novel, Tides of War. She lives in London and Florence.