See A. Redman, The House of Hanover (1960, repr. 1968).
The House of Hanover (the Hanoverians) is a Germanic royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Braunschweig-Lüneburg), the Kingdom of Hanover and the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It succeeded the House of Stuart as monarchs of Great Britain in 1714 and held that office until the death of Victoria in 1901. They are sometimes referred to as the House of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Hanover line. The House of Hanover is a younger branch of the House of Este, which in turn is a younger branch of the House of Welf, with all three being offshoots of the ancient Saxon House of Wettin.
Queen Victoria was the granddaughter of George III, and was a descendant of most major European royal houses. She arranged marriages for her children and grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together; this earned her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe." She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha since she could not inherit the German kingdom and duchies under Salic law, those possessions passed to the next eligible male heir, her uncle Ernest Augustus I of Hanover, the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale—the fifth son of George III. In the United Kingdom, after World War I, King George V changed the house's name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the currently serving House of Windsor in 1917. Both dynastic names are offshoots of the 800-plus years old House of Wettin.
Ernest Augustus and Sophia's son, George I became the first British monarch of the House of Hanover. The dynasty provided six British monarchs:
George I, George II, and George III also served as electors and dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, informally, Electors of Hanover (cf. personal union). From 1814, when Hanover became a kingdom, the British monarch was also King of Hanover.
In 1837, however, the personal union of the thrones of the United Kingdom and Hanover ended. Succession to the Hanoverian throne was regulated by Salic law, which forbade inheritance by a woman, so that it passed not to Queen Victoria but to her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland. In 1901, when Queen Victoria died, the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha ascended to the U.K. throne as her son and heir, Edward VII, as son of her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, genealogically belonged to that House — asserting, thereby, that the name of the U.K.’s Royal House changed because the surname of his father was Edward VII's surname.
After the death of William IV in 1837, the following kings of Hanover continued the dynasty:
The Kingdom of Hanover came to an end in 1866 when it was annexed by Prussia. The 1866 rift between the House of Hanover and the House of Hohenzollern was settled only by the 1913 marriage of Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia to Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick.
In 1884, the senior branch of the House of Welf became extinct. By House Law, the House of Hanover would have acceded to the Duchy of Brunswick, but there had been strong Prussian pressure against having George V of Hanover or his son, the Duke of Cumberland, succeed to a member state of the German Empire, at least without strong conditions, including swearing to the German constitution. By a law of 1879, the Duchy of Brunswick established a temporary council of regency to take over at the Duke's death, and if necessary appoint a regent.
The Duke of Cumberland proclaimed himself Duke of Brunswick at the Duke's death, and lengthy negotiations ensued, but were never resolved. Prince Albert of Prussia was appointed regent; after his death in 1906, Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg succeeded him. The Duke of Cumberland's eldest son died of a car accident in 1912; the father renounced Brunswick in favor of his youngest son, who married the Kaiser's daughter, swore allegiance to the German Empire, and was allowed to ascend the throne of the Duchy in November 1913. He was a major-general during the First World War; but he was overthrown as Duke of Brunswick in 1918. His father was also deprived of his British titles in 1919, for "bearing arms against Great Britain".
The later heads of the House of Hanover have been:
The family has been resident in Austria since 1866; it has held courtesy titles since 1919.
This is the descent of the primary male heir. For the complete expanded family tree, see List of members of the House of Hanover.
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