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(born Aug. 21, 1765, London, Eng.died June 20, 1837, Windsor Castle, near London) King of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover (1830–37). The son of George III, he entered the royal navy at age 13, fought in the American Revolution, and served in the West Indies, leaving the navy as a rear admiral in 1790 (he was later called the Sailor King). He angered his father by his numerous love affairs and fathered 10 illegitimate children by the actress Dorothea Jordan (1761–1816). In 1830 he succeeded his brother George IV as king. Opposed to parliamentary reform, William delayed consideration of the Reform Bill of 1832, but his prime minister, Earl Grey, persuaded him to promise to create enough peers in the House of Lords to carry it, forcing its passage. On William's death, the British crown passed to his niece, Victoria, and the Hanoverian crown to his brother Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland (1771–1851).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on William IV, visit Britannica.com.
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