King George II
King George II was the last of a number of things for British monarchs. He was the last of the British monarchs born outside of Great Britain as he was born in northern Germany in 1683. He took the throne from his father in 1727 and took little control over the domestic policy in Britain. Throughout his reign he hungered for war in Europe but his ministers were much more cautious towards war.
In 1739, George II was happy when hostilities with the Spanish flared up again and allowed him to focus on a war rather than the death of his wife and his conflicts with his son. The War of Jenkins’ Ear merged with the War of Austrian Succession after the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1740. There was dispute over whether or not Charles’ daughter Maria Theresa had the right to inherit his Austrian territories.
There was a pro-war faction in Parliament that rose up in 1742, believed that the failure of Maria Theresa to come to power would mean more power to the French. Therefore, George agreed to send 12,000 hired mercenaries to Europe to fight on behalf of Maria Theresa. He placed the men in Hanover in order to prevent any French troops from marching on the electorate. The army which had not fought in 20 years was suffering from great neglect.
At the Battle of Dettingen an allied force of Austrian, British, Dutch, Hanoverian and Hessian troops fought against the French. George personally accompanied the men and led them to victory, becoming the last British monarch to ever led troops to into battle. After that battle he left the fighting to his sons and his military advisors. A move that likely helped him live until the age of 77 which was longer than any of his English or British predecessors.