27 JANUARY 2004
Prince Charles has been speaking out in defence of the king who was branded insane by many of his subjects. In an interview with the BBC, the Prince of Wales said that George III, who was the subject of the award-winning movie The Madness Of King George, was one of Britain's wisest, kindest and most misunderstood rulers.
"For many years I have been fascinated by my ancestor," said Charles. "George III led Britain through 60 years of enormous social upheaval, industrial revolution and terrible hardships inflicted by war with Napoleon. Yet history remembered him above all as the 'mad king' or the 'king who lost America'. This is a travesty."
Charles also points out that a trans-Atlantic royal visit would not have been possible in 1776, so there were limits to what George could do to quell revolutionary sentiments in his colonies.
The king is believed to have suffered from porphyria, which caused him to behave erratically at times, but he was not insane as many people believed. Like Charles, he was a great lover of the countryside and a keen student of the arts and sciences. He was even lampooned as "Farmer George" because of his interest in agriculture and rural affairs.
"He used to walk around the countryside at Windsor and Kew alone, talking to neighbours and farm workers," reveals Charles. "He had a genuine interest in the well-being of every single estate worker."