Clarence Road, TW9

Place Name

Not, as is often the case, named after Queen Victoria’s youngest son but an earlier Duke of Clarence, who went on to become William IV (August 21, 1765 – June 20, 1837) King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from June 26, 1830. As the third son of George III, he was never expected to be Monarch. But both his elder brothers predeceased him and neither had any children, so William succeeded his elder brother George IV, becoming the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain’s House of Hanover. William spent most of his early life in Richmond and at Kew Palace, where he was educated by private tutors. Among the properties he lived in, one was at Clarence Lodge. At 13, he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman, spending time in North America and the Caribbean, and earning the nickname the Sailor King. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence and St Andrews after putting pressure on his father to be made a duke like his older brothers. His father was reluctant, so to pressure on him, William threatened to stand as a MP for the constituency of Totnes in Devon. Appalled at the prospect of his son making his case to voters, George III created him Duke of Clarence and St Andrews and Earl of Munster, supposedly saying: “I well know it is another vote added to the Opposition.” Following the death of William’s niece Princess Charlotte of Wales, then second-in-line to the British throne, in 1817, George III was left with 12 children, but no legitimate grandchildren. The race was on among his sons to marry and produce an heir. After being rejected by the wealthy heiress such as Catherine Tylney-Long, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, despite a happy marriage they did not produce any children and the throne passed to his niece, Queen Victoria. Politically he was more aligned to the Whigs and his reign saw several reforms: the poor law was updated, child labour restricted, and slavery abolished in nearly all of the British Empire. However, he opposed changes to the electoral system – although the Reform Act of 1832 was passed. Shortly before his death the King paid for the west front of St Anne’s Chapel, at Kew. This road was laid out on the Selwyn estate and had already featured in plans before Prince Leopold, was made Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow in 1890.

 

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