The Corner

History

The Last King of America: Andrew Roberts on King George III

Detail of King George III in Coronation Robes, by Allan Ramsay (1713–1784) (Wikimedia/Public Domain)

In his long and distinguished career, British historian Andrew Roberts has produced world-class biographies of Winston Churchill and Napoleon, several histories of World War II and the men who led the countries who fought that war, and other great conflicts in world history. Roberts’s new book is The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III, a biography of the monarch who led England during the American Revolution and who has been made into something of a caricature by Americans, most recently by his portrayal in the musical Hamilton as a preening, stuck-up (but funny) king of England. In this interview and in his book, Roberts goes to great lengths to deconstruct that distortion and, in the process, give us an extremely nuanced and detailed portrait of the man who created the conditions for America’s independence. Roberts also explains in great detail the dynamics between the British parliament and the nascent American government, including a fascinating account of the writing of and subsequent British reaction to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Recorded on December 3, 2021

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