By M.J. Neary
They nicknamed him "Silly Billy". A more flattering nickname was "The Sailor King". Sandwiched between such iconic monarchs as George IV, whose extravagant lifestyle defined the aesthetics of the Regency Era, and his Queen Victoria, King William IV, former Duke of Clarence (1765-1837) easily gets lost. There is no label attached to his reign. One could call it either "post-Regency" or "pre-Victorian". That period is not covered in literature extensively. And yet, the time between 1830 and 1837 was a time of transition and transformation. The reforms put in place by William IV paved the road for Queen Victoria. He was the last king of the Hanoverian Dynasty and the oldest king to ascend the throne. It was a case of somewhat surprising late-in-life rise power.
After parting with his long-time mistress, William embarked on a wife-hunt. After several years of looking for a suitable candidate, he married a 25-year old Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, who welcomed his illegitimate children but could not produce an heir - her own children all died in infancy. One positive thing that came out of William's marriage to Adelaide was that he became frugal and disciplined, which worked in his favor when he became monarch.
*This article is excerpted in part from the original post by M.J. Neary at: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2016/06/king-william-iv-gap-monarch.html