Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
Cato Street Conspiracy
The Cato Street Conspiracy was an attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool in 1820. The name comes from the meeting place near Edgware Road in London; the police had an informer and the plotters fell into a police trap and 13 were arrested, while one policeman was killed. Five conspirators were executed, five others were transported to Australia. How widespread the Cato Street conspiracy was is uncertain, it was a time of unrest. Malcolm Chase noted that, "the London-Irish community and a number of trade societies, notably shoemakers, were prepared to lend support, while unrest and awareness of a planned rising were widespread in the industrial north and on Clydeside." The conspirators were called the Spencean Philanthropists, a group taking their name from the British radical speaker Thomas Spence. The group was known for being a revolutionary organization, involved in unrest and propaganda and plotting the overthrow of the government; some of them Arthur Thistlewood, had been involved with the Spa Fields riots in 1816.
Thistlewood came to dominate the group with George Edwards as his second in command. Edwards was a police spy. Most of the members were angered by the Six Acts and the Peterloo Massacre, as well as with the economic depression and political repression of the time; the conspirators planned to assassinate the cabinet, supposed to be together at a dinner. They would seize key buildings, overthrow the government and establish a "Committee of Public Safety" to oversee a radical revolution. According to the prosecution at their trial, they had intended to form a provisional government headquartered in the Mansion House. Hard economic times encouraged social unrest; the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 further worsened the economy and saw the return of job-seeking veterans. King George III's death on 29 January 1820, created a new governmental crisis. In a meeting held on 22 February, George Edwards suggested that the group could exploit the political situation and kill all the cabinet ministers after invading the fictitious cabinet dinner at the home of Lord Harrowby, Lord President of the Council, armed with pistols and grenades.
Edwards provided funds to help arm the conspirators. Thistlewood thought. James Ings, a coffeeshop keeper and former butcher announced that he would have decapitated all the cabinet members and taken two heads to exhibit on Westminster Bridge. Thistlewood spent the next hours trying to recruit more men for the attack. Twenty-seven men joined the effort; when Jamaican-born William Davidson, who had worked for Lord Harrowby, went to find more details about the cabinet dinner, a servant in Lord Harrowby's house told him that his master was not at home. When Davidson told this to Thistlewood, he refused to believe it and demanded that the operation commence at once. John Harrison rented a small house in Cato Street as the base of operations. However, Edwards kept the police informed; some of the other members had suspected Thistlewood had made him his top aide. Edwards had presented the idea with the full knowledge of the Home Office, who had put the advertisement about the supposed dinner in The New Times.
When he reported that his would-be-comrades would be ready to follow his suggestion, the Home Office decided to act. On 23 February, Richard Birnie, Bow Street magistrate, George Ruthven, another police spy, went to wait at a public house on the other side of the street of the Cato Street building with twelve officers of the Bow Street Runners. Birnie and Ruthven waited for the afternoon because they had been promised reinforcements from the Coldstream Guards, under the command of Captain FitzClarence, an illegitimate son of the Duke of Clarence. Thistlewood's group arrived during that time. At 7:30 pm, the Bow Street Runners decided to apprehend the conspirators themselves. In the resulting brawl, Thistlewood killed a police officer with a sword; some conspirators surrendered peacefully. William Davidson was captured while Thistlewood, Robert Adams, John Brunt and John Harrison slipped out through the back window but they were arrested a few days later. "1. Conspiring to devise plans to subvert the Constitution.
2. Conspiring to levy war, subvert the Constitution. 3. Conspiring to murder divers of the Privy Council. 4. Providing arms to murder divers of the Privy Council. 5. Providing arms and ammunition to levy war and subvert the Constitution. 6. Conspiring to seize cannon and ammunition to arm themselves, to levy war and subvert the Constitution. 7. Conspiring to burn houses and barracks, to provide combustibles for that purpose. 8. Preparing addresses, &c. containing incitements to the King's subjects to assist in levying war and subverting the Constitution. 9. Preparing an address to the King's subjects, containing therein that their tyrants were destroyed, &c. to incite them to assist in levying war, in subverting the Constitution. 10. Assembling themselves with arms, with intent to murder divers of the Privy Council, to levy war, subvert the Constitution. 11. Levying war." During the trial, the defence argued that the statement of Edwards, a government spy, was unreliable and he was therefore never called to testify.
Police persuaded two of the men, Robert Adams and John Monument, to testify against other conspirators in exchange for dropped charges. On 28 April most of the accused were sentenced to be hanged and quartered for high treason. All sentences were commuted, at least in respect of this medieval form of execution, to hanging and beheading; the death sentences of Charles Cooper, Richard Bradburn, John Harrison, James Wilson and John S
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from November 1830 to July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he was a long-time leader of multiple reform movements, most famously the Reform Act 1832, his government saw the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, in which the government purchased slaves from their owners in 1833. Grey was a strong opponent of the foreign and domestic policies of William Pitt the Younger in the 1790s. In 1807, he resigned as foreign secretary to protest the King's uncompromising rejection of Catholic Emancipation. Grey resigned in 1834 over disagreements in his cabinet regarding Ireland, retired from politics, his biographer G. M. Trevelyan argues: in our domestic history 1832 is the next great landmark after 1688... saved the land from revolution and civil strife and made possible the quiet progress of the Victorian era. Earl Grey tea is named after him. Descended from a long-established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall, Grey was the second but eldest surviving son of General Charles Grey KB and his wife, daughter of George Grey of Southwick, co.
Durham. He had two sisters, he was educated at Richmond School, followed by Eton and Trinity College, acquiring a facility in Latin and in English composition and declamation that enabled him to become one of the foremost parliamentary orators of his generation. He became the second Earl Grey, Viscount Howick and Baron Grey of Howick on November 14, 1807 upon the death of his father. Upon the death of his uncle on March 30, 1808 he became the third Baronet Grey of Howick. Grey was elected to Parliament for the Northumberland constituency on 14 September 1786, aged just 22, he became a part of the Whig circle of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the Prince of Wales, soon became one of the major leaders of the Whig party. He was the youngest manager on the committee for prosecuting Warren Hastings; the Whig historian T. B. Macaulay wrote in 1841: At an age when most of those who distinguish themselves in life are still contending for prizes and fellowships at college, he had won for himself a conspicuous place in Parliament.
No advantage of fortune or connection was wanting that could set off to the height his splendid talents and his unblemished honour. At twenty-three he had been thought worthy to be ranked with the veteran statesmen who appeared as the delegates of the British Commons, at the bar of the British nobility. All who stood at that bar, save him alone, are gone, advocates, accusers. To the generation, now in the vigour of life, he is the sole representative of a great age which has passed away, but those who, within the last ten years, have listened with delight, till the morning sun shone on the tapestries of the House of Lords, to the lofty and animated eloquence of Charles Earl Grey, are able to form some estimate of the powers of a race of men among whom he was not the foremost. Grey was noted for advocating Parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation, his affair with the Duchess of Devonshire, herself an active political campaigner, did him little harm although it nearly caused her to be divorced by her husband.
In 1806, Grey, by Lord Howick owing to his father's elevation to the peerage as Earl Grey, became a part of the Ministry of All the Talents as First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Fox's death that year, Howick took over both as Foreign Secretary and as leader of the Whigs; the ministry broke up when George III blocked Catholic Emancipation legislation and required that all ministers individually sign a pledge, which Howick refused to do, that they would not, "propose any further concessions to the Catholics." The government fell from power the next year, after a brief period as a member of parliament for Appleby from May to July 1807, Howick went to the Lords, succeeding his father as Earl Grey. He continued in opposition for the next 23 years. There were times during this period. In 1811, the Prince Regent tried to court Grey and his ally William Grenville to join the Spencer Perceval ministry following the resignation of Lord Wellesley. Grey and Grenville declined because the Prince Regent refused to make concessions regarding Catholic Emancipation.
Grey's relationship with the Prince was strained further when his estranged daughter and heiress, Princess Charlotte, turned to him for advice on how to avoid her father's choice of husband for her. On the Napoleonic Wars, Grey took the standard Whig party line. After being enthused by the Spanish uprising against Napoleon, Grey became convinced of the French emperor's invincibility following the defeat and death of Sir John Moore, the leader of the British forces in the Peninsular War. Grey was slow to recognise the military successes of Moore's successor, the Duke of Wellington; when Napoleon first abdicated in 1814, Grey objected to the restoration of the Bourbons, an authoritarian monarchy and when Napoleon was reinstalled the following year, he said that, an internal French matter. In 1826, believing that the Whig party no longer paid any attention to his opinions, Grey stood down as leader in favour of Lord Lansdowne; the following year, when Canning succeeded Lord Liverpool as Prime Minister, it was therefore Lansdowne and not Grey, asked to join the Government which needed strengthening following the resignations of Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington.
When Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828, George IV singled out Grey as the one person he could not appoint to the Government. In
1818 United Kingdom general election
The 1818 United Kingdom general election saw the Whigs gain a few seats, but the Tories under the Earl of Liverpool retained a majority of around 90 seats. The Whigs were divided over their response to growing social unrest and the introduction of the Corn Laws; the result of the election was known on 4 August 1818. The fifth United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 10 June 1818; the new Parliament was summoned to meet on 4 August 1818, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired; the sixth Parliament lasted only about a year and a half, as King George III's death on 29 January 1820 triggered a dissolution of Parliament. The Tory leader was the Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister since his predecessor's assassination in 1812; the Tory Leader of the House of Commons was Viscount Castlereagh. The Whig Party had long suffered from weak leadership in the House of Commons. At the time of the general election, the Earl Grey was the leading figure amongst the Whig peers.
The last Whig Prime Minister, the Lord Grenville, had retired from active politics in 1817. It was that Earl Grey would have been invited to form a government, had the Whigs come to power, although in this era the monarch rather than the governing party decided which individual would be Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, until his death in 1817, was George Ponsonby—the uncle of Grey's wife. About a year after Ponsonby's death, George Tierney reluctantly became the recognised Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. However, after 1819 he did not carry out the functions of leader. Monmouthshire is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England. Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country United Kingdom general elections His Majesty's Opposition 1714–1830, by Archibald S. Foord Footnote to Table 5.02 British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.
British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson. Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, edited by B. M. Walker
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness. George IV led an extravagant lifestyle, he was a patron of new forms of leisure and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle, his charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his dissolute way of life and poor relationships with his parents and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He forbade Caroline to attend his coronation and asked the government to introduce the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to divorce her. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister.
George's ministers found his behaviour selfish and irresponsible. At all times he was much under the influence of favourites. Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending during the Napoleonic Wars, he act as a role model for his people. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory, negotiated the peace settlement, attempted to deal with the social and economic malaise that followed. After Liverpool's retirement, George was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it, his only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, died before him in 1817 and so he was succeeded by his younger brother, William. George was born at St James's Palace, London, on 12 August 1762, the first child of the British king George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; as the eldest son of a British sovereign, he automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. On 18 September of the same year, he was baptised by Archbishop of Canterbury, his godparents were the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Duke of Cumberland and the Dowager Princess of Wales.
George was a talented student, learned to speak French and Italian, in addition to his native English. At the age of 18 he was given a separate establishment, in dramatic contrast with his prosaic, scandal-free father, threw himself with zest into a life of dissipation and wild extravagance involving heavy drinking and numerous mistresses and escapades, he was a witty conversationalist, drunk or sober, showed good, but grossly expensive, taste in decorating his palace. The Prince of Wales turned 21 in 1783, obtained a grant of £60,000 from Parliament and an annual income of £50,000 from his father, it was far too little for his needs – the stables alone cost £31,000 a year. He established his residence in Carlton House, where he lived a profligate life. Animosity developed between the prince and his father, who desired more frugal behaviour on the part of the heir apparent; the King, a political conservative, was alienated by the prince's adherence to Charles James Fox and other radically inclined politicians.
Soon after he reached the age of 21, the prince became infatuated with Maria Fitzherbert. She was a commoner, six years his elder, twice widowed, a Roman Catholic; the prince was determined to marry her. This was in spite of the Act of Settlement 1701, which barred the spouse of a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which prohibited his marriage without the King's consent; the couple went through a marriage ceremony on 15 December 1785 at her house in Park Street, Mayfair. The union was void, as the King's consent was not granted. However, Fitzherbert believed that she was the prince's canonical and true wife, holding the law of the Church to be superior to the law of the State. For political reasons, the union remained secret and Fitzherbert promised not to reveal it; the prince was plunged into debt by his exorbitant lifestyle. His father refused to assist him, forcing him to quit Carlton House and live at Fitzherbert's residence. In 1787, the prince's political allies proposed to relieve his debts with a parliamentary grant.
The prince's relationship with Fitzherbert was suspected, revelation of the illegal marriage would have scandalised the nation and doomed any parliamentary proposal to aid him. Acting on the prince's authority, the Whig leader Charles James Fox declared that the story was a calumny. Fitzherbert was not pleased with the public denial of the marriage in such vehement terms and contemplated severing her ties to the prince, he appeased her by asking another Whig, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, to restate Fox's forceful declaration in more careful words. Parliament, granted the prince £161,000 to pay his debts and £60,000 for improvements to Carlton House. In the summer of 1788 the King's mental health deteriorated as the result of the hereditary disease porphyria, he was nonetheless able to discharge some of his duties and to declare Parliament prorogued from 25 September to 20 November. During the prorogation he became deranged, posing a threat to his own life, when Parliament reconvened in November the King could not deliver th