“My Lords and Peacocks”.
- King George 111 (1738-1820), beginning his speech on the opening of Parliament.
George was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death.
In the later part of his life, George III had recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On George III's death, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV.
According to a letter received by novelist E. M. Frostier from his aunt, Marine Thornton, as regards the above quotation: "... there he was sitting on the Throne with his King's Crown on, his robes scarlet and ermine, and held his speech written out for him, just what he had to say. But, oh dear, he strode up and made a bow and began "My Lords and Peacocks'. The people who were not fond of him laughed, the people who did love him cried, and he went back to be no longer a king, and his eldest son reigned in his stead".
He also started wearing a pillowcase on his head and once, believing himself to be dead, wore black and announced that he was in mourning for “that good man, King George”.
On another occasion when driving through Windsor Great Park, George ordered his carriage driver to stop. He alighted from the carriage, walked over to an oak tree, shook hands with one of its branches and talked to it for several minutes, under the impression that he was talking to the King of Prussia.