The historical Regency period in England lasted from 1811 to 1820, during the reign of the Prince of Whales, George IV. Because George IV's father, King George III, was still alive but unable to act as reigning monarch due to health issues, the Regency occurred. The king is thought to have had porphyria, which affected both his physical and mental health. During this time, the Queen Consort was the Prince Regent's mother, Queen Charlotte. As King George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent ascended to the throne, effectively ending the formal Regency.

For the Prince Regent, the British Regency period was one of excess. He was discouraged from making decisions and spent much of his time indulging and spending more money than the government had set aside for him. His father was vehemently opposed to his son's spending habits. This opulent and hedonistic lifestyle pervaded the upper middle and aristocratic classes.

Unlike other periods, the Regency saw the social classes mix in the same places; the aristocracy was not hidden.

Because of the Prince Regent's and Queen Consort's interest in and patronage of the arts, this was a time of great change as well as cultural achievement.

The Regency Period is distinguished by the following characteristics:

The steam press was invented in 1811 and was widely used by London newspapers by 1814. This made print much more accessible.

Balls: Regency social life England revolved around balls where members of the aristocracy were expected to find a suitable marriage that would affect not only their own social standing, but also the social standing of their family.

The Regency took place during the Romantic period in the arts.

The ton: During the Regency, the ton referred to upper-class society. During the Regency, the gap between rich and poor (between the poor and the ton) widened.

Find out more Novels...