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in British history, the period of the last nine years (1811–20) of the reign of George III, when the king's insanity had rendered him unfit to rule and the government was vested in the prince of Wales (later George IVGeorge IV,
1762–1830, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1820–30), eldest son and successor of George III. In 1785 he married Maria Anne Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic.
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) as regent. The period witnessed the end (1815) of the Napoleonic Wars and growing social unrest, which was met by the Tory government of the time with harsh repression. Socially, the period took a distinctive coloration from the gay and dissolute regent and his companions. It was the time of a notable flowering in arts, letters, and architecture. In literature, the period marks the height of the romantic movement in the work of such poets as Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley and in the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Regency architecture culminated in the elegant simplicity of the Regency styleRegency style,
in English architecture, flourished during the regency and reign of George IV (1811–30) and was chiefly represented by the court architect John Nash. The period is characterized by the diversity of the architectural styles of many countries and periods.
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. Regency furniture shows a similar refinement of design and taste and a strong influence of the styles of the French Directoire.


See A. Bryant, The Age of Elegance (1950); J. B. Priestley, The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency (1969).



in monarchies, the exercise of the authority of the head of state by a body (regency council) or an individual (regent) in the event of vacancy of the throne or the minority, protracted illness, incapacity, or prolonged absence of the monarch. The conditions by which a regency is established and implemented are regulated by constitutional norms, organic laws, or special laws enacted by parliament at the beginning of each reign. The regent, council or individual, exercises full authority in place of the incapacitated or absent monarch.


1. government by a regent or a body of regents
2. the office of a regent or body of regents
3. a territory under the jurisdiction of a regent or body of regents


1. (in the United Kingdom) the period (1811--20) during which the Prince of Wales (later George IV (1762--1830; king 1820--30)) acted as regent during his father's periods of insanity
2. (in France) the period of the regency of Philip, Duke of Orleans, during the minority (1715--23) of Louis XV (1710--74; king 1715--74)
3. characteristic of or relating to the Regency periods in France or the United Kingdom or to the styles of architecture, furniture, art, literature, etc., produced in them