All About History
What if… Queen Victoria had been assassinated?
A lone gunman could have plunged Britain into an age of autocracy but kept Hanover out of the Austro-prussian War
was massively unpopular in Britain and had been for decades, largely thanks to gossip that implicated him in murder, suicide, electioneering fraud and several sex scandals, including numerous homosexual affairs with members of his household.
These rumours were unfounded and their root could be found in his political opinions. He voted against the Reform Act, opposed Catholic emancipation and even attempted to install a government to replace Wellington’s own when he learned that the Iron Duke intended to seek a reconciliation with Irish Catholics. A hard-line Tory who sported a disfiguring facial scar, Ernest was a convenient bogeyman for the British public, and it was a mantle he never truly shed.
Was there any chance that Parliament would have amended the line of succession to avoid Ernest Augustus?
suspended the disputed Hanoverian constitution and ordered that all holders of public office must swear an allegiance to the crown under threat of expulsion. Though his moves did bring a shifting and conflicted political system into line, things would barely have been settled in 1840, when he would be called to Britain to take his place on the throne, renewing the personal union between Hanover and Britain under his rule.
Though it’s easy to throw around talk of revolution in any alternate timeline, history suggests that in the case of Ernest Augustus taking the throne as king of Britain, we might have had rather more public sabre rattling than true action. In fact, the nation as a whole would likely have welcomed its new monarch, gripped by patriotism in light of the tragic assassination of its queen.
Would Ernest Augustus have retained popularity in the longer term?