A miniature portrait in a blue and gold oval frame, with a ring attached so that it can be attached to a chain or worn as a pendant. The subject is George IV as a young man in seventeenth-century costume: he is in three-quarter profile, facing to the right. He has curly powdered hair and wears a cream doublet with a high starched collar; a miniature portrait, possibly of two women, is on a blue ribbon around his neck, and a pink cloak is draped across his shoulders, with the star of the Order of the Garter embroidered on the shoulder.

Section Two: Acting royal

Members of the royal family have time and again modelled themselves on Shakespearean characters.

Successive Princes of Wales have taken the transition of Prince Hal to the national icon King Henry V, dramatised in the Henry IV plays, as a way to excuse youthful excess and project future strong, sometimes military, leadership. In the process, they have attracted both Falstaffian acquaintances (politicians, showmen, social climbers) and a good deal of satire.

In the 1780s, George, Prince of Wales, dressed as The Winter’s Tale’s Florizel to mark his (brief) relationship with Mary Robinson, an actress whom he first encountered playing Florizel’s beloved Perdita. More ambiguously, the 'madness' of George III, since immortalised in Alan Bennett's play, drew inevitable comparisons with Shakespeare's King Lear.

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