[Editor’s Note. LHB here. MRG is really busy serving people ice cream and celebrating the birth of our nation, so I’ll be publishing this scrumptious post this evening. The article can be credited to MRG, lover of America and connoisseur of Independence Day celebrations. Only the images and captions were chosen by me. Enjoy the read and FOR SHAME if you don’t have the best, most intoxicated 4th of July EVER.]
THE FOURTH OF JULY IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY. I’m yelling that, because it’s in caps. I love the Fourth. I love it. I said it. And I don’t love it because I love America. I mean America’s fine, it’s been good to me (aside from the processed foods and age-inappropriate television that defined my childhood). But I love the Fourth of July because I grew up in a tiny little suburb of Philadelphia that gets less Pleasantville and more South Philly every year, and the ONE THING we do right is the Fourth of July. Every year at midnight on the third, a little cuteness fairy flies over town and sprinkles us all with adorableness dust, and we wake up as precious as a basket of week-old kittens. We turn into Stars Hollow for one day.
One day of parades, decorated bicycles, sack races, balloon tosses (which MRG and her BFF Maggie OWNED for a few years in the early 2000s), doughnut-eating contests, string band music, and endless hotdogs and birch beer. My throat is getting a little tight just thinking about it. I love the Fourth of July because I love the nostalgia. And the fireworks. But mostly the nostalgia. Did you know that “nostalgia” is a combination of the Greek words for “ache” and “returning home?” FUCK, I’m crying already (except not really because I don’t cry).
ANYWAY, given my attachment to the Fourth, naturally I demanded that I write the Independence Day post. As you may recall, we recently finished up a week of posts all about the Founding Fathers. And then we sort of collectively said “SHIT, that would have been good for the Fourth of July.” So we had to do a little quick thinking. But don’t worry, Americans. Aunt MRG’s got a li’l treat for ya.
Take a second and think back to the fifth grade. Remember learning about the Continental Congresses? Remember learning about the taxes? Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Intolderable Acts? Remember that little thing Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1776? Where he used “he” about a hundred times? Who was the antecedent to that pronoun? Who levied the taxes? Have I asked enough questions yet?
That’s right, buttons! Today’s post is about how the Fourth of July became the special day to get hot dog drunk and set things on fire that it is today. We’re learning about….KING GEORGE III!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
And even better for you, this post is going to be short & sweet (like LHB) because when Georgie wasn’t being a big ol’ anti-colonial douche, he was mostly dealing with his own madness and his future-regent son’s stupidity and frivolity. He wasn’t having a lot of the inappropriate sex, and I like to think it’s because he was married to a FIERCE bitch named Charlotte who really kept his pantalooned ass in line. She was a great patroness of the arts, but more importantly, she might have had a somewhat ethnic (ie Portuguese or Vandalic) ancestor like 9 generations back, which of course meant that people referred to her as “mulatto,” “Moor,” or “African.” So for our purposes, Charlotte was LITERALLY a strong black woman who would not allow any adulterous shit from George.
This makes finding a scandal a tish bit difficult, but hey, keep your bloomers on. I got it.
Prior to marrying
Beyonce Charlotte, George was just a lovesick teenage puppy like all the rest of us. Except being a good Hanoverian, he was really into Protestantism. So to a young, pious, horny teenager, what’s hotter than a sexy older Quaker lady? Nothing, that’s what.
Enter Hannah Lightfoot, who was a commoner (!), a Quaker (!!), and eight years older than the 15-year-old Prince of Wales (!!!!!!!!!!1). She also had a great last name. Anyway, she married a London grocer named Issac Axford sometime in 1755, and by January of 1756, bitch completely disappeared. No one knew where she went. I mean no one. Her mom died in 1760 and in her will said “I am not certain whether my said daughter be living or dead I not having seen or heard from her for about two years last past.”
SUPPOSEDLY, ALLEGEDLY, MAYBE George met her in 1753 or 1754, just before her marriage to young Isaac, and thought DAYUM let me hit that Quaker cougar. And SUPPOSEDLY, ALLEGEDLY, MAYBE organized a li’l kidnapping-type plot, so that Hannah was abducted after her wedding and brought to George, who was probably still struggling to grow chest hair. But that’s beside the point. SUPPOSEDLY, ALLEGEDLY, MAYBE they got married in secret and had two kids together, one of which was named George Rex. “Rex” meaning “king” and not “dinosaur.”
I know we’ve written about a lot of stories that are of questionable veracity, but this is probably the questionablest. Historians have really only found concrete reference to George and Hannah’s relationship in contemporary gossip magazines, which mentioned the Prince of Wales keeping a Quaker woman who had his children. GRAIN OF SALT, people. Because if we believed everything printed in US Weekly the world would be a frightening (and FABULOUS!) place. The story grew in popularity, and for some reason people were really into it in the 1830s. There were three different secret-lives-of-the-royals type books published during that decade that mention Hannah. So who knows. Maybe they did get their bone on.
Here’s my thought: Quakers are so great for so many reasons. I mean there’s the oatmeal, obviously. And the founding of my home city & state. But they’ve also got a great liturgical lack of hierarchy. And they call themselves Friends! And George wanted to do what any young prince does: bone inappropriately. But he also wanted to make sure his slampiece was as virtuous as it gets, so he made sure she was Protestant and then married her before shit got too immoral. It makes sense. Shhhhh, it does.
Anyway, Hannah either died or just disappeared again or something, because then George got really upset and took it out on the colonies like a little bitch via questionable taxes and occupation by poorly-mannered Redcoats.
And that’s why we have the Fourth of July. USA USA USA USA USA!