King George III had friends

Kew Palace, the smallest of the royal palaces, is currently closed due to the pandemic. Of course, mail will still be accepted there. At the end of last week, an official letter was found in the mailbox of the brick palace in the middle of the Kew Botanical Gardens. Rachel Mackay of the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office posted a picture of the letter on Twitter, addressed to "The current resident, Kew Palace, Royal Botanic Gardens". The sender is "TV Licensing", the UK agency responsible for collecting license fees. Mackay wrote: "Wonderful, it's that time of year again when I have to explain to the TV licensing authority why King George III has not paid his TV fees since 1820."

In fact, the four-story brick building served King George III. (1738-1820) as a summer residence. The monarch bought it in 1781 as a summer residence for himself, his wife Charlotte and his steadily growing family. It was to be the scene of some of the happiest and many of the most tragic years in the history of the Hanoverian dynasty. This is where the middle-class life of the royal couple and their 13 children took place.

Here King George, suffering from porphyria, was ravaged by delusional attacks, hidden from the public and tortured by unsuspecting doctors. It got so bad that at one point the king refused to let the doctors into his room. They fell on the ruse to pretend to be art lovers: "Your Majesty own this wonderful Van Dyck painting," they shouted through the window. "We'd love to look at it." The king believed them, opened the door and was promptly placed in a straitjacket. On November 17, 1818, Queen Charlotte died of cancer at Kew Palace without having seen her husband, who had meanwhile been vegetating in Windsor, again. From then on, Kew Palace had served its purpose as a residence. Today it is a museum.

The fee authority did not contest that - they warned that there was an "urgent need for action" to pay for the TV license if one wanted to continue listening to the radio and watching TV legally in Kew Palace. The association "Historic Royal Palaces" (HRP), which is responsible for the preservation of the palaces that are no longer inhabited by the British royal family, then no longer had to write back. According to Laura Hutchinson, head of the HRP press office, "TV Licensing" reacted immediately to the tweet to explain that such automated letters are also routinely sent to uninhabited addresses. "You have assured us that no further requests for payment will be sent to King George," said Hutchinson at the request of the SZ.

The reigning monarch Elizabeth II, 94, doesn't have to worry about ever finding a warning letter in the mailbox of Buckingham Palace - TV and radio reception is free in Great Britain for everyone over 74 years of age.