King George V of Hanover: the man blinded by cricket    Wikimedia Commons
King George V of Hanover: the man blinded by cricket Wikimedia Commons

King George V of Hanover, born May 27, 1819, reigned from 1851 to 1866. Arunabha Sengupta describes how watching cricket led him to lose his vision.

Prince George of Cumberland was the only son of Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

When the aforementioned Duke succeeded to the Hanoverian throne as Ernst August I, our Prince (George Frederick Alexander Charles Ernest Augustus, to give his full name or Georg Friedrich Alexander Karl Ernst August, as the Germans would say) became the Crown Prince of Hanover on June 20, 1837.

As a legitimate male-line descendant of George III, Prince George of Hanover remained a member of the British Royal Family, and second in line to the British throne. That is until the birth of Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1840.

However, since he was totally blind, there were doubts as to whether the Crown Prince was qualified to succeed as king of Hanover. Ultimately it seems that his father decided that he should do so. He became the King in 1851.

Though tragic in itself, the story of his blindness is of some interest to us in these pages.

In 1828, the young Prince was at Windsor, watching a game of cricket. In his hand there was a long beaded purse, to which was attached a gold acorn.

A batsman had just made a fine stroke and the delighted Prince had started to applaud. But the motion of his hands swung the purse and the acorn struck his eyes, blinding him.

One eye continued to function till 1833, before an illness aggravated the condition and blinded him totally.

However, in spite of his handicap, George V remained the King from November 18, 1851 till June 12, 1866 before the Prussian government annexed Hanover. He died in 1878, leaving behind three issues, Prince Ernest Augustus, 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and Princesses Ferederica and Marie, both of Hanover.