It started in 1991 with a stage-play, "The Madness of George III," by Alan Bennett. The play's director, Nicholas Hynter, and its star, Nigel Hawthorne, both returned for the 1994 film. While it's based on the actual history of the King's mental illness, it also takes in the larger issues that so often arise when a monarch struts upon the stage, as when the freshly-deposed Richard II calls for a mirror to see his own face, and find whence from it his majesty has gone:
Give me that glass, and therein will I readAlas, it is not a rival, but himself that threatens to depose George III, and therein hangs this tale. The king's removal from court and from Queen Charlotte, his confinement in a chair, and his long torments are partly fictionalized, but the agony he feels, in Nigel Hawthorne's memorable performance, is real.
No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine
And made no deeper wounds? O flatt'ring glass,
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face
That every day under his household roof
Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face
That like the sun did make beholders wink?