In the year 1812, the Prince of Wales, becoming Regent of the Kingdom, was constrained by reasons of state to resign the Grand Mastership of England, but immediately afterward accepted the title of Grand Patron of the Order in England, and this was the first time that the title was officially recognized.
George IV held it during his life, and on his death, William IV, in 1830, officially accepted the title of Patron of the United Grand Lodge. On the accession of Queen Victoria, the title fell into abeyance, because it was understood that it could only be assumed by a sovereign who was a member of the Craft, but King Edward VII became Protector of English Freemasons on his accession to the throne in 1901. The office is generally not known in other countries, though on the Continent similar positions have been occupied (see Protector).
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