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The Regency period in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, later George IV, was instated to be his proxy as Prince Regent. The term is often expanded to apply to the years between 1795 and 1837, a time characterised by distinctive fashions, politics and culture. In this sense, it can be considered to be a transitional period between "Georgian" and "Victorian" eras. The era was distinctive for its architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and snuffboxes.
It was a period of excess for the aristocracy: for example, it was during this time that the Prince Regent built the Brighton Pavilion. However, it was also an era of uncertainty caused by, among other things, the Napoleonic wars, periodic riots, and the concern - threat to some, hope to others - that the British people might imitate the upheavals of the French Revolution.
The term is sometimes used in various ways to include years surrounding the decade of the formal regency. If "Regency" is considered to be transitional between "Georgian" and "Victorian" then it would refer to the entire period from approximately 1811 until the accession of Queen Victoria, encompassing the actual period of Regency, along with George IV's reign in his own right and that of his brother William IV. If "Regency" is contrasted with "Eighteenth century", then it could include the whole period of the Napoleonic wars.