George II, at the age of 60, was the last British sovereign to fight alongside his soldiers, at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743 in Germany, against the French.

Like his father, for much of his reign George's political options were limited by the strength of the Jacobite cause with which many of the Tories supported, overtly or secretly (James Stuart the Old Pretender, and then his son, Charles Edward Stuart)..

George's reign was threatened in 1745 when Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, landed in Scotland. After some initial success (which led to the national anthem in its current form becoming popular among the Hanoverian loyalists), Charles was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. Subsequent Jacobite plots had no realistic prospect of success.

The foundations of the industrial revolution were laid during George's reign, with new levels of production in industries such as coal and shipbuilding and also in agriculture. At the same time, there was, a rapid rise in population.

Overseas, trade was boosted by successes such as Clive's victories in India at Arcot (1751) and Plassey (1757), which placed Madras and Bengal under British control, and Wolfe's capture of French-held Quebec in 1759 (part of a successful campaign which transferred Canada with its wealthy trade in fish and fur from French to British rule).

As the country prospered and George's reign lengthened, his early unpopularity (he did not travel far in England, and much preferred Hanover) changed into a general respect.

The King's eldest son, Frederick, died in 1751. George's grandson therefore inherited the throne, on George's death in 1760.