The term Regency period refers to the years between 1811 and 1820 when King George III of the United Kingdom was deemed unfit to rule and his son, later George IV, was instated as his proxy. The term is often applied to the years between 1800 and 1830, a time characterised by distinctive fashions, politics and culture. It was a period of excess for the aristocracy: it was during this time that the Prince Regent built the Brighton Pavilion, for example. However, it was also an era of uncertainty caused by, for example, riots, the Napoleonic wars and a perceived threat of the English mimicking the French Revolution.
The "Regency" can be considered to be a transitional period between "Georgian" and "Victorian". In this sense the term refers to the entire period from approximately 1811 until the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, encompassing the actual period of Regency, along with George IV's reign in his own right and that of his brother William IV. However, if "Regency" is contrasted with "Eighteenth century", then it could include the whole period of the Napoleonic wars. The era was distinctive for its architecture, literature, fashions and politics.