In the spring of 1739, Georg Ludwig commenced the Grand Tour of European Courts with visits to Versailles, London, Vienna and Berlin. It was while he was in Berlin, visiting Frederick II at Sans Souci, that word came to him that Duke Karl V had died in a hunting accident in the Forest of Glim. Witnesses swore that a ditzy young brunette by the name of Lady Diana Pettygree, had pushed her horse against that of Duke Karl, causing him to fall over the cliff into a chasm 300 feet below.
One of the hunting party, a certain French ex-pat named Lady De Winter, shouted out, "it's her, Lady Pettygree, I saw her push Duke Karl over the cliff!" Lady Pettygree spurred her horse and galloped away from the scene of the crime and was last heard to have been spotted in the Saxon capital at Dresden.
Whoever caused the fall, accidental or intentional, the prime beneficiary of the incident was Georg Ludwig II, who inherited the Duchy of Gotha and the neighboring County of Wiemar. This did not go over very well in Dresden, where Duke Wilhelm von Sachsen-Raschstein had long coveted Gotha and Wiemar for himself. And thus were planted the seeds for a future war between Hesse Seewald and Saxony. More of that later, for grander events were about to overshadow the kerfuffle between the two minor countries in Central Germany.
In 1740, the harmonic conversion of the deaths of two rulers, Charles of Austria and Frederick William of Prussia, created conditions of succession turmoil in Central Europe. The new young king of Prussia, Frederick II stunned the world with his invasion of Silesia, ripping the duchy from the arms of the Hapsburgs. All of Europe joined in on the land grab of Hapsburg possessions. Georg Ludwig was no less astute and following on Frederick II's example, the Hesse Seewald army marched into the duchies of Gotha and Wiemar and annexing their lands to his kingdom. The Gotha relationship was further cemented by the marriage of Georg Ludwig to the princess Charlotte of Gotha. So while Austria, Saxony, Bavarian and Prussian were all fighting over Silesia in the two wars of the Austrian Succession, Georg Ludwig II was adding territory at the expense of Saxony and some of its related minor duchies.
The Geography of the Kingdom