He became Astronomer Royal in Cape Colony in 1879 and retained that post till 1902.
He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on the 26th of February 1807; he married and went to live in London in the same year, and in 1811 succeeded Maskelyne as astronomer-royal.
In June 1835 Airy was appointed Astronomer Royal in succession to John Pond, and thus commenced that long career of wisely directed and vigorously sustained industry at the national observatory which, even more perhaps than his investigations in abstract science or theoretical astronomy, constitutes his chief title to fame.
In 1881 Sir George Airy resigned the office of Astronomer Royal and resided at the White House, Greenwich, not far from the Royal Observatory, until his death, which took place on the 2nd of January 1892.
The Astronomer-Royal for Scotland also holds the chair of practical astronomy.