RepositoryRoyal Archives
CollectionAdditional papers of George IV, as Prince, Regent, and King
Record TypeCorrespondence
ReferenceGEO/ADD/3/82-84
TitleCorrespondence between George, Prince of Wales, and Miranda Hamilton
Date5 April 1779 - 27 September 1801
DescriptionComprises:

(GEO/ADD/3/82/1-78, GEO/ADD/3/83/1-60) Letters from George, Prince of Wales, to Mary Hamilton, and her draft replies to him, dated from 5 April 1779 to 31 December 1779. There are more letters from the Prince than from Hamilton, and it is unlikely that her side of the correspondence is complete, as she may not have made or kept her drafts consistently. The letters cover various themes, including the Prince's infatuation with Hamilton, the importance of their friendship, their feelings and health, family news and court life, fashionable society, literature, fashion, and Hamilton's concerns regarding the Prince's behaviour. Mary Hamilton is often uses the name 'Miranda', and George, Prince of Wales, frequently signs his letters 'Palemon' followed by the phrase 'toujours de même'. This likely refers to the rural lovers Palemon and Lavinia in the poem 'Autumn' in James Thomson's 'The Seasons', 1726-1730.

(GEO/ADD/3/83/61) A fragment with the signature of George, Prince of Wales, [?November 1782].

(GEO/ADD/3/83/62/i-ix) A file comprising wrappers and labels previously used to contain sections of this correspondence, which had been seperated before cataloguing.

(GEO/ADD/3/84/1) A letter from the violoncellist Christopher Schram [musician to George, Prince of Wales] to John Dickenson, husband of Mary Hamilton, 27 September 1801.
LanguageEnglish
Extent149 documents (1 box)
LevelSeries
Admin HistoryMary Hamilton [married name Dickenson] was born in 1756 to Charles Hamilton (1721-1771), son of Lord Archibald Hamilton and grandson of the third Duke of Hamilton; and Mary Catherine (d.1778), daughter of Colonel Dufresne, aide-de-camp to Lord Archibald Hamilton. Mary Hamilton's uncle was Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples between 1764 and 1800.

In 1777 Mary Hamilton was asked by Queen Charlotte to come to court to assist in the education of the young princes and princesses. In April 1779 the sixteen year old George, Prince of Wales, declared his infatuation for Mary Hamilton [frequently known as Miranda]. While she did not reciprocate his romantic attachment, they established a close friendship. Their frequent correspondence during this time lasted until December 1779, which coincided with the beginning of the Prince's affair with the actress Mary Robinson.

After wishing to leave court for some time due to the exhausting demands of her life as a courtier, Hamilton was permitted by Queen Charlotte to retire from court in 1782. In 1783 she moved to London and lived as part of the 'bluestocking' circle, continuing her friendships with figures such as Frances Burney, Mary Delaney and Elizabeth Carter. In 1785 she married John Dickenson with whom she had one daughter, Louisa, born in 1787.

Mary Hamilton died on 25 May 1816.
Custodial HistoryPurchased by the Royal Archives in 2006. Prior to this, Mary Hamilton's papers were kept and arranged by her descendents. In 1925, selected extracts of her papers were published by her great-grandchildren Elizabeth and Florence Anson, in 'Mary Hamilton, Afterwards Mrs John Dickenson, At Court And At Home From Letters and Diaries 1756-1816' (London, 1925). The majority of this correspondence is previously unpublished.
ArrangementThe correspondence has been arranged chronologically. Many of Mary Hamilton's drafts are undated, and where possible to so an estimated date has been given and these have been incorporated. Those unable to be dated with confidence have been placed at the end of the series. Catalogued and arranged in Summer 2018.
Related MaterialFurther papers of Mary Hamilton, including her diaries, correspondence, and commonplace books, are held at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester.
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