Digitised papers publicly available for the first time reveal a wealth of intricate detail about day to day Court life in the Georgian period, and shine a light on the familial relationships of the Hanoverian Monarchs.
In Phase II of the Georgian Papers Programme, a further 17,000 papers from the early Georgian period have been digitally scanned and published online, available free for anyone to access at www.royalcollection.org.uk/georgianpapers. This follows on from 33,000 documents released in January this year, making a total of 50,000 pages publically accessible so far.
The papers include financial accounts relating to the Coronation of George I, and the ceremonial booklet detailing those assembled to greet the new King in procession on his arrival from Holland. Also released is the precise expenditure of the Civil List in 1747-48 under George II which outlines, amongst other things, the costs of transporting rebels to America.
Personal papers include the last will and testament of George II’s daughter Princess Amelia and a detailed post mortem carried out after her death. A touching letter from the future George III after the death of his Father, to his Grandfather George II, reveals his wish to stay living at Kew with his Mother and thanks him for the ’paternal tenderness which has hitherto so much contributed to my happiness and the continuance of which I shall ever think my greatest comfort’.
Correspondence between George II and his son Frederick, Prince of Wales, who died before ascending the throne, highlights the often documented difficult relationship between the two. Letters detail George II’s anger at his son following the birth of his Grand-daughter Princess Augusta, The King’s attempts to reduce his son’s income and his refusal to admit anyone to his presence that had paid court to The Prince and Princess of Wales.
The Georgian Papers Programme has also launched The King’s Friends, https://georgianpapersprogramme.com/kings-friends/, a free-to-join international community of those whose work stands to benefit from the digitization, dissemination and interpretation of the papers. Based at King’s College London and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture the group is aimed at anyone studying eighteenth century history and culture. The King’s Friends furthers the engagement of scholars with the GPP. The expertise offered by scholars working in the GPP supports the Royal Archives and Royal Library in understanding the nature and significance of the collections. Essays by scholars about documents in the GPP can be found at https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/georgian-papers-programme/research-and-discovery#/ and also at http://georgianpapersprogramme.com/ and https://georgianpapers-us.wm.edu/.”
The Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) is a partnership between Royal Collection Trust, lead academic partner King’s College London and international participants, including primary U.S. partners the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture and William & Mary, as well as other key U.S. institutions such as the Library of Congress, Mount Vernon and the Sons of the American Revolution.
With Her Majesty’s full authority, the project is part of Royal Collection Trust’s objective to increase public access to and understanding of primary source material held in the collection. It follows the success of the digitisation of Queen Victoria’s journals in 2012, which has encouraged wide public appreciation.
The Georgian Papers Programme’s academic partners have established a series of more than 50 visiting postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate fellowships and five visiting professorships, based at the Royal Archives to support the programme over the coming years.
Since 1912, the papers have been stored, with restricted physical access, within the Royal Archives in Windsor Castle’s Round Tower. In 2016 the Round Tower floor was refitted to allow the digitisation, cataloguing and conservation work for the Georgian Papers Programme to begin. Further refurbishments created a new research room, open five days a week, increasing capacity to support external research from 500 hours a year to 6000 hours a year, a twelve-fold increase.
Notes for Editors