January 2017 | Nate Pedersen

George III Abdication Letter Digitized

_93845366_355788a1-6606-40a2-978b-bc4d912c6870.jpgOver 350,000 documents related to the Georgian era held in the Royal Archives are scheduled for digitization. Some highlights have already been made available online, including a draft of an abdication letter written by George III at the end of the American Revolution. At the time, the king was in the midst of a wide-ranging political battle, derided around Britain as the "king who lost America." George III strongly considered abdicating the throne to his eldest son and embarking on a self-appointed exile to Hanover. The letter, drafted in 1783, however, was never sent or formalized and George III continued on as king until his death in 1820.

Another highlight is a letter from a spy, codename "Aristarchus," who wrote George III in 1781 regarding an elaborate plan to transfer 4,000,000 French Livres to London. Arisarchus also asks for payment for informing the king of a French plan to assissanate him while he was walking in the Queen's Garden.

Documents and letters from George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, are also part of the archive scheduled for digitization. A highlight already available is a letter from Queen Charlotte to Lady Charlotte Finch, wherein the queen enclosed a lock of Prince Albert's hair.

Highlights from the collection will be featured in an upcoming BBC documentary, "George III: The Genius of the Mad King."

The digitization efforts are part of the Georgian Papers Programme, a five-year, multi-institutional effort to expand access to the collection of Georgian papers held in the Royal Archives and Royal Library at Windsor. 

[Image supplied by the Royal Archives, copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016]