Lords Hamilton (1445)


1st Lord Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.c.1415, a.1445, d.1479


The name Hamilton originally comes from the estate of Hambledon in Leicestershire and the first member of the family to appear in Scotland was Gilbert de Hambledon, thought by some to have been the son of Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester. This may or may not be true, but regardless they were from an old family that had come across from France as part of the Norman invasion. Gilbert married Isabella Randolph, sister of Thomas Randolph, future 1st Earl of Moray and their son Walter fitzGilbert had lands in Lanarkshire during the time of the Great Competitors for the Scottish Crown. He initially swore fealty to Edward I of England like many other lowland barons at the time. After the Battle of Bannockburn, however, he defected to Robert the Bruce, a distant relation via the Randolphs, and was awarded the barony of Cadzow in Lanarkshire, which had previously been held by John Comyn. Walter married Mary Gordon, daughter of Adam Gordon, ancestor of the Gordons of Huntly. His son and heir David fitzWalter, who was captured by the English after the Battle of Neville’s Cross, became the ancestor of the Dukes of Hamilton and of Abercorn, and his younger son John fitzWalter the ancestor of the Earls of Haddington. James Hamilton was 6th Laird of Cadzow, having succeeded his father in 1441. His maternal grandmother was a Douglas, and he married Lady Eupheme Graham (b.b.1413, d.1468), the widow of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas and so he was considered a staunch Douglas supporter. He was created 1st Lord Hamilton in 1445 and had the renamed the town and lands of Cadzow as Hamilton. In 1450 he accompanied William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, in a pilgrimage to Rome and then to Canterbury. As one of a group of rebel lords he also accompanied Douglas to the fateful meeting with King James II at Stirling Castle but was forcibly denied entrance to the castle by Sir Alexander Livingston (a distant relative), with hindsight done for his own safety. After the murder of Douglas, James led attacks on Douglas and Hamilton lands and besieged the Douglas stronghold of Abercorn Castle. Hamilton at first raised levies to join in the lifting of the siege, but withdrew his support due to his disagreements on the plans of attack, and subsequently sided with the King. In return for this dubious reversal, he was made Hereditary Sheriff of Lanark and given extensive additional estates, including some that had been forfeited from the Black Douglas. He later married Princess Mary Stewart, who had previously been married to Thomas Boyd, 1st Earl of Arran.


2nd Lord Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.c.1475, a.1479, d.1529


Son of the 1st Lord and Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of King James II. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1489 later and arranged the marriage of King James IV to Princess Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. For this, and also for his skills at tournament, he was created 1st Earl of Arran in 1503, the previous holder, Thomas Boyd, the Princess’s first husband having been made forfeit in 1469.



Earls of Arran (1503)


1st Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.c.1475, a.1503, d.1529


In 1504 he led a contingent of 10,000 men sent in support of the King of Denmark by James IV. In 1507 he acted as Ambassador to the Court of Louis XII of France and during his return journey was detained by Henry VIII. He remained captive for some time after refusing to swear loyalty to Henry, despite several envoys sent from Scotland to effect his release. When Henry invaded France in 1513, Hamilton was given command of the Scottish fleet, which he used to harry the English stronghold of Carrickfergus in Ulster before heading for France, where he learned about the disaster at Flodden. He then became an active supporter of the young King James V against moves by Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus to control the country during the King’s minority, and was instrumental in ousting the Regent John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, allowing the King to ascend the throne in 1524. He also commanded the royal army at the Battle of Linlithgow against his nephew John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox.


2nd Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.1515, a.1529, d.1574-1575


Son of the 1st Earl and Janet Bethune (b.c.1490, d.c.1522), daughter of Sir David Bethune of Creich and niece of Cardinal Beaton. He was present at the marriage of King James V to Princess Margaret of France in 1536 and after the King’s death, he was Regent for Queen Mary between 1542 and 1554, being second in line to the throne through his paternal grandmother. One of his steps was to make the Bible available in translation to Scots. Although initially a Protestant and supporting the marriage of the Queen to the future Edward VI of England, he faced an alliance of other powerful nobles backed by Cardinal Beaton, who invited the exiled Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox, another close relative of the Queen and an implacable enemy of the Hamiltons. Lennox allied himself with Henry VIII and supported the Rough Wooing, forcing Beaton to make peace with Arran, and Lennox was defeated at the Battle of Glasgow Muir. Arran became a Catholic and joined the pro-French faction, and arranged for the Queen to marry the French Dauphin, the future King Francis II. For this he was made Duc de Chatelherault in the Peerage of France, and made a Knight of the Order of St Michael. Beaton was murdered in 1546 and Arran installed his bastard brother John Hamilton as Archbishop of St Andrews. In 1554 he surrendered the regency to Mary of Guise, the Queen Mother, under pressure from his political enemies, and later changed allegiance again to oppose her rule. In 1560, her husband having died, Mary returned to Scotland and Arran tried to arrange her marriage to his son. His loyalties swung between Mary and the Protestant Lords of Congregation as best suited his own ends, but when Mary married Darnley, he left for France. He returned to Scotland in 1569 after the dust had settled and claimed the regency again, but the present incumbent, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, Mary’s half-brother, had other ideas and Arran was captured and imprisoned until he agreed to recognise Mary’s son James as King. Moray was assassinated in 1571 and was replaced by Lennox, who had all of Mary’s supporters declared traitors and attainted and had Archbishop Hamilton executed. The country was in chaos for several years until Lennox was killed and replaced by James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton. Morton arranged a treaty under which the King’s authority would be held paramount but would recognise the legitimacy of Protestantism, and lifted the threat of attainder, leaving Arran to live the last few years of his life in peace.


3rd Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.1533-1538, a.1575, d.1609


Son of the 2nd Earl and Lady Margaret Douglas, daughter of James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Morton. He was held prisoner in St Andrews after the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 until the conspirators surrendered, whereupon he travelled to France, where he eventually became Commander of the Scots Guards, before being required to flee that country when his position as a Protestant became untenable. He was a pawn in the manoeuvrings of his father, who tried to arrange his marriage to Princess Elizabeth of England in 1543 and again in 1560 when she had become Queen. He was then put forward as a potential husband to Mary, Queen of Scots, after the death of her first husband, Francis II of France. Having known her since childhood, he was very keen on this alliance, with Mary not altogether resistant. The fact that she was Catholic proved irreconcilable, and his behaviour became erratic, resulting in him being declared insane in 1562 and confined for the rest of his life, under the care of his brothers John Hamilton (b.1532, d.1604) (for whom see below) and Claud Hamilton, 1st Lord Paisley (b.c.1543, d.1621-1622) (for whom see the earls of Abercorn). Though he inherited his father’s estates, he remained under their control as a veritable prisoner in Craignethan Castle. In 1579, after his brothers were attainted for continuing to support Mary, he and several other members of his family were rounded up by forces of the former Regent Morton, who had briefly taken regained power, and kept at Linlithgow Palace. They were placed in the custody of one James Stewart, a grandson of Arran’s sister Margaret Hamilton (b.c.1546, d.?), who had married Andrew Stewart, 1st Lord Stewart of Ochiltree. With the arrival of Esme Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, later in 1579, this James Stewart accused Morton of being involved in the death of Darnley. Morton was removed from power and later executed. Stewart used his new influence with both Lennox and the King to fool Arran into abdicating as Earl in 1581 and claimed the title for himself as the rightful heir. In 1585, Stewart’s brief reign came to an end when he was arrested on the orders of James VI, and the earldom was restored to Hamilton by the Court of Session, the abdication being reversed on account of his insanity. He had no children and his honours were passed to his brother John’s son James, who had continued in his father’s role as carer of the unfortunate earl.


4th Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.c.1589, a.1609, d.1624-1625


Nephew of the 3rd Earl, and son of John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Hamilton. He inherited his father’s title prior to the earldom of Arran.



Marquesses of Hamilton (1599)


1st Marquess of Hamilton, John Hamilton, b.1532, a.1599, d.1604


Younger brother of the 3rd Earl of Arran. He was made Commendator of Arbroath Abbey in 1551 and in 1562 took control of the Hamilton family estates after his older brother was declared insane. He received Queen Mary after her escape from Lochleven Castle. In 1579 he was implicated in the earlier deaths of the Regents Moray and Lennox and attainted by the new Regent Morton. He first headed for France, where there was a sizable contingent of Mary’s supporters, but the fact that he was Protestant made him less than welcome and he then joined his brother in England. In 1585 they returned with many other exiled nobles and were at the siege of Stirling Castle. Welcomed by James VI, he was pardoned and the forfeiture lifted from his family, with all lands and honours restored, and he became a Privy Counsellor and Governor of Dumbarton Castle. When Mary was about to be executed in England in 1587, she sent Hamilton one of her rings in token of the family’s loyalty. He became favourite of the new King and was a concelebrant at the crowning of his new queen, Anne of Denmark. He also led the King’s Army in the royal expedition to pacify the Catholic earls in the north in 1593. In 1599, he was created 1st Marquess of Hamilton and 1st Lord Aven.


2nd Marquess of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.c.1589, a.1604, d.1624-1625


Son of the 1st Marquess and Margaret Lyon, daughter of John Lyon, 7th Lord Glamis (for whom see the earls of Kinghorne).  He succeeded to his father’s titles in 1604, and to his uncle’s titles in 1609, and in the meantime was made 1st Lord Aberbrothwick in 1608. He was made a Scottish Privy Counsellor in 1613 and an English Privy Counsellor and Lord Steward of the Household in 1617. He travelled to England with King James VI, and became successful in business there, investing in the Somers Isles Company, which administered Bermuda from 1615 to 1684. In 1619 he was created 1st Earl of Cambridge and 1st Baron Hamilton of Innerdale in the Peerage of England, and in 1621 was appointed as Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland and made a Knight of the Garter. He was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber from 1621 to 1624 and thereafter Lord Steward of the Household. He died of a fever in London, though there was a rumour that he was poisoned by the Duke of Buckingham. This however is unlikely, though encouraged by the fact that one of the three doctors who examined his body did not discount poison as the cause of death. His three legitimate daughters all married earls, Lady Anne Hamilton (b.?, d.1632) to Hugh Seton Montgomerie, 7th Earl of Eglinton, Lady Margaret Hamilton (b.?, d.1678) to John Lindsay, 1st Earl of Lindsay, and Lady Mary Hamilton (b.?, d.c.1633) to James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Queensberry.


3rd Marquess of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.1606, a.1625, d.1648-1649


Son of the 2nd Marquess and Anne Cunningham, daughter of James Cunningham, 7th Earl of Glencairn. He was born in Hamilton Palace and educated at Exeter College Oxford, although he showed little aptitude for scholarly pursuits. As a result of his ancestry, he was briefly heir presumptive to the Scottish throne, and from an early age was taken into the royal circle by James VI. In 1625 he inherited his father’s titles, and shortly thereafter, following the death of the king, bore the Sword of State at the Coronation of Charles I. He then retreated to Brodick Castle on Arran for several years before being pressed to return to Court, and in 1628 was made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, Master of the Horse and a Privy Counsellor in both Scotland and England. In 1631 he led an army of 6,000 men in support of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, in Germany during the Thirty Year War, but his expedition resulted in complete failure, his troops ravaged by disease and worn down by constant battle, and he returned to England in 1634. As the King’s closest advisor, he was sent as the representative of Charles I back to Scotland in 1638 in order to re-establish the monarch’s position with the elected Parliament and the Council of Bishops. However the Scottish Parliament rejected the King’s wishes and abolished the Episcopacy in Scotland.  They refused to reverse their decision upon further pressure from Hamilton and forced Charles to send an army northwards, with Hamilton leading an advance party by ship. The parlous state of affairs in England at the time, however, forced the King to negotiate a temporary truce in the Treaty of Berwick. Hamilton then allied himself to the Scottish Parliament’s cause, and sought to effect an alliance between the King and Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll, in order to gain help against the English Parliamentarians. When this also failed, he went over to Argyll’s side. A plot by James Graham, 5th Earl of Monstrose, to have him declared a traitor, and then to seize him and Argyll, almost succeeded, but he managed to escape from Edinburgh and was eventually returned to Charles’ favour. In 1642, he returned to Scotland in a last ditch effort to prevent the Scottish Parliament from sending a force in support of the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War, which created a rift between him and Argyll. In 1643, he was created 1st Duke of Hamilton, with the additional titles of 1st Marquess of Clydesdale and 1st Lord Aven in the Peerage of Scotland, and obtained a re-grant as 1st Earl of Arran, and 1st Earl of Cambridge and 1st Lord Innerdale in the Peerage of England. However, additional intrigues involving various factions within the Scottish Parliament came to nothing, and on refusing to take the Covenant, he was obliged to flee back to England, where he was imprisoned for three years in Pendennis Castle in Cornwall after Charles tired of the situation. After his release, however, he continued in his support of Charles and was made Hereditary Keeper of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In 1647 Charles was imprisoned by the English Parliamentarian Army, and, using all of his power and influence, Hamilton managed to obtain enough influence within the Scottish Parliament for it to agree to the Engagement, whereby they would lend military aid to the King. He led a large, though quickly raised and unprepared, force into England in 1648, and it progressed slowly, delayed by a retreating army led by General Lambert, until Lambert was joined by Cromwell himself at Preston. Hamilton’s military failings resulted in disastrous defeat at the Battle of Preston, where he was taken prisoner, tried and executed the following year. It has sometimes been implied that his intrigues and mismanagement of the King’s affairs in Scotland were part of an underlying plan to achieve his own ends. However, another school of thought takes the view that he was simply a blustering, egotistical buffoon, whose attempts to compromise and avoid confrontation failed to help those who placed there hopes in him.



Dukes of Hamilton (1643)


1st Duke of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.1606, a.1643, d.1648-1649


His only son, Charles Hamilton (b.c.1630, d.1640), died young, and so the dukedom fell to his brother.


2nd Duke of Hamilton, William Hamilton, b.1616, a.1649, d.1651


Younger brother of the 1st Duke. Born at Hamilton and educated at the University of Glasgow, William Hamilton spent much of his youth travelling on the Continent, On his return to Great Britain in 1637 he became a favourite of Charles I and in 1649 he was created 1st Earl of Lanark and 1st Lord Machansyre and Polmont. He represented Portsmouth as an MP and was made a Privy Counsellor, and became Secretary of State for Scotland in 1640. A participant in his brother’s intrigues, he was implicated in various plots and arrested on the King’s order and was held prisoner in Pendennis Castle and then at St Michael’s Mount before making his escape to Scotland via London. He was reconciled with the Scottish Presbyterians and fought on the Covenanter’s side at the Battle of Kilsyth. He was, however, fundamentally a Royalist, and after the removal of Montrose, which allowed a degree of unity within the Scottish Parliament, he helped to obtain Scottish support for the King. He was one of the Commissioners from the Committee of Estates who met Charles at Newcastle, where he signed the Engagement on behalf of the Scots. When his brother, the 1st Duke, led the Scottish Parliamentarian Army south, Hamilton remained behind as Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, but following the disaster of Preston he fled to Holland. After succeeding his brother as duke, he returned to Scotland in 1650 with Charles II, Charles being happy to give concessions to Presbyterianism in order to win back England, but was sidelined as a result of the antagonism of Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll. The following year, however, he was back in the fold, and led a detachment of the Scottish Royalist army that invaded England, only to die of wounds received during the Battle of Worcester, which conflict decisively finished the English Civil Wars with a victory for the English Parliamentarians. The older earldom of Arran became dormant at his death, and all of the other titles in the Peerages of England and Scotland that had been granted before 1643 became extinct. He was outlived only by daughters and the dukedom passed to his niece.


3rd Duke (Duchess) of Hamilton, Anne Hamilton, b.1631-1632, a.1651, d.1716


Daughter of the 1st Duke and Lady Margaret Feilding, daughter of Sir William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh. Her father’s dukedom and some lesser titles reverted to her when her uncle the 2nd Duke died without any surviving children. She married Sir William Douglas, 1st Earl of Selkirk, a son of the 1st Marquess of Douglas (for whom see the earls of Angus). He was created Duke of Hamilton, de uxoris, and later assumed the surname Douglas-Hamilton. They had thirteen children, many of whom either married peers or were awarded peerages. In 1698, she abdicated all her titles to her son and heir.


4th Duke of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.1658, a.1698, d.1712


Son of the 3rd Duchess and William Douglas, 1st Earl of Selkirk. He attended the University of Glasgow and then travelled on the Grand Tour of the continent. Known as Earl of Arran while young, in 1679 he was made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles II and in 1683 he was Ambassador to the Court of Louis XIV of France, serving as Aide-de-Camp to Louis XIV. On the accession of James VII, he returned to Britain and was made Master of the Wardrobe and given command of the Royal Horse Regiment. He was one of the founding members of the Order of the Thistle created by James VII in 1687 and refused to endorse the Prince of Orange after James was deposed, spending some time in the Tower of London before being released without charge. In 1693 he reached the rank of Lieutenant-General in the British Army. In 1698 his mother resigned all her titles to King William, who thereafter re-granted them to Hamilton. He was committed heavily, along with his mother, to the infamous Darien scheme, the failure of which bankrupted the Scottish Government and led ultimately to the Act of Union. His political stance, however, was anti-Union, and he argued strongly for Scotland land to remain independent. He abstained from the final vote, wavering due to the fact that he was potentially the senior claimant for the Scottish throne amongst the Stewart descendants, and took no part in any of the insurrections at the time, turning down the chance to lead a popular revolt and potentially saving the country from another civil war. He was chosen as a Representative Peer in 1708 and again in 1710, when he was made a Privy Counsellor and Lord-Lieutenant of Lancaster, and in 1711 he was created 1st Duke of Brandon, Suffolk, and 1st Baron Dutton, Cheshire, in the Peerage of Great Britain. This situation raised certain issues of legality, since it was then unclear as to how he took his place in the House of Lords, and the problem was not resolved until the time of the 8th Duke. In 1712 he was created a Knight of the Garter, becoming the only non-Royal to be a member of both the Order of the Thistle and the Order of the Garter at the same time. In 1712, he fought a duel with Charles Mohun over the estate of the 3rd Earl of Macclesfield at Gawsworth Hall in Cheshire. He killed Mohun but was himself killed by Mohun’s second.


5th Duke of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.1702-1703, a.1712, d.1742-1743


Son of the 4th Duke and Elizabeth Gerard (b.c.1680, d.1743-1744), a grand-daughter of Charles Gerard, 1st Earl of Macclesfield. Educated at Winchester College in Hampshire and Christ Church College Oxford, by which time he had already succeeded his father, and was immediately required to take up his duties. He was Captain-General of the Royal Company of Archers in 1724, and he was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1726. He was a Lord of the Bedchamber to King George II from 1727 to 1733, even though he had been suspected of having Jacobite leanings, resigning this post due to his dissatisfaction with Robert Walpole’s government. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1736. His daughter Lady Anne Hamilton (b.1738, d.1780) married Arthur Chichester, 1st Marquess of Donegall.


6th Duke of Hamilton, James Hamilton, b.1724, a.1743, d.1758


Son of the 5th Duke and his first wife Lady Anne Cochrane (b.1706-1707, d.1724), daughter of John Campbell Cochrane, 4th Earl of Dundonald. He was educated at Winchester College and St Mary’s Hall, Oxford. He was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1755, but unfortunately died young. His widow, Elizabeth Gunning, later married John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, and was Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Consort Charlotte from 1761 to 1784. She was created 1st Baroness Hamilton of Hambledon in her own right in 1776, this title passing to her son, the 8th Duke of Hamilton, at her death. Their daughter Elizabeth Hamilton (b.1753, d.1797) married Edward Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby.


7th Duke of Hamilton, James George Hamilton, b.1755, a.1758, d.1769


Eldest son of the 6th Duke and Elizabeth Gunning (b.c.1733, d.1790). Born at Holyroodhouse, he succeeded his father when he was only three years old, and in 1761, with the death of his distant cousin Archibald Douglas, 1st Duke of Douglas (for whom see the earls of Angus), he inherited the Marquessate of Douglas and its subsidiary titles. His right, however, to the estates of Douglas were contested by the son of the sister of the Duke of Douglas, and though the Court of Session decided for Hamilton, the House of Lords reversed this on appeal.


8th Duke of Hamilton, Douglas Hamilton, b.1756, a.1769, d.1799


Younger brother of the 7th Duke. As a young man, he toured Europe in the company of the famous Scottish physician and writer John Moore. In 1777 he raised the 82nd Foot Regiment, which served in the American War of Independence before being disbanded in 1784, and was also made Keeper of Linlithgow Palace and Keeper of Blackness Castle. In 1782 he was adjudged to be entitled to sit in the House of Lords under his British Peerage of Duke of Brandon, Scottish peers not at that time being automatically eligible. He was invested as a Knight of the Thistle in 1785, and in 1798 was made a Colonel in the British Army and Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire. He died without legitimate issue, having had his marriage to Elizabeth Anne Burrell reversed by Act of Parliament in 1794, his mother having disapproved of his choice. The barony of Hamilton passed to his half-brother George Campbell, 6th Duke of Argyll, (his mother having taken John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, as her second husband), while the dukedom and all other titles transferred to his half-uncle on his father’s side.


9th Duke of Hamilton, Archibald Hamilton, b.1740, a.1799, d.1819


Son of the 5th Duke and his second wife Anne Spencer (b.?, d.1771), and so uncle of the previous duke. Educated at Eton, he served as an MP for Lancashire from 1768 to 1772, having inherited substantial estates in Suffolk and Lancashire by way of his mother. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire from 1799 to 1802. His daughter Lady Charlotte Hamilton (b.1772, d.1827) married Edward Adolphus St Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, and his daughter Lady Susan Hamilton (b.1774, d.1846) married George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore.


10th Duke of Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton, b.1767, a.1819, d.1852


Son of the 9th Duke and Lady Harriet Stewart (b.?, d.1788), daughter of Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway. Born in London and educated at Harrow and Christ Church Oxford, he spent some of his youth abroad, cultivating a taste for the finer things. He returned to Britain in 1801 and the following year he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1803 he followed his father as MP for Lancashire but left the House of Commons in 1806 when he was made a Privy Counsellor and Ambassador to Russia. He was Grand Master of the Freemasons of Scotland from 1820 to 1822, and a Trustee of the British Museum from 1834 to 1852. He served as Lord High Steward at the coronations of both William IV and Queen Victoria. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1836 and was also Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire from 1802 to his death and a Trustee of the British Museum from 1834. He was known in life as a bit of a dandy, with exaggerated airs and graces as befitted his standing, and always wore military-like clothing. He was interested in Ancient Egypt and arranged for his body to be mummified after his death and preserved in a sarcophagus in Hamilton Palace. His daughter Lady Susan Harriet Catherine Hamilton (b.1814, d.1889) married Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme.


11th Duke of Hamilton, William Alexander Anthony Archibald Hamilton, b.1811, a.1852, d.1863


Son of the 10th Duke and Susan Euphemia Beckford (b.1786, d.1859), a grand-daughter of Charles Gordon, 4th Earl of Aboyne, Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, he was Grand Master of the Freemasons in Scotland from 1833 to 1835. He held the posts of Knight Marischal from 1846 and Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire from 1852, both until his death. His daughter Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton (b.1850, d.1922) married Albert Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, and when this was annulled married Tassilo de Tolna, Prince of Hungary.


12th Duke of Hamilton, William Alexander Louis Stephen Douglas-Hamilton, b.1845, a.1863, d.1895


Son of the 11th Duke and Marie Amelie Elisabeth Karoline, Prinzessin von Baden (b.1818, d.1888). Born in London, he was educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford. In 1864 he was created 1st Duc de Chatellerault and in 1878 he was made a Knight of the Thistle. In 1867 he was close to financial ruin until one of his racehorses won the Grand National, but he remained financially disadvantaged all his life. In 1886, he succeeded as 8th Earl of Selkirk following the death of his younger brother Charles George Douglas-Hamilton, according to the unusual rules of succession of that title. He married Lady Mary Louise Elizabeth Montagu (b.1854, d.1934), daughter of William Drogo Montagu, 7th Duke of Manchester, and their only child Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton (b.1884, d.1957) married James Graham, 6th Duke of Montrose.


13th Duke of Hamilton, Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, b.1862, a.1895, d.1940


With no immediate male heirs, the titles fell to a descendant of Lord Anne Hamilton (b.1709, d.1748), the younger brother of the 5th Duke. Highly unusually, he was named after his godmother, Queen Anne. He married Anna Charlotta Maria Powell (b.?, d.1791). Their son, Admiral Charles Powell Hamilton (b.1747, d.1825) married Lucretia Prosser (b.1754, d.1825). Their son Augustus Barrington Price Anne Powell Hamilton (b.1781, d.1849) married Maria Catherine Hyde (b.1783, d.1865). Their son Captain Charles Henry Hamilton (b.1808, d.1873) married Elizabeth Anne Hill (b.?, d.1867), and their son succeeded as 13th Duke. He joined the Royal Navy but was encouraged to switch to the Army by his distant cousin the 12th Duke, and was initially seen as a good match for the Duke’s daughter, before being partially paralysed by a tropical disease. When he succeeded his cousin, he was forced to sell off some of the Hamilton estates, including Brodick Castle in Arran, to service the family debt, while a large share of the Hamilton properties passed to the previous duke’s daughter. He was Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the 4th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, and Honorary Colonel of the 6th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). Hamilton Palace was used as a Navy hospital during the First World War and had to be demolished afterwards, whereon the principal seat moved to Dungavel House near Strathaven.


14th Duke of Hamilton, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, b.1903, a.1940, d.1973


Son of the 13th Duke and Nina Mary Benita Poore (b.1878, d.1951). Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford, he represented East Renfrewshire as a Conservative MP from 1930 to 1940, but joined a Trade Union and worked down a mine to experience the life of a working man. He was also interested in flying and joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, being Squadron Leader of the City of Glasgow Squadron from 1927 to 1936. He was keen to push the limits of flying and was the first man to fly over Mount Everest in 1933. This feat led to the use of pressurised cabins on aircraft and the formation of the company Scottish Aviations Limited, which would eventually become part of BAE Systems. He was decorated with the Air Force Cross in 1935. He was also a keen sportsman, having held the Scottish Amateur Middleweight title. In this regard, he attended the Berlin Olympics, where he was introduced to Hitler, Ribbentropp and Goring, and it is rumoured that he indulged in some modest espionage while he was there. In 1941, deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess crash-landed in Scotland near Dunvagel House, captured by a local farmer, and asked to be handed over to the duke, they having a mutual acquaintance in the form of Albrecht Haushofer, son of the distinguished academic. The reason behind this was ostensibly to negotiate a treaty that would give Germany pre-eminence in Europe but leaving the British Empire untouched. After visiting him in hospital, however, Hamilton immediately contacted Winston Churchill and Hess was imprisoned for the rest of the war. Hamilton was made a Privy Counsellor and Lord Steward of the Household in 1940, and was created Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1946 and a Knight of the Thistle in 1951. He also served as Chancellor of the University of St Andrews from 1948 to 1973. He was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on several occasions during the 1950s, and in later life he served on the boards of several large companies including Norwich Union Life, Nationwide Building Society and Securicor Ltd.


15th Duke of Hamilton, Angus Alan Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, b.1938, a.1973, d.2010


Son of the 14th Duke and Lady Elizabeth Ivy Percy (b.1916, d.2008), daughter of Alan Ian Percy, 8th Duke of Northumberland. Educated at Eton and Balliol College Oxford, he inherited his father’s interest in flying, and reached the rank of Flight-Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force before being invalided in 1967, although he continued as a commercial pilot afterwards. He was a member of the Queen’s Bodyguard in Scotland and in 1975 he was invested as a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (K.St.J.). He was also made a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. As Hereditary Bearer of the Crown of Scotland, he carried the Crown for Her Majesty at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.


16th Duke of Hamilton, Alexander Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, b.1978, a.2010


Son of the 15th Duke and his first wife Sarah Jane Scott (b.1945, d.1994), daughter of Major Sir Walter Scott, 4th Baronet Scott of Beauclerc. His full list of titles is as follows: 16th Duke of Hamilton, 13th Duke of Brandon, 13th Marquess of Douglas, 16th Marquess of Clydesdale, 13th Earl of Angus, 16th Earl of Arran, 15th Earl of Lanark, 16th Earl of Cambridge, 13th Lord Abernethy and Jedburgh Forest, 15th Lord Machansyre and Polmont, 16th Lord Aven and Innerdale (1643) and 13th Baron Dutton. As Lord Abernethy he is Hereditary Bearer of the Crown of Scotland to the Parliament of Scotland and he is also Hereditary Keeper of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.



The courtesy title for the heir is Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale.


(Last updated: 24/11/2010)


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