Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton
|By Joshua Reynolds, 1782
National Galleries of Scotland
- Birth: 3 OCT 1767
- Death: 18 AUG 1852
Father: Archibald (9th
Duke of Hamilton) Douglas-Hamilton b: 15 JUL 1740
Mother: Harriett (of Galloway) Stewart
Marriage 1 Susan Euphemia Beckford b: 14 MAY 1786 in Chateau La
Tour, Vevay, Switzerland
William (11th Duke of Hamilton)
Douglas-Hamilton b: 19 FEB 1811
- Lady Susan Harriet Catherine Douglas-Hamilton, *9.6.1814, +28.11.1889;
1m: Hamilton Palace 27.11.1832 (div 1850) Henry Pelham Pelham-Clinton,
Earl of Lincoln (later, 5th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne) (*London
22.5.1811 +18.10.1864); 2m: 2.1.1860 M.Opdebeck
Douglas Alexander Hamilton believed himself to be the
true heir to the Scottish throne. The great British public of the time believed
him to be the most arrogant man in existence.
In recognition of his own importance, the Duke
commissioned an imposing mausoleum for his final resting-place. It was his
intention to build "the eighth wonder of world" as a fitting tribute
to his own status.
The final flourish was his coffin. This was the
sarcophagus of an Egyptian princess, which had been purchased by the Duke for £11,000,
an absolute bloody fortune at the time.
Unfortunately, this is where ego and sanity part
When the old boy kicked the bucket, it became apparent
that there was a considerable difference in height between the good Duke and the
unfortunate princess who was to give up her coffin for him.
The only way that they could stuff the old bugger into
the available space was to cut his legs off at the knees. And so they did!
The final irony however occurred later.
In 1927, during a re-examination of the coffin of the
"Egyptian Princess, it was discovered that it had in fact been constructed
for use by an Egyptian court jester.
From: Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15
Alexander Hamilton Douglas, tenth Duke of Hamilton (1767–1852), also
Marquis of Hamilton, county Lanark, Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale,
Earl of Angus, Arran, Lanark, and Selkirk, Baron Hamilton, Avon, Polmont,
Mackanshire, Innerdale, Abernethy, and Jedburgh Forest, and premier peer
in the peerage of Scotland; Duke of Brandon in Suffolk, and Baron
Dutton, Co. Chester, in that of Great Britain; Duke of Ch‚telherault in
France,and hereditary keeper of Holyrood House, was born on 5 Oct. 1767
in St. James's Square, London, being the elder son of Archibald, the
ninth duke, by Lady Harriet Stewart, fifth daughter of Alexander, sixth
earl of Galloway.
His earlier years were spent in Italy, where
he acquired a taste for the fine arts, and he bore the courtesy title of
Marquis of Douglas. In 1801 he returned home, and in the following year
was appointed colonel of the Lanarkshire militia and lord-lieutenant of
the county. In 1802 he was returned to parliament for the borough of
Lancaster as an adherent of the whig party, and made his maiden speech
on 22 March 1804 against an alteration in the Militia Bill proposed by
On the accession of the whigs to power in 1806, he was
sent as ambassador to the court of St. Petersburg (28 May), and was
sworn of the privy council (19 June). In the same year he was summoned
to the house of peers by writ, in his father's barony of Dutton.
Recalled on the change of ministry in 1807, he remained in the interior
of Russia and Poland until October 1808.
He succeeded to the
dignity of duke on the death of his father, 16 Feb. 1819, and was
appointed a knight of the Garter in 1836. He took no prominent part in
the debates of the House of Lords.
Hamilton was lord high
steward at the coronations of William IV and Queen Victoria. He married,
on 26 April 1810, his cousin-german, Susan Euphemia Beckford, second
daughter of William Beckford [q. v.], the author of ‘Vathek,’ ‘one of
the handsomest women of her time’ (Lord Malmesbury's Memoirs of an
ex-Minister, ed. 1855, p. 487), by whom he had issue William Alexander
Anthony Archibald [q. v.], and Lady Susan Harriett Catherine, married in
1832 to Lord Lincoln, afterwards Duke of Newcastle, from whom she was
divorced in 1850. Hamilton died at his house in Portman Square on 18
Aug. 1852. He was a trustee of the British Museum, vice-president of the
Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland,
F.R.S., and F.S.A.
The chief characteristic of the duke—at least
in his later days—was his intense family pride. He firmly believed that
as the descendant of the regent Arran he was the true heir to the throne
of Scotland. For the same reason he was buried with oriental pomp, after
the body had been embalmed, in an Egyptian sarcophagus, which was
deposited in a colossal mausoleum erected near Hamilton Palace.
On the other hand, acts of generosity are recorded in his favour; he
showed great intelligence in the improvement of his estates, and the
instincts of a man of refinement in the large collection of pictures and
objects of vertu with which he adorned Hamilton Palace. This collection,
which included the famous ‘Laughing Boy’ of Leonardo da Vinci and other
gems of art, together with a valuable collection of old books and
manuscripts, part of which was made by Beckford, was sold by public
auction by Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge in July 1882. The sale
occupied seventeen days, and the unprecedented amount of £397, 562. was
realised (Times, July 1882).
Duke Hamilton Is Dead!: A Story of Aristocratic Life and Death in Stuart Britain
by Victor Stater
||Using the famous Mohun-Hamilton duel as a focal point, Victor
Stater re-creates the desperate aristocratic world of
late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Britain. Mohun
and Hamilton stood at opposite ends of a bitterly divided
political spectrum, but politics was not the only cause of their
quarrel. A decade-long battle over a disputed inheritance was a
crucial element, and Stater shows how, amid the luxury and
ostentation of the aristocratic lifestyle, something very like
moral anarchy reigned. The result is a stunning narrative of
life and death in a tumultuous time, an era in which incivility
and moral turpitude ruled beneath a thin veneer of aristocratic
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