William Douglas-Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton


William Alexander, 11th duke of Hamilton (1811-1863), married Princess Marie Amelie, daughter of Charles, grand-duke of Baden, and, on her mother's side, a cousin of Napoleon III.


Educated at Eton College, Windsor, Berkshire, England., he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, on 2 July 1829.1 He graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, on 15 November 1832 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

He held the office of Grand Master of the Freemasons [Scotland] between 1833 and 1835 and was Knight Marischal of Scotland between 1846 and 1863. He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire between 1852 and 1863.

He was styled as Marquess of Douglas between 1819 and 1852. He succeeded to the titles of 11th Marquess of Clydesdale [S., 1643], 11th Duke of Hamilton [S., 1643], 10th Lord Machansyre and Polmont [S., 1639], 8th Duke of Brandon [G.B., 1711], 10th Earl of Lanark [S., 1639, 11th Earl of Arran and Cambridge [S., 1643], 11th Lord Aven and Innerdale [S., 1643], 8th Earl of Angus [S., 1633], 8th Marquess of Douglas [S., 1633], 8th Lord Abernethy and Jedburgh Forest [S., 1633], and 8th Baron of Dutton [G.B., 1711] on 18 August 1852.

He held the office of President of the Highland and Agricultural Society [Scotland] between 1853 and 1858.

Cockayne and Gibbs state "he lived chiefly in Paris or Baden, taking little interest in English politics. According to the The Days of the Dandies, he, 'having inherited in some measure his father's grandeeship of manner,' was the Duke of whom Lord Brougham wrote as 'Very Duke of Very Duke'. He was a book collector and a member of the Roxburghe Club. His Lancashire estates, which he sold in 1853, realised £329,800."

The title of duke of Châtellerault, granted to his remote ancestor in 1548, and claimed at different times by various branches of the Hamilton family, was conferred on the 11th duke's son, William Alexander, 12th duke of Hamilton (1845-1895), by the emperor of the French in 1864. His sister, Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton, married in 1869 Albert, prince of Monaco, but their marriage was declared invalid in 1880. She subsequently married Count Tassilo Festetics, a Hungarian noble.

The 12th duke left no male issue and was succeeded in 1895 by his kinsman, Alfred Douglas, a descendant of the 4th duke. Claud Hamilton, 1st Baron Paisley, brother of the 1st Marquess of Hamilton, was, as mentioned above, ancestor of the Abercorn branch of the Hamiltons. His son, who became earl of Abercorn in 1606, received among a number of other titles that of Lord Hamilton. This title, and also that of Viscount Hamilton, in the peerage of Great Britain, conferred on the 8th earl of Abercorn in 1786, are borne by the dukes of Abercorn, whose eldest son is usually styled by courtesy marquess of Hamilton, a title which was added to the other family honours when the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn was raised to the dukedom in 1868.


William, 11th Duke of Hamilton, succeeded to the title in 1852 but spent very little time in Scotland after this and took almost no interest in his British affairs. The 10th duke was an ardent admirer of the Emperor Napoleon and persuaded his son to marry Princess Marie of Baden, the daughter of the adopted daughter of Napoleon. The couple married in 1843, spending much of their time after that at residences in Paris and Baden.

Like his father before him, William was a lavish spender. But unlike Alexander, the 11th duke lavished the family fortune not on Hamilton Palace but on a London townhouse. He bought 22 Arlington Street in St James’, London from Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort for £60,000. That’s the equivalent of almost £3 million today. The 11th duke also developed into a major collector of old silver and other antiquities.


The Scotsman - Saturday, 16th September 1843, page 4

He died on 15 July 1863 at age 52 at Masion Dorée, Boulevard des Italiens, Paris, France, from a fall after supper.
marquis + susan   William and Mary Victoria
The marquis with his sister, Susan   William, 11th Duke, and Mary Victoria (before 1863


This page was last updated on 30 September 2021

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