King's College London and the Royal Archives established the Georgian Papers Programme (GPP) to enrich public historical understanding of Britain, George III, British monarchy and a crucial period in British and world history.
The GPP is a partnership between the Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London, and is joined by primary United States partners the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the College of William & Mary.
We spoke to three academics from Kings College London to find out why the Georgian Papers Programme is so important and what they think the most interesting part of the project has been so far…
Why is the Georgian Papers Programme important?
The Georgian Papers Programme is a remarkable academically exciting enterprise, taking advantage of the new digital methods we have to make available a quite remarkably comprehensive picture of the politics and life of the Court of George III and the late 18th Century,
This enables us to look at quite familiar documents as well as new ones in an entirely new light and make connections between them in new ways which illuminate them in ways we have not previously been able to do.
The Georgian Papers is a wonderful opportunity to put out for researchers around the world an astonishing collection of the personal correspondence, the political correspondence, and the humdrum household affairs of a monarchy that ruled Britain from 1714-1837, a succession of Kings that transformed themselves from petty German princes to essentially English monarchs.
I think the Georgian Papers Programme is important because it allows insight into the Royal Household as an institution in an age of extraordinary transformation…cultural, political, scientific…but also transformation of the notion of the public and the private.
What has been the most interesting part of the project?
The Georgian Papers give us an incredibly immediate sense of what was going on as far as these actors were concerned at one of the most exciting and important times in the development of both the monarchy and the wider constitution
Professor Anthony Burns
The most exciting part, I think, for the many people involved in these papers is the fact they cover the history of the British monarchy at one of the most exciting and important times in the development of both the monarchy and the wider constitution: the times of the loss of America, the evolution of Cabinet government as we know it and of a changing relationship between King and Ministers, and we see those things documented in the Georgian Papers without hindsight.
For me, the great opportunity is to study the evolution of the monarchy as an indicator of English/British culture, watching how some incoming Germans are swiftly transformed.
Professor Andrew Lambert
George III is defiantly British, he is often known as ‘Farmer George’, he is committed to things that make him British…his identification with the Navy and his celebration of naval success…something that no German prince of his grandfather’s generation would have noticed. For George III, this is really important. He has taken on-board the whole message and he will hand that Britishness onto the next generation of Hanoverian monarchs.
I was very interested to explore Queen's Charlotte's papers
Dr Elizabeth Eger
The Royal Queen became an important patron of the Arts and female achievements in the public realm, and we found a fascinating letter in which she describes herself as an ‘affectionate Queen’ which is an intimate gesture from a Royal Queen to one of her subjects.