The Mary Hamilton Papers : Account of a ball by Mary Hamilton

Hamilton, Mary

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>An account of a Ball held at Queen's House on 16th February 1781 written in Hamilton's hand. The account notes that shortly after eight o'clock the Princess Royal, Princess Augusta, Princess Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales and a number of his attendants, Lady Charlotte Finch, and Hamilton amongst others, 'assembled in the queen's first apartment'. The party then followed 'their majesties' to a room where all the company waited where there was a 'kind of drawing room ceremony' that lasted some time after which the doors were opened and the younger members of the Royal family made their entrance. Prince Frederick [Prince Frederick, Duke of York, the second son of George III and Queen Charlotte, (1763-1827)] was absent from the Ball as he was in Hanover and Prince William as he was at sea.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The ball began with country dances and partners were changed after each two dances. Hamilton lists the dancing partners of the princesses. She notes that the Prince of Wales danced with or asked most of the ladies to dance. The queen's apartments were opened and the 'Company at Liberty to walk about & make card parties'. Hamilton notes that the younger princesses and princes were 'away at the proper hours'. The Princess Royal, Princess Augusta and four ladies of the Bedchamber went down a private stair case to their supper room whilst the Prince and all the rest of the company went down the great stairs where a table was available for the chaperone's in one apartment, in another was a table for the dancers 'of which the Prince was at the head'. Lady Weymouth was 'Chaperon at the lower end'. After supper the ball was concluded with Minuets. The queen sat in the ballroom the whole evening and 'had the ladies that were not dancers at different times sat next to her'. The King played at Whist and about half past five the ball ended. Hamilton notes that the ladies all dressed in sacks and wore long lappets.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Hamilton includes a list of all the dancers of which she was one and then lists those that did not dance.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Original reference No. 27.</p>

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