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Hamilton and Royal Archives join forces to teach history lesson

The actor who plays George III in the hit music Hamilton has been invited into the Windsor Castle library to study documents on the King as academics aim to inspire others to educate themselves about the historical figure.

The Queen recently launched a project to open the Royal Archives from the reign of George III. They are releasing letters, diaries, and speeches digitally to give the public a broader understanding of the King.

Scholars working on the papers of George III have had to work through 350,000 papers. They’ve selected 20 of those which are now grouped according to the musical; by theme and song lyrics.

The online exhibition has included letters, a draft abdication speech, and advice given to him by his father on how to act as a good King.

The documents left a real impact Michael Jibson, who plays George III in the musical, as he said he would be thinking about them as he portrayed the King on stage later that day. He added that it was a “highlight of my career”, and hoped the cult fans of the show would take an interest in the real history behind the theatre production.

The Queen’s Librarian, Oliver Urquhart Irvine, spoke about the availability of the project as he said: “Whether it’s for the most serious cutting-edge research or members of the public who enjoy going to a musical, archives are about stories and about people.”

He added: “I think this has been a fantastic opportunity to show the depths and richness of the archive.”

Speaking about the King’s reputation, he also said that there is more to George III than him “simply being mad or a farmer.”

He said that they weren’t hoping to change the reputation of the King, but that there is “so much more to know about him.”

The digital archive was a project by King’s College London and the Royal Archives. More information on the project is available on https://georgianpapersprogramme.com

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