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Extract from financial ledger of George IV's debts

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Georgian Accounts

Extract from financial ledger of George IV's debts

Page from George IV's record of debts, 1793 (GEO/ADD/17/64/1) Royal Archives/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The collection of Georgian accounts, also known as GEO/ADD/17, is a group of bills, receipts, ledgers and other financial records acquired by the Royal Archives over a number of years. Consisting of multiple accessions, the collection relates to many different members of the Georgian royal family, as well as work carried out at royal residences, over the long eighteenth century. It is important to note that GEO/ADD/17 does not represent all the financial records held within the Georgian Papers; many more account books and financial papers relating to George III, George IV and other members of the royal family can be found within the main collection of records deposited in the Royal Archives from Apsley House in the early twentieth century. These records will also be digitised, catalogued and published online in due course, as part of the Georgian Papers Programme.

Account book of Princess Charlotte of Wales

Account book of Princess Charlotte of Wales, 1808-1812 (GEO/ADD/17/82) Royal Archives/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

By its very nature therefore, GEO/ADD/17 is a diverse and slightly incoherent collection, which has been arranged thematically during the cataloguing process to aid use of the papers. Some highlights from the collection include the three-volume series of ledgers documenting the debts of George, Prince of Wales, and an account book for his daughter Princess Charlotte of Wales, detailing her purchases, donations to the poor and amounts won in card games.  Generations of the Georgian royal family are represented in GEO/ADD/17, from George II as Prince of Wales through to the children of George III, while the financial records of Georgian royal women such as Queen Caroline of Ansbach,  Augusta, Princess of Wales, Queen Charlotte and Princess Augusta Sophia also feature.

A significant amount of this collection is formed by bills for work carried out at royal residences and goods supplied to the royal household (including items of clothing, furniture and goods for the Mews), all of which give a fascinating insight into day-to-day life in the royal palaces. A particular highlight are the bills issued by the painter, Matthew Cotes Wyatt, who was commissioned by George III to carry out works in the State Rooms at Windsor Castle.