William Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton
|Duke of Hamilton|
|Predecessor||James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton|
|Successor||Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton|
|Other titles||Earl of Lanark, Earl of Cambridge, Lord Machanshyre, Lord Polmont|
|Born||14 December 1616|
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire
|Died||12 September 1651 (aged 34)|
The Commandery, Worcester
|Spouse(s)||Lady Elizabeth Maxwell|
|Father||James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton|
|Mother||Lady Ann Cunningham|
Hamilton was born at Hamilton Palace in December 1616, the younger son of James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton and Lady Ann Cunningham. Hamilton was educated at the University of Glasgow, and from there travelled to Continental Europe, where he spent time at the court of Louis XIII of France, on his return aged 21 he established himself as a favourite at the court of Charles I in London.
Hamilton was created Earl of Lanark, Lord Machanshyre and Polmont in the Peerage of Scotland in 1639, and in April 1640 was elected Member of Parliament for Portsmouth in the House of Commons of England for the Short Parliament. He became Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1643, he was arrested at Oxford on the orders of King Charles I for "concurrence" with his brother the Duke of Hamilton. He escaped and was temporarily reconciled with the Presbyterian party.
After taking part in the Battle of Kilsyth on the covenanter side, Hamilton was sent by the Scottish Estates of the Realm to treat with Charles I at Newcastle in 1646, when he sought in vain to persuade the king to consent to the establishment of Presbyterianism in England. On 26 September 1647 he signed, on behalf of the Scots, the treaty with Charles known as the "Engagement", at Carisbrooke Castle, and helped to organise the Second English Civil War.
In 1648 Hamilton fled to Holland to the court in exile of the Prince of Wales at The Hague. The following year he succeeded to the Dukedom of Hamilton, the Marquisate of Hamilton, the Earldoms of Arran and Cambridge and Lordhips of Aven and Innerdale following his brother's execution, making him the most senior figure among the Scots Royalist exiles. In 1650, the insignia of the Order of the Garter were conferred upon him. He returned to Scotland with King Charles II in 1650, but, finding a reconciliation with the Marquess of Argyll impossible, he refused to prejudice Charles's cause by pushing his claims.
Hamilton retired to his estates on the Isle of Arran until the Scottish invasion of England during the Third English Civil War, when he acted as colonel of a regiment drawn mainly from his tenantry.
- James Hamilton, Lord Polmont (died in infancy, buried at Westminster Abbey)
- Lady Anne Hamilton, married Robert Carnegie, 3rd Earl of Southesk
- Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, married 1st Lord Kilmaurs, 2nd Sir David Cunningham of Robertland
- Lady Mary Hamilton, married 1st Alexander Livingston, 2nd Earl of Callendar, 2nd Sir James Livingstone of Westquarter, 3rd James Ogilvy, 3rd Earl of Findlater
- Lady Margaret Hamilton, married William Blair of that ilk.
- Lady Diana Hamilton, (died in infancy)
A highly fictionalised Hamilton is depicted in Nigel Tranter's Montrose trilogy.
- Anderson, John, Historical and genealogical memoirs of the House of Hamilton; with genealogical memoirs of the several branches of the family. Edinburgh 1825 
- Balfour Paul, Sir JamesThe Scots Peerage Vols IX. Edinburgh 1907 
- public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hamilton, Marquesses and Dukes of s.v. William, 2nd duke of Hamilton". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 879–880. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the