Abstract

abstract:

Although historians have generally framed Prince William Henry’s time in occupied New York City—September 26, 1781, to November 4, 1782—as an interesting side note to the American Revolution or a brief blip in the future king’s adolescence, the royal’s tenure in the New World has more to reveal. As the first member of the British royal family to visit colonial America, the sixteen-year-old prince rested at the confluence of a muddled-but-important dyad: for Loyalists, the prince defined how dreams of monarchical aid clashed with the reality of declining royal influence in colonial America, while Patriots also used him to assert their fantasies of republican liberty while lambasting the shortcomings of British Hanoverian monarchy. Ultimately, Prince William’s presence in colonial America confused as much as clarified, forcing all parties involved to confront the messiness of revolution as monarchical rule in the thirteen colonies was steadily replaced by equally muddled notions of American republicanism.

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