Letters from King George III to his son Prince William have been unearthed

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The correspondence to the young prince reflects the full gamut of parental emotions - including as certain amount anticipation and pride in his son but also considerable disappointment and anger at his profligacy, poor manners and ill-chosen company.

On joining the Prince George as a 13 year old midshipman in 1779, William is advised: "You are now launching into a scene of life where you either prove an Honour, or a Disgrace to your Family; it would be very unwelcoming of the love I have for my children, if I did not at this serious moment give you advice [on] how to conduct yourself...

"Though when at home a Prince, on board of the Prince George you are only a Boy learning the Naval profession; but the Prince so far accompanies you that what other Boys do, you must not:

It must never be out of your thoughts that more Obedience is necessary from You to Your superiors in the Navy, more politeness to your Equals, and more good nature to your Inferiors than from those who have not been told that these are essential for a Gentleman."

King George, an affectionate father to his 15 children, arranged for the Prince's early introduction to navy life largely to remove him from the influence of his extravagant elder brother, the future King George IV.

Fatherly advice in the 22 letters which have surfaced at auction after descending through the family of Prince William's personal secretary, Sir John Barton, includes injunctions to strive harder, at first softened by expressions of pleasure at the prince's improved conduct and the hopeful anticipation of seeing his children "turn out an ornament to their Country and a Comfort to their Parents."

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