Charles Hamilton was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, later 4th Duke of Hamilton, and Lady Barbara Fitzroy and was born at Cleveland House on 30 March 1691. His mother was the acknowledged daughter of Charles II and his mistress Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, though her father was much more likely to be John Churchill, later 1st Duke of Marlborough.
In 1737 he married Antoinette Courtney of Archambaud; their only son, Charles (1738–1800), was born in Edinburgh on 16 July 1738.
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