Royal progresses have often been considered from the viewpoint of the travelling court and the short-term impact that the monarchy had on regional areas. This paper, however, aims to reverse this traditional approach by embracing a bottom-up perspective to consider how the inhabitants within areas visited by royalty were complicit in shaping the narrative and enduring local legacy of the royal visit. Using case studies of the royal tours of George III and his family, the paper explores the intertwined transformation of both royal visits and the formation of local identities in Britain across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Examples of the monarch’s patronage of manufacturing companies when on tour, the gift-giving of locally produced royal souvenirs, and the desire by the town’s authorities to officially commemorate the occasion in a public fashion demonstrated that provincial regions had agency to construct a distinctive identity for themselves in conjunction to the royal visit. Through analysing written, visual, and material sources produced in response to the visit, the paper argues that royal visits were a unique opportunity to showcase local products to a national audience, and thereby the itinerant monarchy became a vehicle through which to successfully promote local, cultural, and economic identities.
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