Margaret Nicholson

Born: Margaret Nicholson was born in Stockton-on-Tees in about 1750. Her father was George Nicholson, a Stockton barber.

Educated: Margaret may have an elementary education, but at the age of 12 she went into domestic service.

Married: Margaret Nicholson never married.

Family: She had no children.

Home: Margaret Nicholson became a housemaid to several wealthy families in London and lived with her employers. For three years she lived in Wigmore Street in London, where she made a living by taking in needlework jobs. From 1786 to 1828 she was confined to Bethlem. At that time Bethlem Royal Hospital stood in Moorfields, near Finsbury in London. Before Margaret Nicholson’s death a new Bethlem Hospital was built in St. George’s Fields, Southwark.

Known for: Margaret Nicholson is known for one action in her life that brought her notoriety far beyond her birthplace. In July 1786 she sent a petition to the Privy Council apparently claiming that she was the rightful queen of England. On 2nd August of that year she joined a crowd at the entrance to St. James’s Palace who were waiting to see King George III’s arrival from Windsor. She approached King George and made two attempts to stab him with a dessert knife before she was disarmed. The king was not injured. Margaret Nicholson was brought before the Privy Council. She was declared insane and was committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital for life. She was confined there for 42 years until her death.

Died: Margaret Nicholson died on 14th May 1828 in Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Further Information: “George the Third, His Court and Family” vol. 2, R.Webster (1820)