Christopher Hamilton was born c. 1810 in County Dublin, Ireland, the son of Maj-Gen Christopher Hamilton, who commanded the British Forces in County Dublin and his wife Sarah née Handcock, daughter of Richard Handcock, 2nd Baron Castlemaine. His father's family were traditionally Anglo-Irish and were well settled in the County Dublin area; his grandfather was Hans Hamilton.
After being educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he took up commission with the 1st The Royal Dragoons in Bombay but quickly impressed his superiors and was transferred to Ceylon, where he served under Edward Barnes, and eventually became Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces.
He left the army with the rank of colonel in 1840 and began a career in Irish politics, serving as Member of Parliament for Tipperary.
He married in 1830 The Hon. Jane FitzGerald-de Ros, the youngest daughter of Lord Henry FitzGerald and Charlotte FitzGerald-de Ros, 21st Baroness de Ros; she did not accompany him to Ceylon, instead raising a family in England at 48 Belgrave Square and Linney House, Ludlow. They had four children:
- Mary Anne Charlotte Hamilton (1831–1890), married Walter Domville-Taylor JP and had issue including Sarah Winter
- Fitzgerald de Ros Henry Hamilton (1831–1831)
- The Venerable Henry Hamilton (1835–1910), Archdeacon of York, unmarried
- Lt. Col. Christopher Hamilton (1835–1906), Lt. Col. with the Scots Guards, married Countess Anna de Benso-Cavour, niece of Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour.
- Burke, John, A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, Vol. II, 5th ed., Published by H. Colburn and R. Bentley, London, 1832
- Lt. Col. Christopher Hamilton, An account of the history of the Hamilton Family and of my father Christopher Hamilton, 1st ed., Published privately, 1861