Royal presence felt across the county
Historian DONALD STANLEY looks at Buckinghamshire’s royal visitors
OVER the centuries the royalty of many nation have come to Buckinghamshire, their visits reflecting the circumstances of the time and changing customs.
One of the first was King Charles I, who was hidden safely in The Ship at Forty Green.
Following the Restoration, the inn was honoured by being allowed to change its name making it not only the oldest pub in England but the only one to use the full title ‘The Royal Standard of England’.
Twenty three years of the reign of King of France Louis XVlll of the House of Bourbon were spent in exile during the times of the French Revolution, the First French Empire and Napoleon’s return from Elba.
From 1809 until 1814 he lived with more than 100 courtiers at Hartwell House near Aylesbury. In his honour, Waterhouse Street, Aylesbury, was renamed Bourbon Street and in recent times marked with a commemorative blue plaque.
During the Second World War, King Zog of Albania, described as the strangest monarch of the 20th century, made his home at Parmoor House, in Frieth, near High Wycombe, following the invasion of his country by Italy. The son of an Albanian chief, Zog had seized power with an army of mercenaries during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, made himself president and subsequently king. He was Europe’s only Muslim sovereign.
Lucia, daughter of the fourth Lord Burnham, gleefully told how after her wartime inspection of the Buckinghamshire Red Cross, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) had afternoon tea at Hall Barn, following which she produced her compact to powder her nose and touch up her lipstick – all of which Lady Burnham had forbidden her daughter to do in public.
When, in 1983, Princess Diana opened Hale Leys Shopping Centre, in Aylesbury, the streets were lined with crowds, among which she walked to the consternation of her security guards. This was very different from the greeting by the local community of two of its leaders in the 1890s.
When the newly married Rector returned to Beaconsfield with his bride, flowers were strewn in their path and the horses unhitched from their carriage, which was dragged to the Rectory.
Similarly, the sons of the tenant farmers of Wilton Park pulled the carriage of William Baring Du Pre up the drive to the house to a salute ‘fired from some small ordnance’ when he inherited the estate upon attaining his majority.
Royal visitors: King Zog of Albania at Parmoor House; (right) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother during a visit to Bucks
Royal venues: Queen Elizabeth had afternoon tea at Hall Barn (left); (above) Hartwell House was the home of Louis XVIII