Royal pres­ence felt across the county

His­to­rian DON­ALD STAN­LEY looks at Buck­ing­hamshire’s royal vis­i­tors

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NOSTALGIA -

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

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