In the footsteps of the royals

Queen at De La Warr SUS-150915-141446001
Queen at De La Warr SUS-150915-141446001

Bexhill Museum held the final walk of its 2015 ‘Stepping Out’ programme last Sunday when the topic was royal visits to Bexhill.

“The Queen and Prince Phillip’s 1966 visit to the De La Warr Pavilion was covered along with the Pavilion’s 1935 opening and the truly unannounced visit to the construction site by King George V and Queen Mary earlier in that year.

“Princess Elizabeth, a year before becoming Queen had broken her journey through East Sussex to stop and visit her ex Girl Guide leader who was living in Old Town.

“There were unexpected visits. In 2009 His Royal Highness the Infante Dom Miguel de Braganza visited to tread the ancestral footsteps of his Great Grandfather, King Miguel I of Portugal who was in Old Town in 1850.

Visiting foreign royalty also included Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia who visited twice in 1897 as the guest of Earl De La Warr.

A humble house in Cantelupe Road was the scene of a royal visit in 1934 by His Royal Majesty Nana Sir Ofori Atta, the King of Akyem Abuakwa, one of the largest and wealthiest kingdoms of the Gold Coast Colony.

“There was much to review at Old town, where Princess Victoria before becoming Queen had visited and rode with the local hunt, as did the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII in 1864.

“Another Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, visited the Manor Barn in 1988 to attend the reunion dinner of his friend Spike Milligan’s World War Two artillery unit.

“The De La Warr’s entertained lavishly at the Manor House; twice accommodating the Duchess of Teck, a daughter of Queen Victoria. On one of her Bexhill visits she opened the Kursaal entertainment hall in 1896.

“Another Old Town royal connection was the two visits made by Princess Alexandra. The 1972 visit to unveil the wrought iron King Offa charter panel in the Manor House grounds. Her 1974 visit was to open a new wing of the Peterhouse home.

“She first came as a child in 1946 with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her brothers, for a private family holiday.

“Several walkers enlivened proceedings with their own valuable memories.”

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