A Look at 17 Bruton Street

For this post we thought it would be fun to look at a royally historic address in London and to see how it has changed over the years.

17 Bruton Street in Mayfair was the London residence of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. The Earl and Countess (their Christian names were Claude and Cecilia) were Elizabeth Bowes Lyon’s parents, shown here on the left in this famous wedding portrait.

The Earl & Countess of Strathmore (via flickr)
The Earl & Countess of Strathmore with Elizabeth & Bertie on their 1923 wedding day (via flickr)

This photograph of Bruton street was taken in 1904. The street stretches towards the lovely Berkeley Square Gardens.

dWED50

The Strathmore’s moved into 17 Bruton Street in 1920 from their previous residence at 20 St. James’s Square. Several of the letters documented in the book Counting One’s Blessings The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth were written there or reference going to and from the house.  It seems that some extensive work was done on the house before the family moved in. In April 1921 Elizabeth wrote this letter to her governess Beryl Poignand from the Strathmore’s stately Hertfordshire home St. Paul’s Waldenbury:

12 April 1921 to Beryl Poignand

St. Paul’s Waldenbury

Dear M, 

I haven’t heard from you for years fickle Beast. I am longing to hear, so take up your pen oh Medusa, & forthwith set down on paper all your doings & thoughts […]

Mother & I have been here since Xmas now- isn’t it extraordinary? I am longing for ’17’ [Bruton Street] to be finished, and then you must instantly come and see it…”

It was at that point that Elizabeth struck up a closer friendship with Prince Albert. She left from the house on her way  to Westminster Abbey on her wedding day April 26, 1923:

Elizabeth-Bowes-Lyon-wedding-day-300x240

 

Another look. We wrote about her very of the moment dress here, if you’f like to see.

(via Chic Vintage Bridal)
(via Chic Vintage Bridal)

Three years  the Duke and Duchess of York moved there for a few months for  the birth of their first child. They had previously lived in Chesterfield House and Curzon House in Mayfair. The future Queen Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton on at 2:40am 21 April 1926. Home Secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks was present in the house following tradition. At the time, Princess Elizabeth was third in line to the throne after her dad and uncle, and was named HRH Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York after her mother, paternal grandmother Queen Mary and great-grandmother Queen Alexandra. Both King George V and Queen Mary visited the home to see the new baby and massive crowds gathered at the house to witness it all. Despite that – no photos of the King and Queen’s arrival can be found.  By the way, they switched things up for Princess Margaret, who was born at her maternal grandparents Scottish estate Glamis Castle on August 21 1930.

Princess Elizabeth was christened on May 29, 1926 at the private chapel in Buckingham Palace. At the time, she was still living on Bruton Street, and here she is heading to BP with the Duchess of York. This is also a a rarely seen look at the famous christening gown (lots more about the christening gown can be found here).

Duchess of York leaving 17 Bruton Street (via )
Duchess of York leaving 17 Bruton Street (via The Times)

Here’s an excerpt of one from 1926, which goes to show how much the Duke and Duchess of York appreciated being able to stay and live at the house. It wasn’t until later that the Duke and Duchess of York took a London house at 145 Picadilly, which we’ll just have to write about in a future post.

28 October 1926 to Lady Strathmore

Sandringham 

Norfolk

My Darling Mother

Thank you a thousand times for your two last letters. I am so sorry that poor father has a cold, and I do hope he is better now. I wonder when you will be coming south? […]

We leave here tomorrow, & return to B.[ruton] Street. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it. 

The baby is very well, and now spends the whole day taking her shoes off & sucking her toes! She is going to be very wicked, and she is very quick I think…

Sadly, the house has been demolished and we haven’t yet unearthed when this happened or when the Strathmores decided to sell (do you know?). However, a plaque is on the building that now stands in its place. The plaque was added as part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012.

via London Remembers
via London Remembers

It reads On this site at 17 Bruton Street stood the townhouse of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne where Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, later to become Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926. 

Here’s the building that stands there now.

 

via London Remembers
via London Remembers

In fact, there’s a restaurant there that holds the address 17 Bruton Street. It’s highly rated and called Haakasan.

As a side note, favourite royal Designer Norman Hartnell also has some history on Bruton Street. On 11 May 2005, Hartnell was commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at 26 Bruton Street, London W1, where he lived and worked from 1935 to 1979.

Do you know anymore about 17 Bruton Street? Have you taken a stroll by where it once stood?

 

Christmas Cards from the Queen, the Yorks, and the Wessexes

As our countdown to Christmas continues, so does our look at Royal Christmas cards. Today we have a smattering of cards sent by the British Royal family over the last sixty years, beginning with the Queen. She’s sent out a real variety over the years from super formal photographs to rather relaxed. H here are a few of our favourites.

The Queen

c.1950

This card was sent prior to the Coronation and shows Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on tour. They look so young and chipper, and that is one heck of a fur coat.

c.1950 (via )
c.1950 (via Nate D. Sanders)

1953

Things got more formal in 1953. This card was sent out to mark Christmas 1953 and as you can see it features a family portrait taken in Buckingham Palace after the Coronation. This particular card was sent to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and was personally signed by both the Queen and Philip. It is kept at the FDR Library.

(via FDR)
(via FDR Library)

1955

The card for 1955 was definitely more chill, with a young Charles and Anne standing in as book ends.

(Via Anorak)
(via Anorak)

1964

Skipping along, this photograph of the Queen and Philip with Anne, Charles, Andrew, and baby Edward was taken at Frogmore and really brings home the age difference between the siblings. There’s no way Anne was comfortable perched like that.

Baby Prince Edward (via eBay)
Baby Prince Edward (via eBay and The Royal Collection Trust)

1987

This card of the Queen and Prince Philip with their four oldest grandchildren is all kinds of awesome. Check out our post on Wee Royals in Tartan for more.

(via Daily Mail)

1988

Don’t worry, Princess Beatrice wasn’t left out of that 1987 portrait – she just wasn’t born yet. She got her time in the sun in 1988’s card, where she was pictured with her grandmother and great-grandmother.

2 Elizabeths and Beatrice (via )
2 Elizabeths and Beatrice (via Everything Royal)

1996

I think this picture is fabulous. There they are just lounging on a grassy bluff in the Western Isles on a sunny day.

So relaxed (via Daily Mail)
So relaxed (via Daily Mail)

1998

This portrait of the Queen and Philip with their children, grandchildren, and corgis was taken at Balmoral by photographer Logan Sangster during the summer of 1998. This was the year after Diana passed away and Sophie and Edward weren’t engaged yet which explains her absence(she and Prince Edward married in June of 1999).

What a gang (via Daily Mail)
What a gang (via Daily Mail and The Royal Collection Trust)

The Yorks

Next up is the Yorks. Andrew and Fergie’s cards regularly featured Beatrice and Eugenie.  When Sir Jimmy Saville died in October 2011, it was his wish that thousands of his possessions be auctioned off for charity, and these cards were among them.

These Cards were sent to Jimmy Saville (via Daily Mail)
These Cards were sent to Jimmy Saville (via Daily Mail)

This card was sent out in 2001, years after Sarah and Andrew divorced.

The Yorks in 2001 (via Pinterest)
The Yorks in their white shirts in 2001 (via Pinterest)

In 2009, Andrew sent out his card with this picture of Beatrice and Eugenie and their snowman.

We all need an HRH toque (via Hello)
We all need an HRH toque (via Hello)

The photo was taken in February of that year at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Apparently they found that HRH toque just lying around. Amazing.

The Wessexes

2008

In 2008, Sophie and Edward sent out this card which was maligned for being a bit staid and lacking in personality.

2008 (via Daily Mail)
Sophie and Edward in 2008 (via Daily Mail)

Agreed! Sadly, it’s the only one of theirs I’ve been able to track down so far. Hopefully in years after they picked things up a bit.

So, which of these stands out as favourites for you?

Here are a few more Christmassy posts if you’d like to read more.

A look at Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle Christmas

The Queen on Christmas Day over the years, starting in 1970

Diana at Sandringham for Christmas

5 Fun (and Possibly Surprising!) Royal Facts

How about a little royal trivia to add to your repetoire? Today we’re counting down five surprising royal facts that you just may not have known. Let’s start with number #5…

#5 Coleherne Court

It is well known that Lady Diana Spencer lived in a beautiful apartment block called Coleherne Court before her engagement to Prince Charles was announced.

Via Princess Diana Remembered
Via Princess Diana Remembered

The apartment block is on Old Brompton Road and is a very short walk from the Earl’s Court tube stop. Diana’s apartment was in Block H, and was purchased by her mother. Diana rented the other bedrooms out to friends while she was dating Charles, and had a sign on her door that said “Head Chick”. Our post on the building gives some more details on Diana’s days and can be read here.

Via Flickr
Via Flickr

Since then, another future royal bride lived at Coleherne Court! You see Sophie Rhys-Jones also lived there before she married Prince Edward. What are the odds!? She moved out shortly afterward and she and Edward now live in an enormous estate called Bagshot Park, which is a relatively short drive from Windsor Castle.

Sophie in January 1999 before her engagement to Edward was announced (via The Royal Forums)
Sophie in January 1999 before her engagement to Edward was announced (via The Royal Forums)

#4 Nottingham Cottage, Kensington Palace

Onto another fun fact about royal homes. As you know, William and Kate moved into Nottingham Cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace back in 2011.

It’s probable that William was already pretty familiar with the house by that time, since he likely visited the cottage as a youngster, when his aunt (Princess Diana’s sister) Lady Jane Fellowes lived there with her husband Robert Fellowes. At that time, Robert Fellowes was serving as Private Secretary to the Queen and a perk of the job was living there.

Lady Diana with Patrick Robertson
Lady Diana with Patrick Robertson (via Pinterest)

In The Diana I Knew, which was written by the American lady who hired Lady Diana Spencer to be a nanny for her son Patrick, she recalls that Diana mentioned taking Patrick to “see my sister in Kensington” on a few occasions. Diana failed to mention that these visits actually took place within in the palace grounds.

#3 Royal Godparent Surprise

So by now we all now that Zara is one of Prince George’s godmothers. But did you know that one of Zara’s godparents is none other than Andrew Parker-Bowles, Camilla’s ex-husband?

Camilla and Andrew Parker-Bowles' 1973 Wedding Via Lamberdebbie's blog
Camilla and Andrew Parker-Bowles’ 1973 Wedding Via Lamberdebbie’s blog

Yep, when Zara Philips was christened on 27 July, 1981 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, he was named one of her three godfathers (the Duke of York was another). You see, he and Camilla were both good friends of Princess Anne, and in fact he and Princess Anne even dated for awhile.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-_Tg3MjF4s]

All these years later, it seems that they still have a close relationship. Andrew and Anne were were spotted at Ascot together in 2010 and here he is with Zara and Princess Anne at Cheltenham in 2011. Andrew was also one of the guests at Zara’s wedding that year:

Via Sydney Racing
Princess Ann, Andrew Parker-Bowles, and Zara Via Sydney Racing

#2. Sarah Ferguson & The Duchess of Devonshire

You probably are well aware that Diana Spencer and Sarah Ferguson were distant cousins, but did you know how?If you’ve seen the movie The Duchess with Keira Knightley, this next fun fact may just ring a bell.

Fergie and Diana (via Huffington Post)
Fergie and Diana (via Huffington Post)

Keira Knightley’s character was based on the true story of Lady Georgina Spencer, who went on to marry the Duke of Devonshire on her 17th birthday, the 7th of June 774. The new Duchess of Devonshire was the toast of the town wherever she went and she was quite the trend setter in her day.

Keira Knightley as The Duchess of Devonshire (Via The Daily Mail)
Keira Knightley as The Duchess of Devonshire (Via The Daily Mail)

Years later, she had an affair with Charles Grey which resulted in an illegitimate daughter named Eliza Courtney, who was born in 1792. Eliza never knew the true story of her parentage, but it turns out that she is the great-great-great grandmother of Sarah Ferguson and thus the  great-great-great-great grandmother of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Via The Daily Mail
Via The Daily Mail

#1 Diana Spencer, Prince Andrew, & Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Diana’s nickname growing up was “Duch” since, according to her family,  she was “determined to be a Duchess at least.” A future Duke she may have had her eye on from a young age was Prince Andrew, who was a childhood playmate.

Prince Andrew is seated on the bench
A young Prince Andrew is standing next to the bench (via News Conner)

You see, before her dad became Earl Spencer and moved the family to Althorp,  Diana grew up in Park House, which is on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Diana’s parents rented it from the Queen for several years.

Park House in Norfolk (via  SandringhamEstate.co.uk)
Park House in Norfolk (via SandringhamEstate.co.uk)

Over the Christmas holidays, the Spencer family would be asked over to the main house and Diana and Prince Andrew would play together.

Diana at Park House with her pram
Diana at Park House with her pram

When speaking to Andrew Morton for Diana Her True Story, Diana remembered, “We were all shunted over to Sandringham for holidays. Used to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the film. We hated it so much. We hated going over there. The atmosphere was always very strange when we went there and I used to kick and fight anyone who tried to make us go over there and Daddy was most insistent because it was rude. I said I didn’t want to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the third year running.”

That just rings so true!

In the end, Diana helped set up Fergie with Prince Andrew by inviting her to a lunch at Windsor Castle in 1985. And the rest is history.

Do you have any other fun royal facts to share with us?

The Queen Always Has a Hoot at the Braemar Games

One of the things that I took away from the Queen’s James Bond skit for the Opening Ceremony was that Her Majesty really is one heck of an actress.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AS-dCdYZbo]

Yes, she only had one line, but she really delivered it well and without a hint of self consciousness. Then I realized that she’s had to spend her whole life looking fascinated and interested in everything from dance recitals to jam factories, so no wonder she is a pro! Except maybe she wasn’t so good at it during the rest of the Opening Ceremony:

That’s why it’s all the more delightful to see her looking genuinely happy and relaxed, and it seems like the Braemar Games really does that for the Queen every year. And we know we aren’t the only ones who like seeing this; google searches for “the Queen laughing” bring people to our site all the time.

The Braemar Games, of which the Queen is Patron, are held on the first Saturday of September in Aberdeenshire, not far from the Balmoral estate where the royals spend their summer holiday. So, she’s already relaxed from that, plus she gets to cheer on events like tug of war, sack racing, caber tossing, and a whole lot of bagpiping. Plus, the royal men get kilted up. what’s not to love about all of that?

This is tossing the caber, by the way. First, you carry a huge log like it ain’t no thang:

And then you toss it in the air as far as you can:

Yes, it does look hilarious. So when picture came out of the Queen, Phillip, and Charles laughing and generally enjoying themselves at the Games came out yesterday, I thought there must be a mistake because I’ve seen these before. You’ll see why.

First of all, here’s the Queen having a grand time with Charles on September 1st:

It’s nice to see Prince Phillip up and about again, as well and joining in on the cheering:

Look at that!

Hilarity!!

Camilla was having a hoot, too

Now let’s look at past years. In 2011, the Queen was also in high spirits:

We’ve seen the Queen give out lots of trophies, but there’s something about the unbridled joy that went along with this one, eh?

In 2010, Charles and Anne were there as well:

This event has got to be a favourite of Charles’ as well:

HM even did the hand-on-arm laugh:

More fun was had in 2009:

And in 2008 the tartan blanket came out but the Prince looked pretty chilly:

It’s nice seeing different family members joining in. The Queen chilled out with the Duchess of York in 1990 before all hell broke lose:

The Queen mum was there with Prince Charles in 1988:

Princess Diana at Charles joined the Queen and Queen Mum in September 1982. Diana always wore tartan to the Braemar Games.

Check out Charles’ face. And then the Queen’s. They are LOVING it:

Another nice moment. They really are relaxed up in Aberdeenshire:

There’s so much to love about this photo of the royal attendees in the 1960’s:

To end, this is  the oldest picture we have of the Royals at the Braemar Games. The Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and the Queen Mum all attended in 1958:

Delightful. If you haven’t quite had enough already,  you might enjoy our posts on Balmoral style.

Part One is here

And Part Two is here.

Hurray for all things tartan!

And before we go, have you seen these waving solar powered Queens from Kikkerland? I think they are a hoot!

The Royals At Wimbledon Part Two

Our last post featured many Royal Wimbledon fans such as Princess Grace, Princess Diana, and two Duchesses of Kent. Let’s dive in today with some truly vintage Wimbledon pictures.

King George V and Queen Mary

Behold the King and Queen in 1926, presenting a cup to the winner. That’s quite a curtsey!

The Duke of York, later King George:

1926 was quite a banner year for royals at Wimbledon According to History.com, the Duke of York was a bona fide Wimbledon tennis player that year. Seriously! There he is in his tennis whites:

Here’s how it all went down, according to the website:

While most British rulers catch the action from the comfort of Centre Court’s royal box, the Duke of York, the future King George VI, took to Wimbledon’s lawns as a competitor in the 1926 men’s doubles tournament. After capturing the Royal Air Force’s tennis championship, Sir Louis Greig, the duke’s mentor and advisor, garnered an automatic berth in Wimbledon and selected the future monarch to be his doubles partner. Their first-round opponents, Britons Arthur Gore and Herbert Roper Barrett, displayed little royal deference in smashing Greig and the duke in three easy sets, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. No doubt King Henry VIII and some other royals would have locked Gore and Barrett up in the Tower of London for such insolence, but King George VI, who remains the only royal to ever compete at Wimbledon, was gracious in defeat.

Interesting, eh?

The Queen Mum

Moving along, how great is this photograph of the then Queen Elizabeth, parasol in hand, with American Wimbledon champ Helen Woods Moody? This was taken at Wimbledon in 1938:

Her Majesty the Queen

So King George didn’t pass on a love of tennis to the current Queen. It’s no secret that she prefers horses over tennis, and her infrequent visits to Wimbledon highlight that.

Here she is on June 24, 2010, which was her first visit since 1977. That’s a gap of 33 years, kids.

She wore a hat in the Royal Box, which is a no-no for spectators so that other’s views aren’t obstructed. But she’s the Queen; she can do as she likes.

Here she is in 1977, which the Queen attended to mark the 100th year since the founding of the Wimbledon Championships.

The Duchess of Kent had a break from presenting the trophy that year and British player Virginia Wade won the Ladies Singles Final:

Princess Margaret

This is Princess Margaret watching the Men’s final in 1968. Make of this what you will:

Princess Anne

Princess Anne was there the following year in 1969, and presented the winner’s trophy to Billie Jean King. She didn’t pay much attention to the no hat rule, either:

Prince Charles

Prince Charles is also not a frequent visitor to Wimbledon. He attended on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 for the first time since 1970, so his gap is even longer than the Queen’s. He attended with the Duchess of Cornwall and apparently had a jolly good time:

According to The Star, Roger Fededer spoke about the Royal visitors. He said,

“They do brief you beforehand,” Federer said. “I guess you don’t do anything stupid. You behave. Obviously we were asked to bow, which is obviously no problem to do. We’re thrilled for the tennis family that they came to watch Wimbledon today.”

Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall seems to be more of a tennis fan. She was there in 2011, and met with the ball boys and gals:

She also signed her name in the guest book, which gives us another prime example of a royal signature:

The Yorks

The Yorks show up now and again. Here’s Sarah right into things in 1988:

And on another day of the tournament in 1988, she was one seat away from the Princess of Wales:

She was also there in 1990:

Prince Andrew doesn’t seem to be  a frequent visitor. Here he is in 2010:

He’s a bit of a snooze fest. Let’s move on to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Here are the three York Ladies attending the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party in 2009:

Skipping along, here’s Princess Beatrice chatting with the Duke of Kent (who is the President of the All England Club) in 2011:

Beatrice’s boyfriend Dave Clarke was there, too. That’s him on the left in the front row of the Royal Enclosure. Not too shabby, Dave!! Not too shabby at all. Kate and William didn’t make an appearance in the royal box until after their wedding. That might just be circumstantial, but still…

Yes, toss that hair, Bea.

Rounding out the family, Princess Eugenie arrived for Day One of Wimbledon this year:

Wish we could now launch into Edward and Sophie at Wimbledon over the years, but alas they don’t seem to make time for it in their calendars. What’s the deal with that? We know that Prince Edward is a big fan of real tennis, and that’s actually how Sophie and Edward met. Click here for our post on that Chance Royal Meeting. I guess regular tennis just isn’t their thing.

More Wimbledon fun in our next post. See you then!

The Art of the Royal Signature

Ok, this might seem silly but what the heck! Royal signatures are fun to analyze, whether they are on important documents (such as the one that The Queen signed with Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982 which formally repatriated the Canadian Constitution, pictured above) or if they are simply on Christmas cards.  Confession: after seeing that Princess Diana signed her correspondence with simply “Diana”, we went about doing the same thing in our (much) younger years. That was all fine and good until a bank teller when we were around 12 or 13 pointed out that a last name was actually required on certain documents. Ha! Oh, well it was fun while it lasted. Last names aren’t something the British Royal Family really deals with all that much. The official website of the British Monarchy explains:

People often ask whether members of the Royal Family have a surname, and, if so, what it is.

Members of the Royal Family can be known both by the name of the Royal house, and by a surname, which are not always the same. And often they do not use a surname at all.

Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged.

Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries over which they and their families ruled. Kings and queens therefore signed themselves by their first names only, a tradition in the United Kingdom which has continued to the present day…

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared on an official document on 14 November 1973, in the marriage register at Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips….

Unless The Prince of Wales chooses to alter the present decisions when he becomes king, he will continue to be of the House of Windsor and his grandchildren will use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

From what we understand, Beatrice and Eugenie use the last name “York” when needed, and Princes William and Harry go by the last name “Wales” for their military careers. However, they don’t sign with their last names.

Let’s go back to Diana to discuss this some more. Before her wedding to Prince Charles, Lady Diana Spencer signed her name “Diana Spencer.” This letter dated May 20, 1980 (a little over two months before the wedding) is a great example, we’re just sorry we can’t make it  bigger:

For enquiring minds, the letter reads: “I would like very much to thank you for your extremely kind letter and for the lovely drawing you have coloured so beautifully. Your though was very much appreciated.”  It must have been from a young child who’d sent a congratulatory letter.

Interestingly, Diana also signed the marriage register ‘Diana Spencer’ during her and Charles’ wedding. That seems to have been the last time she signed that way. After that, she shortened her signature to her first name:

It became so recognizable, it was appropriated for the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

And also for Tina Brown’s Book The Diana Chronicles:

Sarah, Duchess of York did the same thing:

Sophie, Countess of Wessex signs her name like this:

Same with Camilla:

And now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is following this tradition as well. Before the wedding, she signed her name Catherine Middleton.

This signature is from the guest book at lodge where William and Kate were staying when they got engaged. For more info on that click here.

Here’s another example. This comes from a book of condolensce that Kate and William signed for the New Zealand earthquake last February. Note that William just signs with his first name and since the wedding is still a couple of months away, Kate is still signing her full name:

There were lots of guests books to sign during William and Kate’s trip to Canada, at which point she would have just been signing “Catherine.”

This was in Ottawa on the first day:

 

And on Canada Day, also in Ottawa:

In Charlottetown:

In the Northwest Territories:

And this was in Calgary on the last day of the Canadian leg of the tour:

This signature comes from her Valentine’s Day visit to Liverpool last month. We’re definitely down to just Catherine now! Wonder how it came up in conversation that she should sign that way once she became HRH…or if she had already picked up on this particular tradition from William.

And, to end, The Queen, Prince Philip, and Kate also signed their names this way on a certificate which marked their Jubilee trip to Leicester:

They also signed the guestbook at the University that day:

So, any thoughts to this whole no last name thing? And does anyone know if the marriage register from William and Kate’s wedding was ever published? Until next time…

‘We are never tired, and we all love hospitals.’ ~ Queen Mary

How about a bit of royal family history? Today we are talking about a very interesting royal lady, Queen Mary.

The future Queen Mary was born in London on 26 May 1867 in Kensington Palace.

Her parents, the Duke of Teck and and Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a grandchild of George III, gave here the name Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes. (We love the extended middle names favoured by the Royals – looking forward to seeing what names William and Kate pick when the time comes!) Her title was Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary of Teck. To her family, she was known as May, after her birth month. (Click here for more Royal nicknames)

Mary had three brothers, shown below.

Before she married the future King George (her second cousin) she was engaged to his brother, Prince Albert, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. He sadly died of influenza six weeks after their engagement was announced.

The next year, Queen Victoria supported the decision for Mary of Teck to be engaged to Albert’s younger brother George, second in line to the throne. Here is the pair below:

Engagement photo of Prince George and Mary of Teck

The wedding took place 6 July 1893 at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, in London. The dress, shown below, now belongs to the British Royal Collection and is part of a display of royal wedding dresses at Kensington Palace. The wedding day portrait of George and Mary is below.

George and Mary were known as Their  Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of York, and lived on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk (click here for more on Sandringham). They had six children Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George and John. (Edward, of course, later abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.)

George V ascended the throne in 1910, and are shown below in their coronation robes.

King George V and Queen Mary at their coronation

Mary was known for her dedication to royal duties. We love her famous quote: ‘We are a member of the British royal family. We are never tired, and we all love hospitals.’

Queen Mary died at the age of 85 of lung cancer, only two and a half months before her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

The Duchess of Devonshire’s Link to the Duchess of York

Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire by Joshua Reynolds, c. 1775

The link between Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Sarah, Duchess of York is a fascinating one, and yet it’s not something that has really been picked up by the mainstream press save for a couple of articles here and there. We can’t think why that would be because it’s just  so interesting.

When the Keira Knightly film The Duchess came out in 2008 there was certainly a lot of buzz about how Georgiana was a a Spencer (like Diana!) who grow up at the family estate of Althorp (also Like Diana) and who was her great aunt (several times over).There are certainly a lot of parallels between Georgiana and Diana.

Georgiana married the Duke of Devonshire in 1774 on her 17th birthday and became the style icon of her day. When she wore a feather in her hair, all the ladies wanted to wear feathers in her hair. When she wore a tower of hair on her head, all the ladies followed suit. Oh, and she was friends with Marie Antoinette. The two of them made quite a pair, as you can imagine.

So there was all that buzz about Diana being so much like her great-great-great-great-great aunt since she too was a powerful style setter and woman of her time, but there really wasn’t much attention paid to the fact that Sarah, Duchess of York is actually a great granddaughter (five times over) of Georgiana, through Georgiana’s illegitimate daughter with Charles Grey. So, if you think about it, if it weren’t for that illegitamite daughter, the Duchess of York would never have been born. To top it all off, Grey went onto have an illustrious political career and became the Prime Minister of England. He was also the Second Early Grey and that title is where Earl Grey tea comes from. You just can’t make this stuff up.

So, Georgiana and Charles’ daughter was named Eliza Courtney and she was raised by relatives of Grey’s in Northumberland. She wasn’t told any of this, however, until after Georgiana’s death and until then only knew Georgiana as the kind lady who visited occasionally and wrote her letters. She must have been very moved to hear the truth and went on to name her daughter Georgina. Little did she know that one of her descendants would also go on to marry the second son of the Queen!

Wouldn’t this be a great contender for that television show about ancestry Who Do You Think You Are? We think so!

Via PrincessDianaRemembered.com
Via The Telegraph