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