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Changing Times | Town has a long history of Royal visitors

In 1911, Princess Marina, aged five, stayed with her sisters, Olga and Elizabeth, in Bognor with their English governess.

 

They were to stay in Sidlaw Terrace. Princess Marina was to again visit the town when she came to inspect St John’s church in 1943.

 

Within two years she was to seek a place for her three children to recover from measles, and because of her memories she sent them to Bognor Regis.

 

The Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael stayed at the Carlton Hotel, with their French governess, with their mother, Princess Marina, visiting them at weekends.

 

Princess Alexandra has kept up her association with the town and been willing to return for various events over the years.

 

In July, 1968, Princess Alexandra came to Bognor Regis in her role as patron of Action for Blind People, when she opened the Russell Hotel for the Blind & Partially Sighted.

 

She returned in 1993 to celebrate the 25th anniversary.

 

In 1929, while George V was recuperating at Craigweil House, his grand-daughter, Elizabeth, joined him and Queen Mary for a holiday by the sea.

 

He was four years old and many photographs appeared in newspapers at the time, showing her making sandcastles.

 

Marion Crawford, the royal governess, wrote “The Little Princesses” and recounted:“It was wonderful to see them together, the bearded old man and the polite little girl holding on to one of his fingers.

 

“When he was so ill, part of the tonic his doctors recommended for his convalescence was her presence.

 

“She went down to join him in Bognor. It was the first time she had ever been to the sea. She used to play on the sand while the old King sat in the sunshine watching her.”

 

It was also reported that Queen Mary went to Burgess’s Bazaar in Waterloo Square to buy sand moulds for the little princess.

 

When King George V returned to Windsor, Sir Arthur Du Cros handed Craigweil House over to Bognor Town Council for a period of 12 days to allow members of the public to visit the house.

 

During this period, 15,827 people roamed throughout the house, visited the King’s bedroom, sat in his chair and viewed the sandcastle built by his grand-daughter in the grounds. His grand-daughter is now Queen Elizabeth II.

 

In 1964, an application was received by the Bognor Regis Council to have one of the houses converted into a nursing home.

 

Their response: “It would be quite wrong to have a nursing home at Craigweil.” How quickly times change.

 

In 1966, Princess Margaret was to continue the trend and sent her two children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, to the seaside to enjoy the thrill of making sandcastles.

 

Two years later, Princess Margaret was again to visit the town and be given a tour of the resort by town councillors.

 

She was​ also shown how holidaymakers were enjoying their seaside excursions with a tour of the Butlins holiday camp, which had only been recently opened in 1960.

 

Princess Charlotte, Princess Victoria and Princess Elizabeth all had their historical place in relation to the throne when they holidayed in Bognor.

 

I am sure that over the years there have been visits by other young royals, which were not recorded. It is possible that Prince William and Prince Harry visited Bognor Regis when their grandfather Earl Spencer owned Tradewinds on the Aldwick Bay Estate.

 

Of course, recently we have had a brief visit from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Posted in Lifestyle.