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CONTINUED

 

In June, the following eagerly awaited paragraph began to appear in several of the county's newspapers - it caused a buzz of excitement which would be difficult for us to comprehend today:

 

We are enabled to state that the house party st Ugbrooke, the seat of Lord Clifford, to meet their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York on Jul3rd, will consist of the following:

 

Major-General Sir Francis de Winter  G.C.M.G; CB;(Controller of the household of the Duke of York); Lieutenant Sir Charles Cust RN, Bart, (Equerry to the Duke of York); Lady Katherine Grey Coke; (Lady in waiting to the Duchess of York); the Duke and Duchess of Somerset; Lord and lady Churston; the Hon. Sir Stafford Northcote MP and Lady Northcote; General the the Right Hon. Sir Redvers Buller K.C.B; V.C; and Lady Audrey Buller; Sir Thomas Acland and Lady Acland; Mr and Mrs Hamlyn; Mrs Delacour; Miss K. Lister; Viscount Valletort and Mr Hugh Clifford.

We know, through the Society pages of contemporary newspapers, how close-knit socially this group of people was. At the wedding of Miss Lister's elder brother, the guest list included among others, Lady Clifford, Mrs. Delacour and the  Somersets. But extensive threads of kinship also connected many of these men and women - even Miss Katherine Lister ("Kitty") seated on the extreme left of the front row could include herself among the direct descendents of no less an individual than William the Conqueror.

The names of the guests are written on the back of the original photograph but sadly,  are not related to the seating plan which suggests that not even James Dinham had the means of correctly identifying everyone. No one thought it necessary to tell him because these people all knew precisely who was who.

 

What a wonderful list of names to roll off the tongue and identify. And just in case you missed the first appearance of the list, it was repeated in most editions throughout June. As July came closer, the excitement hotted up and the itinerary of the visit to Exeter was announced:

 

It read as follows:

Tuesday July 4th 1899:

10.30 am 

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York leave Ugbrooke Park for Newton Abbot Station.

11.30 am

Arrival at St David's Station, Exeter for presentations. In Bonhay Road Pleasure Grounds (adjacent to the station) the Royal Artillery will fire a salute. The journey to the Guildhall will be by way of Bonhay Road and Fore Street.

12 noon:

There will be a presentation of a Welcome Address at the Guildhall, followed by an inspection of the Charters and the Corporation Regalia.

12.20pm:

The procession reforms and moves through the High Street and Queen Street to the Royal Albert Museum.

12.30pm

Opening ceremony at the Museum.

1.30pm

Luncheon at the Rougemont Hotel (now named The Thistle) where their Royal Highnesses will  be received by Sir Stafford and Lady Northcote.

2.35pm

Visit to the Cathedral, proceeding by way of Queen Street, High Steert, Broadgate and the Cathedral Close.

3.10pm

The Duke and Duchess will leave the Cathedral and drive through the  Broadgate, High Street, South Street. Magdalen Street, and Southernhay to the hospital.

3.20pm

Inspection of the hospital and presentation of purses to the  needy.

4.0pm

Leaving the hospital, the Royal visitors will proceed by Southernhay, through the Barnfield to Heavitree Road, Grendon Road, Polsloe Road, Blackboy Road and Sidwell Street to the London Hotel.

4.20 pm

Arrive at the London Hotel.

4.45 pm

Leave the London Hotel and proceed through the High Street and Queen Street to St David's Station for the return train to Newton Abbot.

 

This part of the visit seems to have gone off quite well but the description in another account of the journey down from London* in a royal saloon coach attached to a normal service train has a depressingly familiar ring to it.

"Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York and their suite left Paddington yesterday for Devonshire, where they are to spend several days. On arriving at Bristol, there was a delay of a quarter of an hour, owing to an engine having left the rails in proceeding to the engine shed."

* The GWR through service from London to Penzance does not seem to have commenced until 1903 when, as Prince and Princess of Wales, the Yorks were the first royals to travel via this far more direct route to the West Country.

 

CONTINUED

 

 
 
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