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A local history and genealogy site for Wimpole, a village and parish in South Cambridgeshire
Curated by Steve Odell

Home    "Wimpole Amuses Victoria"    "Wimpole As I Knew It"    David Ellison
Queen Victoria at Royston
25 and 28 October 1843
As published in "A History of Royston" by Alfred Kingston. Published 1906.
A local history and genealogy page for the Parish of Wimpole.
Queen Victoria's arrival at Wimpole Hall
A print published by the 'Pictorial Times' (p.153, Issue 33, 28 October 1843) to mark
the Queen's visit, showing her Post-chaise arriving at Wimpole Hall.
Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort visited Cambridge on Wednesday 25 October 1843, then moved to Wimpole Hall for two nights on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 October as the guests of Lord Hardwicke.
The Queen and Price Albert travelled between London, Royston, Cambridge and Wimpole Hall by Post-Chaise passing through Royston on both the 25 and 28 October. The following is an account of the two visits published in "A History of Royston" by Alfred Kingston, published in 1906.
Any additional comments [within square brackets and in italics] are mine.
Queen Victoria's Visit to Wimpole. (Links to pages on this website):
  "Wimpole Amuses Victoria". Booklet published in 1981, Ellisons' Editions. (In development)
  "Queen Victoria's Journal". Visit to Cambridge and Wimpole, 25 to 28 October 1843.
  "Queen Victoria Visits Wimpole Hall". Reported in the 'Cambridge Chronicle'.
  "Her Majesty at Wimpole". Reports from 'The Times' Newspaper. (In development)
  "Queen Victoria at Royston". Reports from Royston on the Royal progress.
Queen Victoria at Royston
"The chief event connecting the town [Royston] with the outside world was the visit of the late Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to the Royston district on the 25th October 1843. There had been public rejoicings in Royston in 1837, in honour of the Queen's Coronation, when the inhabitants sat down to dinner on the Market Hill, and the opportunity of seeing the youthful Queen and her Consort in Royston, was an event which aroused the greatest possible interest. This interest was enhanced by the fact that the Queen and Prince Consort were going to pay a visit to the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke at Wimpole Hall, a family which was then intimately associated with the town of Royston, and its institutions. Queen Victoria was accompanying Prince Albert on a visit to Cambridge where he was to receive an honorary degree from the University, and from Cambridge Her Majesty and the Prince were to proceed to Wimpole.
Triunphal Arch at BuntingfordTriunphal Arch at Royston
"Great preparations had been made in Royston in the erection of triumphal arches at the entrance to the town, at the Cross, and at the end of Melbourn, and stands for the children and the public were erected in Mr Wortham's park on the London Road, and inside the Park wall on the Melbourn Road. There was an enormous concourse of people to witness the Queen and Prince Albert pass through the town, and the shops removed their goods from the windows which were filled with spectators.
"The Royal carriage containing the Queen and Prince Albert was escorted to the boundaries of the two counties [the old boundary between Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire ran along Baldock Street and Melbourn Street to the turnpike - now the A10)] by the North Herts. Yeomanry. After changing horses at the Bull Hotel, the journey was renewed down the High Street [and a right turn] into Melbourn Street, amidst continued cheering. At the boundary of the two counties near the turnpike (now the Town Hall Corner) Her Majesty was met by Lord Hardwicke, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and a troop of Cambridgeshire Yeomanry, and a large number of gentlemen on horseback. Here the escort was changed, the Herts. Yeomanry giving place to those of Cambs., and the Earl of Hardwicke rode by the side of the Queen's carriage, with three of his Aides, Capt. Hart, R.N., Mr H Thurnall, and Mr S Jones, in its rear.
"An interesting contemporary glimpse of the spectacle is afforded in a letter by Mr Henry Wells Butler, to his brother, the day after the event, in which he says:-
"The Queen and Prince Albert went through yesterday, and we all had a very good sight of them. We had four grand triumphal arches erected, one opposite Mr Thomas Wortham's at the top of the town, one near the Chequers, one at the Cross, and one at the turnpike. The turnpike, by-the-way was taken away. Banners, ensigns, and pennants innumerable, were as flags by the water courses. I think there must have been 200 in all. I counted 80 to-day between Mr Wortham's and the Cross.
"We had a band of music also, and a very fine day. Most of Lord Hardwicke's tenantry and many other gentlemen awaited the Queen beyond the turnpike. I should think there must have been between 400 and 500 of them, together with the Yeomanry, and a party of Scots Greys; they lined the road from the turnpike quite down to the end of Mr W.H. Nash's wall.
"A proud man was 'Lars Porsena' [1], upon this trysting day! As the Queen's carriage passed all fell into order and followed as fast as their steeds (sorry some of them) permitted. It was a regular game at hunt the Queen!
"Mr Nash had three platforms put up by the wall. I was on one of them part of the time, and the other part I stood on the wall. Royston has not been so full for a long time. Everybody says we did the thing thoroughly well. £100.00 was raised by subscription in a short time. The Queen is to pass through Royston again on her return on Saturday."
"After visiting the University the Queen and Prince Consort drove to Wimpole Hall, the seat of the Earl of Hardwicke, entering the Park by the Orwell entrance, a new approach, known since as the Victoria Lodge. On the Thursday evening, her Majesty the Queen, the Prince Consort and a distinguished company were entertained to dinner by the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke, and on the Friday night a grand ball took place, to which all the principal families in the county were invited, the guests - including several from Royston, - appearing in Court dress. The Queen, then only twenty-four years of age, entered very readily into the animated scene, and appeared to enjoy the dancing greatly. On retiring to her seat her Majesty complained of the heat, and the Earl of Hardwicke asked Earl de la Warr, to open a window. The noble lord went so eagerly to the gallant task that he cut his hand severely, and on returning to the ball received expressions of sympathy from her Majesty, whose solicitude for others was a marked characteristic during her long and noble life.
"On Saturday, October 27th, her Majesty and the Prince Consort left Wimpole for London, and were again escorted by the Cambs. Yeomanry and accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant as far as Royston. On arriving in Kneesworth Street, in the open space below the old Palace of King James, the Earl of Hardwicke took formal leave of her Majesty." [2]
[1] [A legendary 6th century BC Etruscan chieftain. Nope, me neither.]
[2] "For an interesting part of the above facts I am indebted to the late Mr F N Fordham, who was present at the ball given in honour of the Queen, and to a general narrative of the event, written by Mr D B Balding JP, surgeon, of Royston."
Wimpole Amuses Victoria - Cover "Wimpole Amuses Victoria" was published by Ellisons' Editions in a numbered Limited Edition of 500 copies in 1981.
Read "Wimpole Amuses Victoria" on this website.
This small A5 booklet is an account of Queen Victoria's 1843 visit to
Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.
(External Link)
An episode in the 2011 BBC1 series "Royal Upstairs Downstairs" featured Queen Victoria's visit to Wimpole Hall. Not a programme to my taste but it "might amuse".
"Tim Wonnacott and Rosemary Shrager are at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, who visited here with Prince Albert in 1843."
You can watch it here on YouTube (28 minutes).
Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
Aerial View of Wimpole Hall and St Andrew's Parish Church.
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This page was last updated on: 04 September 2020.

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