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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"    Queen Victoria's Journal    David Ellison
Her Majesty at Wimpole
Visit and Grand Ball at the Earl of Hardwicke's
Two reports as printed in "The Times' of the 28 and 30 October 1843.
This is 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.
This page is under development.
Two reports from "The Times" newspaper describing the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Wimpole Hall from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 October 1843.
[I have corrected the incorrectly spelt surnames and local place names where they are obvious'y wrong. The numbered footnotes and 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.
The following report from "The Times" newspaper describes the visit of Queen Victoria to Wimpole Hall from the arrival on Thursday to around midday on Friday, looking ahead to the evening's ball. The report was published in London on Saturday 28 October.
"Her Majesty at Wimpole" (Wimpole, Friday Afternoon)
'The Times' 28 October 1843
'The Times' 28 October 1843
Her Majesty arrived here at half-past 5 o'clock yesterday evening, and, considering the fatigue she had gone through during the two days, she looked remarkably well.
There is the strongest possible wish on the part of Her Majesty that her visit here shall be as private as possible, except of course with respect to the public ball, which takes place this evening.
At 7 o'clock in the evening [Thursday] Her Majesty dined, covers being laid for 24. Among the distinguished guests who dined with Her Majesty were, besides His Royal Highness Prince Albert, the Duke of Rutland [1], the Marquis of Exeter, the Marquis of Normanby [2], the Marchioness of Normanby [3], the Earl of Hardwicke, the Countess of Hardwicke, the Earl of Caledon, Colonel the Hon G Grey, Colonel Bouverie, Mr G E Anson [4], the Countess of Mount-Edgcumbe, the Hon Miss Stanley, etc.
Her Majesty retired to rest at an early hour in the evening.
Her Majesty breakfasted at 8 o'clock in the morning, and Her Majesty then, attended by the Marquis and Marchioness of Normandy, the Duke of Rutland, and the Royal suite, walked about the grounds of Wimpole, which in many parts are very beautiful. On Her Majesty's return from the grounds she devoted some time to the examination of the contents of the galleries, with many of which she expressed herself very much gratified. At a few minutes after 11 o'clock Her Majesty again went out into the grounds accompanied by the Prince, and attended by her suite and by several of the noble guests. Her Majesty and the Royal party then returned to the mansion to luncheon.
The Royal horses were ordered for a quarter to 2 o'clock, and a few minutes after that hour Her Majesty, accompanied as before, drove to Bourn, the seat [5] of Earl de la Warr [6], which is distant from Wimpole about four miles.
The Royal dinner-hour was fixed earlier to-day than usual, in consequence of the preparations that were being made for the ball in the evening.
The cards for the ball state half-past 9 o'clock as the hour, but 10 o'clock is the earliest time at which the ball will be opened. The preparations are on a very extensive scale. All the furniture and decorations have been sent down from the upholsterers in London specially for the occasion of the Royal visit. The invitations to the ball comprises the chief gentry of the neighbourhood. Of course the noble and distinguished guests of Lord Hardwicke will be present.
The ball-room will be very much crowded on the occasion. The chief dignitaries of the University of Cambridge received invitations. Amongst those of the University who will be present at the ball are Dr. Haviland, Mr Pryme (Professor of Political Economy), Dr Thackeray, &c.
Shortly before 11 o'clock his Royal Highness Prince Albert, attended by the Earl of Hardwicke and Mr Anson, went out shooting. It was understood that his Royal Highness had good sport.
The Marquis of Exeter left Wimpole for Newmarket early this morning.

[1] John Henry Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland KG (1778 – -1857), also styled Marquess of Granby, was a British landowner as well as an owner and breeder of thoroughbred racehorses.
[2] Constantine Henry Phipps, 1st Marquess of Normanby KG GCB GCH PC (1797-1863), was a British Whig politician and author. He notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1835 to 1839 and as Home Secretary from 1839 to 1841 and was British Ambassador to France between 1846 and 1852.
[3] Maria (nee Liddell), Marchioness of Normanby, was one of the Countess of Hardwicke's older sisters.
[4] George Edward Anson (1812-1849) was a courtier and British politician. He served as Keeper of Her Majesty's Privy Purse and Treasurer of the Household to HRH Prince Albert. Anson also served as private secretary to Prince Albert, and was frequently employed on diplomatic missions for the Prince. He was married to the Honourable Georgiana Mary Harbord, who was a 'Woman of the Bedchamber' to Queen Victoria.
[5] Bourn House (a location now more famous as Bourn Hall, the first IVF clinic).
[6] George John Sackville-West, 5th Earl de la Warr, PC (1791-1869), a British courtier and Tory politician.

The second report from "The Times" newspaper describes the visit of Queen Victoria to Wimpole Hall from Friday morning (overlapping a little) to the departure to London and Windsor the following day. The report was published in London on Monday 30 October.
"Her Majesty at Wimpole": Grand Ball at the Earl of Hardwicke's.
'The Times' 30 October 1843
'The Times' 30 October 1843
'The Times' 30 October 1843
'The Times' 30 October 1843
On Friday Morning, Her Majesty, accompanied by the Prince, and attended by the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke, Lady Mount-Edgcumbe, the Hon Miss Stanley, Colonel Bouverie, and Mr Anson [1], heard prayers in the chapel attached to the mansion at Wimpole. The noble Earl usually reads prayers in the morning, but on this occasion they were read by the Hon and Rev. Henry Yorke.
Her Majesty breakfasted at 8 o'clock. Before looking over the grounds, attended by the suite, the Queen and the Prince strolled out together in the private pleasure gardens.
It was while Her Majesty remained in her apartments, after having inspected the various objects of admiration in the mansion and grounds, that the Prince, attended by the Earl of Hardwicke and Mr Anson, went to a place distant in the park, called Cobb's-wood, to shoot. His Royal Highness had not intended to shoot while at Wimpole, and no guns had been provided of his own; but as the opportunity for some good sport offered itself, he availed himself of it, and used the guns of the Hon. Messrs Yorke. The Prince was exactly one hour and a quarter shooting, and during that time he killed 17 pheasants, a brace of hares, and four rabbits. His Royal Highness did not miss one shot. Mr Anson loaded for him.
Bourn House, Cambridgeshire
Bourn House [3] Click for larger image
It was on the Prince's return from Cobb's-wood, and after Her Majesty had partaken of luncheon at 2 (which is, in fact, her dinner), that the Queen left for Lord de la Warr's [23] at Bourn [3]. The Prince accompanied Her Majesty on horseback. While at Bourn Her Majesty went over the place and was particularly interested with the magnificent mantel-piece there, which has been removed from Haslingfield, where it was when Queen Elizabeth stopped one night there [Friday 4 August 1564] in one of her Royal progressions.
The Arrington Gate
Estate Gate (Arrington) Click for larger image
When Her Majesty left for Bourn she went out at the great park gate of Wimpole [at Arrington, above] and proceeded [northwards] by the main road [the Great North Road, now the A1198], where she was cheered most enthusiastically by crowds of inhabitants of the neighbourhood who were assembled at different places by the wayside. Her Majesty returned by another road and entered the park by the old town.
The Royal dinner party on Friday consisted of the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke, the Marquis [4] and Marchioness [5] of Normanby, Earl of Caledon, Viscount and Viscountess Canning, the Bishop of Ely, the Hon E Yorke and Mrs Yorke, the Hon and Rev Henry Yorke and Mrs Yorke, the Hon Grantham Yorke and Mrs Yorke, Earl de la Warr, Mr Greene, the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire; Mr Allix MP; Mr Eaton MP; Colonel Grey, Colonel Bouverie, Mr Anson, the Countess of Mount-Edgcumbe, and the Hon Miss Stanley.
Neither the Duke of Rutland nor the Marquis of Exeter dined with the Queen on Friday. They both left on Friday morning for Newmarket.
On Thursday, the Queen and the Prince occupied the centre of the table, the Prince sitting on the left hand side of the Queen; Lord Hardwicke sat on her right, and the Countess of the left of Prince Albert. But on Friday the Queen sat on the left hand side of the Prince, the Earl of Hardwicke sitting at Her Majesty's left hand, and the Countess sitting on the right of the Prince. Her Majesty wore a crimson beaded dress, with two camellias in her hair. She also wore the magnificent rows of pearls, which if we mistake not, were once claimed by the King of Hanover.
The Grand Dining Room, Wimpole Hall
The Dining Room at Wimpole. Click for larger image
Dinner was ordered for half-past 7 o'clock in the grand dining room. The table presented a magnificent service of plate. Opposite Her Majesty and the Prince was placed a piece of very elaborate and exquisite workmanship, representing [Archangel] St Michael overcoming the Dragon. This ornament is in frosted silver, and was upon a polished fluted pedestal of silver. On either side of it was a handsome large silver ewer, of fine workmanship. There were also four magnificent fruit-stands of a very costly description, and the room was lit with four immense candelabra of silver, each with six branches, and also another light in the centre. In the room was a beautiful frosted silver figure of "Hebe" and another of "Fame", the pedestal of which is an imitation of lapis lazuli [6]. The sideboards were laid out with handsome gold and silver plate, and there was also on the sideboard a handsome cup of silver, into which were worked no less than 95 medals that had been presented to the first Lord Cornwallis
The arrangements made at Wimpole for the reception and accommodation of Her Majesty at the mansion were eminently calculated for her convenience. Wimpole is considered the most splendid private residence in the county. The mansion itself is very large and spacious. It is built of brick, faced with stone and has extensive wings, containing on the one side a very handsome conservatory, and on the other, at the extreme end, the chapel, adjoining which is the rectory, at which the Hon. and Rev. Henry Yorke resides. Viewed from the grounds the mansion is most striking and imposing structure.
Her Majesty's apartments were so arranged as to form a complete establishment, altogether shut off from the rest of the apartments in the mansion. They were approached by a private staircase. The rooms appropriated to the use of Her Majesty and her suite were no less than 14. They were in the west end of the building. A dining-room and drawing room on the ground-floor were for Her Majesty's private use, and the Royal sleeping-apartments were on the first-floor. The Countess of Hardwicke gave up her own room and her boudoir for Her Majesty's use. The Princes dressing room was situated over the ball-room. A great portion of the furniture of these rooms had been provided purposely for Her Majesty's use. As may be supposed, it was of a very splendid description.
The rooms thrown open to the public in the evening extended over almost the whole ground floor of the mansion. The distance from the conservatory at the west end to the entrance to the chapel at the east end is 200 feet. The space is occupied by the gallery - a splendid room, 63 feet by 20 - the library, which is filled with many rare and valuable objects, and dining, drawing, and reception rooms. The whole of the suite of rooms, some of them filled with pictures and statues of rare value and execution, and containing furniture of the most costly and elegant description, was brilliantly lit up on the occasion, and the effect was truly magnificent, more especially in the ball room and supper-room, which will be described hereafter.
The invitations to the ball included the chief gentry of landed property in the country. The most distinguished members of the University were also invited. For miles around the whole neighbourhood was in a state of excitement, and the small village of Arrington, which is about a mile from the mansion, was thronged with crowds of people of all ranks. There was the utmost difficulty in procuring any kind of accommodation for the vast concourse of persons who were attracted to the spot by the excitement of the occasion. Some of the most distinguished guests had the utmost difficulty in procuring any accommodation whatever, and when we add that there were invitations for not less than 300 persons, of whom almost every one availed himself of the opportunity of paying their homage to the Queen, it may be imagined what a string there must have been of equipages, servants, and others, who were compelled to be on the spot.
The Marquis of Exeter during his stay occupied apartments at the Hardwicke Arms, at Arrington. The Duke of Rutland also occupied apartments in the same inn.
 
(being transcribed)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[1] George Edward Anson (1812-1849) was a courtier and British politician. He served as Keeper of Her Majesty's Privy Purse and Treasurer of the Household to HRH Prince Albert. Anson also served as private secretary to Prince Albert, and was frequently employed on diplomatic missions for the Prince. He was married to the Honourable Georgiana Mary Harbord, who was a 'Woman of the Bedchamber' to Queen Victoria.
[2] George John Sackville-West, 5th Earl de la Warr, PC (1791-1869), a British courtier and Tory politician.
[3] Bourn House (a location now more famous as Bourn Hall, the first IVF clinic).
[4] Constantine Henry Phipps, 1st Marquess of Normanby KG GCB GCH PC (1797-1863), was a British Whig politician and author. He notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1835 to 1839 and as Home Secretary from 1839 to 1841 and was British Ambassador to France between 1846 and 1852.
[5] Maria (nee Liddell), Marchioness of Normanby, was one of the Countess of Hardwicke's older sisters.
[6] Lapis lazuli is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.
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 really to my taste but it "might amuse". Some errors!
"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).
Bourn House, Cambridgeshire
Bourn House
Seat of the 5th Earl de la Warr, PC (1791-1869)
The Arrington Gate
The Arrington Gate
Formal Entrance to Wimpole Hall.
The Grand Dining Room, Wimpole Hall
The Grand Dining Room at Wimpole Hall.
Note the portrait of Queen Victoria over the Fireplace.
Image © Copyright "By Stargoose And Hanglands"
Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
Aerial View of Wimpole Hall
Copyright © National Trust, all rights reserved.

This page was last updated on: 03 September 2020.



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