The Royal Family have been in the news a lot recently for glad, bad and sad reasons. I thought it would be of interest to explore Buckinghamshire’s royal connections:

Queen Elgiva and Chesham

Queen Elgiva, widow of the Saxon King Edwy, owned land in many parts of Buckinghamshire. Her will from about AD 970 is the first recorded mention of Chesham. Chesham’s Elgiva theatre, and Elgiva Lane are named after her. (See BFP Nostalgia September 11, 2020)

How Princes Risborough got its name

Princes Risborough is named after the Prince Edward, the eldest son of King Edward III. He was known as the Black Prince. He held the manor at Risborough and stayed there sometimes for hunting. He died in 1376 before his father, and his son become Richard II.

Tudor Bucks

Henry VIII used to come to Bucks and would sometimes stay at Chenies Manor. His second wife Anne Boleyn, had links with Aylesbury where her father Sir Thomas Boleyn held the manor. It is claimed that Henry VIII declared Aylesbury the county town, rather than Buckingham, to gain favour with the Boleyn family. A number of locations in Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville and Wendover have reputed links with Anne Boleyn. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s daughter became Elizabeth I, and she stayed at Chenies Manor for a month in 1570.

Cliveden House

Cliveden House near Burnham, was briefly a royal residence. In 1737 Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II, lived there with his wife Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and their children were born there. At Cliveden he enjoyed fishing, shooting, rowing, cricket, and he organised theatrical and musical performances. It was at Cliveden on August 1, 1740 that he hosted the first ever performance of ‘Rule Britannia’. Frederick died in 1751, and his father George II, outlived him. Cliveden is now a National Trust property.

French Royalty in the Aylesbury Vale

During the French Revolution in 1793 the French King and Queen were guillotined. Understandably the rest of their family fled into exile. The king’s brother, known as Louis XVIII by royalists, fled first to Germany, then Russia and then to England. In 1810 he and his family came to Hartwell House near Aylesbury. He was also joined by Gustavus IV, the exiled King of Sweden, and they used to enjoy playing billiards together.

When Napoleon was defeated in 1814, an envoy came to Hartwell to offer the throne to Louis. He left Hartwell for Paris in a great procession which went through Aylesbury, and the street he went down is called Bourbon Street in his honour. Louis XVIII died in 1820 and was succeeded by his less popular brother Charles X.

There was another revolution in 1830, which is featured in the musical Les Miserables, and Charles X abdicated and was replaced by his cousin who became King Louis-Philippe I of Orleans. He was overthrown by yet another revolution in 1848, and abdicated in favour of his son Louis-Philippe II. The Orleans family came to England in exile, first in Surrey, and then in 1890 the family came to live at Stowe House, near Buckingham, where Louis-Philippe II, Count of Paris, died in 1894.

Queen Victoria’s tour of South Bucks

Victoria became queen in 1837 and made her first provincial tour in 1841. This took her and Prince Albert from Windsor Castle through south Bucks. The journey was from Gerrards Cross, to Chalfont, to Amersham, then Chesham Bois, to Chesham, and then through Berkhamsted, onto Dunstable and to Woburn Abbey where she stayed with the Duke of Bedford. At Amersham and Chesham she was greeted with arches and great crowds who had prior notice of her coming. (See BFP Nostalgia October 19, 2019)

King Zog of Albania

During the Second World War many royal families and governments-in-exile from occupied countries came to England in exile, with some settling in Bucks. The area had the advantage that it was relatively safe from bombing, but also near London. Amongst those were King Zog and Queen Geraldine of Albania with their young son Prince Leka. They first lived in exile in London, but from 1941-46 they lived at Parmoor House, now called St Katherine’s, just outside Frieth, near Lane End. In 2010 King Zog’s grandson HRH Prince Leka II came to the house to unveil its blue plaque.

Battenberg family in Chesham

The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, took the surname of Mountbatten, which was actually his mother’s family. Mountbatten was an anglicised form of the name Battenberg. The Battenberg family, including Prince Philip’s grandparents, had lived at Chesham briefly in 1910 and 1911, living at Germains House off Fuller Hill, Chesham. (See BFP Nostalgia October 24, 2020)

Coppins, Iver

Another house in Bucks with connections to Prince Philip is Coppins at Iver, in south Bucks. From 1925, it was the home of Princess Victoria, daughter of Edward VII, and it was just 7 miles from Windsor Castle. She lived there until she died there in 1935, and then it was occupied by her nephew Prince George, the Duke of Kent and his wife Princess Marina of Greece, and their children the current Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael of Kent who was born there in 1942.

Prince Philip was Princess Marina’s first cousin and he was a regular visitor during school holidays from Gordonstoun School 1937-9, and then from Dartmouth Naval College 1939–40, and later when visiting Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) at Windsor Castle. The royal connections ended in 1972, when the house was sold.

Buckingham Palace

Our county also gave its name to Buckingham Palace. The story dates back to John Sheffield, who was known as the Duke of Buckingham. His title was created in 1703 as Duke of the County of Buckingham. The inscription on his tomb in Westminster Abbey calls him the Duke of Buckinghamshire.

In 1703 he built himself a London townhouse, which he called Buckingham House. In 1761 it was bought by George III for his family, when it became known as Buckingham Palace. Greatly enlarged over the years, it has been the official London residence of the British monarch, since Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837.

If you know any more local royal links please contact Neil Rees on