Queen Victoria’s Sons

Queen Victoria reigned from June 20, 1837 to January 22, 1901 as Queen of England and Ireland and later Empress of India (she had been the longest reigning monarch for 63 years and 216 days until Queen Elizabeth II broke the record in 2015 at 64 years and still counting!)  Throughout the years numerous history books have been written about Queen Victoria and how she influenced British traditions and customs at a time that later would become known as the Victorian Era.  Several books, some historical and others romance novels, have also been written about her relationship with her beloved husband, Prince Albert.  (For more information on life of Queen Victoria, please click on the link)

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their children

This two part series about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s nine children will try to answer the following questions – what was the Queen like as a mother and what happened to her children?  Part One will discuss her four sons and Part Two will be about her five daughters.  It has been said that when her children were young she treated them coldly without any affection and with little interest in their daily lives with the exception of their education.  Later, as the children became older, she controlled their personal lives and was determined to arrange their marriages not based on finding the best possible love match but to further her personal and political plans for England.  Perhaps her most difficult and problematic child was her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, who was the heir to the throne.

So, let’s start by discussing the sons of Queen Victoria …

Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII)
born – November 9, 1841 at Buckingham Palace, London, England
died – May 6, 1910 at Buckingham Palace, London, England

Prince Albert Edward was the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  He was christened at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and received the name Albert to honor his father and Edward for his maternal grandfather but in the family he was known as Bertie.  He was the heir apparent in the British line of succession and just a month after his birth the Queen bestowed on him the title of the Prince of Wales (Prince Albert holds the record as the longest-serving Prince of Wales at 59 years, 1 month and 14 days. Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales, will surpass this record in September 2017)

At the age of seven the Queen and Prince Albert were determined that Bertie should receive the proper education to prepare him in his future role as a British monarch.  Prince Albert set a very difficult educational plan to be implemented by Bertie’s tutors.  Unfortunately, Bertie proved to be a very poor student although he tried very hard to please both his mother and father by reaching their scholastic expectations.  In 1859, at the age of 18, Bertie went on a grand tour of Europe mainly studying the art and architecture of Rome before going to the University of Edinburgh for the summer.   He later went on to become an undergraduate at the Christ Church, Oxford and then transferred to Trinity College in Cambridge.  Bertie’s academic performance at college was much better than his education under his father direction and his attitude toward higher learning improved dramatically.

Prince Albert Edward - young

In 1860, his studies were interrupted briefly when he was sent to North America to represent the Queen on his first Royal tour as the heir to the British throne.  During the four month tour Bertie traveled to many parts of Canada and he visited the United States and went to Washington, D.C., nearby Mount Vernon and also New York City.  The tour was a great success and Bertie was praised by the media for his charming manner and his diplomatic skills which brought a new-found confidence and self-esteem to the nineteen year old Prince of Wales.

Prince Albert Edward - 1861

At this point in his life Bertie had received the reputation as a playboy carousing with women of questionable character, gambling and drinking.  All these activities upset both his parents and the Queen felt that the solution to quickly ending Bertie’s scandalous behavior was to find him a suitable wife with the hopes that it would force him to settle down.  Queen Victoria thought that she had found the perfect wife for Bertie; it was Princess Alexandra who was the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark.  On the recommendation of Bertie’s eldest sister, Princess Victoria, a meeting was quickly arranged to introduce them and Bertie was very impressed with Alexandra’s beauty, charming ways and mild manner. (For more information about the fashion style of the future Queen Alexandra, please click on the link)

Of course, the Queen was very wrong in thinking that the prospect of a wife and children would put a stop to Bertie’s wild ways!  When Bertie was sent to Ireland to continue his military training he became involved in a brief sexual relationship with a local actress.  Upon returning to Cambridge, word of his indiscretions reached the Queen and she sent her husband, Prince Albert, to have a serious talk with their son.  A short time later, Prince Albert became seriously ill and died in December 1861.  Wrongfully, the Queen claimed that the stress of dealing with Bertie’s affair weakened Prince Albert’s health and she unjustly blamed Bertie for the death of her beloved husband and she became lost in her grief and completely withdrew from public life.  (The initial cause of death was believed to be typhoid fever but recent historical evidence indicates that Prince Albert had been ill for at least two years and the probable cause of death was abdominal cancer).

On March 10, 1863 Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra were married at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.  (For more detailed information about the wedding, please click on the link to British Royal Weddings – Part Two)

Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra 1863

The young couple moved to Marlborough House, their official London residence, and they also spent time at Sandringham, their country home in Norfolk.  Bertie and Alexandra had six children – Albert Victor, George (the future King George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud and Alexander John who died in infancy.  (For more information about the history of Sandringham, please click on the link)

Prince Albert Edward - his children

The couple entertained lavishly with elaborate balls and dinners in London and large weekend “house parties” at Sandringham where their guests enjoying horseback riding, fishing and hunting.  Despite the appearance of domesticity, Bertie continued his playboy lifestyle having numerous affairs with married women and he also enjoyed gambling at the horse races and private illegal card games.  Bertie also began to cultivate both British and International political alliances with prominent leaders while the Queen remained in seclusion obsessed with her grief and away from London for an extended period of time.  The Queen, always disapprovingly aware of Bertie’s indiscretions, tried to control him by not relinquishing any of her political power to him during the remainder of her long reign.  This situation did not go unnoticed by both the British government and the British public who absolutely adored the Prince of Wales.

Ultimately, upon the death of Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, Bertie was crowned King Edward VII.  Due to an appendicitis and subsequent surgery, his coronation was postponed while he recovered.  The rescheduled coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on August 9, 1902.  The newly crowned King proved to be a popular monarch, he immediately sold Osborne House, refurbished the other Royal Palaces and reintroduced many of the traditional British ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament, that the Queen had discontinued after the death of Prince Albert and her self-imposed removal from public life.  He also modernized the British Navy and reorganized the British Army.  Being related to many of the Kings and Queens of numerous European countries, King Edward became known as being just and fair in negotiating differences although he had a very difficult relationship with his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II.  During his brief reign, it was barely nine years, the Edwardian era at the turn of the century brought significant advancements in technology.  In the final year of his reign, King Edward was intent on solving a constitutional crisis which would ultimately be resolved after his death and would restrict the power of the House of Lords with the Parliament Act of 1911.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra- coronation

King Edward smoked incessantly averaging numerous cigarettes and cigars each day for most of his adult life.  He developed an ulcer and later bronchitis and as his medical condition continued to deteriorate in his final days he suffered from several heart attacks.  King Edward died on May 6, 1910 at Buckingham Palace in London and he is buried at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Prince Alfred Earnest (later the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
born – August 6, 1844 at Windsor Castle, England
died – July 30, 1900 at Rosenau Castle near Coburg, Germany

Prince Alfred was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to his family he was known as Affie.  He was christened at Windsor Castle in the Private Chapel and became second in the British line of succession.  Alfred was tutored alongside his older brother, Albert Edward.  In 1856 his parents decided that he would join the Royal Navy, later he was promoted to lieutenant in 1863 and then captain in 1866.

Prince Alfred 1860

Upon the abdication of King Otto of Greece in 1863 the British government was influenced by the Queen to block the plans for Alfred to succeed him.  It seems that the Queen and Prince Albert wanted Alfred to eventually inherit the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg.  Meanwhile, Alfred position in the line of succession was pushed back further when his elder brother, Albert Edward, had a son.  Then, in May 1866, the Queen’s bestowed on Alfred the title of Duke of Edinburgh and a month later he was granted a seat in the House of Lords.

Prince Alfred

At the beginning of the year 1867, Alfred embarked on a Naval voyage aboard the HMS Galatea.  He left Plymouth in January, then Gibraltar in June, reaching Cape Town in July and finally landing in Australia in October.  This five month historical visit to Australia was the first by a member of the British Royal Family and Alfred received an enthusiastic welcome in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Tasmania.   On his return trip to England, Alfred stopped in New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan before continuing on to India.

On January 23, 1874, Prince Alfred married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia the daughter of Emperor Alexander II at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.  Alfred’s new wife, who was used to an elevated status in Russia, had a difficult time adjusting to the higher precedence of not only the Queen and her daughters but also the Princess of Wales.  After much fuss, the Queen denied Maria’s request for special treatment being the daughter of the Tsar but eventually she granted her precedence before her daughters but after the Princess of Wales.  Alfred and Maria had one son and four daughters – Alfred, Marie, Victoria, Alexandra and Beatrice.  

Prince Alfred - engagement photo

In regards to Alfred’s naval career, while stationed in Malta, he was promoted to rear-admiral in 1878, then vice-admiral and finally Commander-in Chief of the Channel Fleet in 1882 and the Mediterranean Fleet in 1886.  Finally in June 1893 Alfred was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet. 

Prince Alfred - in uniform

Upon the death of his uncle Ernest II, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on August 22, 1893 Alfred inherited the duchy.  To accept the title, Alfred was required to relinquish his seats in the House of Lords and the Privy Council to avoid a conflict of interest.  He also was also denied his British allowance but he was allowed to keep the money used to maintain Clarence House, his London residence.

Sadly, although the people of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha came to accept a “foreign” ruler, Alfred did not hold the duchy long.  He died of throat cancer on July 30, 1900 at the Rosenau Castle and is buried at the ducal mausoleum in the Friedhof am Glockenberg in Coburg.  The duke’s only son had died a year earlier and the next in the succession, his nephew Prince Arthur of Connaught had previously renounce his right and Prince Charles Edward, the son of his brother Prince Leopold, inherited the title.  

Prince Arthur William (later Duke of Connaught and Strathearn)
born – May 1, 1850 at  Buckingham Palace, London, England
died –  January 16, 1942 at Bagshot Park in Surrey, England

Prince Arthur was the third son and seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  He was christened in the Palace’s Private Chapel and it has been reported that he was the Queen’s favorite son.  Like his other siblings, Arthur received his education for private tutors until he was 16 years old.  In 1874 the Queen, much like she had previously done with her other children, bestowed an honorary title on Arthur and he became the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and the Earl of Sussex.   

Prince Arthur 1864

Arthur was enrolled for military service and he was sent to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1866.  After two years Arthur graduated and received a commission as a lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers.  Then in 1869 Arthur transferred to the Royal Artillery Regiment and had a long career in the Army serving in South Africa and Canada in 1869, Egypt in 1882 and India in 1886.

Prince Arthur - in uniform

Meanwhile, in regards to his personal life, Arthur married Princess Louise of Prussia at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Chapel on March 13, 1879.  Louise was the great-niece of the German Emperor Wilhelm I who was not only Arthur’s cousin but also his godfather.  The couple had three children – Margaret, Arthur and Patricia.  They had a London residence at Clarence House and a country home of Bagshot Park in Surrey.

Prince Arthur - wedding to Alexandra Fife  Prince Arthur - children

During Arthur’s time in Canada he had attended state functions and social events leaving a very favorable impression and he became extremely popular with the Canadian people.  Then, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister Asquith, he was appointed by his nephew, now King George V, as the Governor General of Canada in 1911 and served until 1916.  His wife and children moved from England to be with him in Canada during the length of this service.

Prince Arthur - govenor general of Canada

When Arthur returned to England he continued his military career, briefing serving in both World War I and II.  He also represented the King and his country by continuing to perform his royal duties and he served as president of the Boy Scouts Association which had officially formed in 1910.  Princess Louise died in March 1917 of influenza and bronchitis, she was the first member of the British Royal Family to be cremated and her ashes were buried at Frogmore.  Her husband, Arthur, survived her by almost twenty-five years and he died on January 16, 1942 at Bagshot Park and he is also buried at Frogmore.

Prince Leopold George (later the Duke of Albany)
born – April 7, 1853 at Buckingham Palace, London, England
died – March 28, 1884 in Cannes, France

Prince Leopold was the fourth son and the eighth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; he was given the name in honor of King Leopold I of Belgium who was the uncle to both his parents (remember that the Queen and her husband were first cousins).  The birth of Leopold was different than the labor she experienced with her other children; it was the first time that chloroform was used as an anesthesia for a royal birth.

Unfortunately, this was not the only medical condition that was to affect Leopold’s life.  As a young child he was diagnosed with hemophilia, a hereditary genetic disorder that impairs the human body’s ability to control blood clotting.  As a result of his disease, it was decided by his parents that Leopold would be under constant watch and that his physical activities would be severely restricted.  (Historical Fact:  The hemophilia disease has been traced back to Leopold’s mother, Queen Victoria.  Besides affecting not only her son, she unknowingly passed the disease onto future generations through her daughters, Alice and Beatrice, children eventually affecting several of members of the Royal families of Spain, Germany and Russia)

Prince Leopold - young

Despite his health problems, Leopold proved to be a good student studying under with private tutors appointed by Prince Albert.  In 1872, Leopold was enrolled at Christ Church in Oxford and through his interest in the game of chess became the president of the Oxford Chess Club.  While at university, Leopold was initiated into the local Freemason lodge in Oxford after being recommended for membership by his older brother, Prince Albert Edward.  After leaving university with an honorary doctorate in civil law, he spent time traveling in Europe and then Canada.   In 1881, the Queen bestowed on him the tile of Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow.

As a young man, Leopold was upset about not being able to pursue an active military career like his brothers because of the risk of injury would cause him to bleed uncontrollably.  The Queen, who was constantly worried about her son’s health, eventually allowed Leopold to receive an honorary position as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Albany Highlanders 72nd Regiment which later combined with the Seaforth 78th Regiment.

Prince Leopold - in uniform

In regards to Leopold’s personal life, unlike her other children, Queen Victoria did not pursue arranging a marriage for her son because the life expectancy of someone with hemophilia was rarely beyond childhood.  Leopold did consider several women as possible brides, one of those was Alice Liddell (it was said that a friend of her family, Lewis Carroll used her as the inspiration for his classic novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”).  Eventually, Leopold married Princess Helene Friederike on April 27, 1882 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.  The couple had a truly happy marriage and soon became parents to a daughter, Alice.

Prince Leopold and his wife  Prince Leopold - with his child

Then, while his wife was expecting their second child, Leopold went to Cannes to recover from severe joint pain brought on by his hemophilia which the harsh winter in England exacerbated while Helene stayed at home.  Unfortunately, during his time in Cannes Leopold fell hitting his head and injuring his knee.  He died the next morning from a possible cerebral hemorrhage and his body was returned to England and he is buried in the Albert memorial Chapel at Windsor.  Helene gave birth four months later to a son named Charles Edward.  (Historical Fact: Since the hemophilia gene is carried on the X chromosome and passed through a female, Leopold’s daughter Alice inherited the gene and her oldest son, Rupert, had hemophilia)

Prince Leopold children 1


Travel – Sandringham in Norfolk, England


Sandringham House is privately owned by Queen Elizabeth II and sits on the 20,000 acre royal Sandringham Estate located in Norfolk, England.  The house has been used for over 150 years by four generations of the British Royal Family; most notably it was home to the young Prince Albert (the future King Edward VII). Sandringham House has witnessed many historical events and was the location of the deaths of three Kings; King Edward VII in 1901, King George V in 1935 and King George VI in 1952.  Sandringham House was also the site of the first ever Christmas message given by a British monarch via radio broadcast by King George V in 1932.

The history of Sandringham

Long ago, at the time of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a smaller house called Sandringham Hall was first built on this site in Norfolk by the architect Cornish Henley.  Later, when the house was owned by Charles Spencer Cowper during the 19th century an elaborate porch and conservatory designed by architect Samuel Sanders Teulon were added to the house.  Then in 1862 Sandringham was purchased for Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Prince Albert the Prince of Wales.  After Prince Albert married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 and it became their new country home.  (For more information on the wedding of this popular royal couple, please click on the following post – Royal Weddings Part Two)

The royal couple quickly made many changes to the Sandringham estate with renovations to the main house, rebuilding cottages and construction of new roads on the property.  When the Prince found the house too small for his growing family and the existing house was demolished and replaced by the current Jacobean style red brick house in 1869 which was designed by architect A.J. Humbert.  After it was finally completed the new house included beautiful bay windows to bring light into the interior and a new wing with a grand ball room for when the royal couple entertained.  The newly renovated house also included some modern amenities; such as gas lighting and bathrooms with running water, flushing toilets and an early version of a shower.  The property also saw improvements done to the landscaping and a new garden wall was built incorporating the now famous Norwich Gate which is an impressive ironwork gate designed by Thomas Jekyll and was given to the royal couple as a wedding gift from the people of Norfolk and Norwich.

Sandringham Norwich Gates

Sandringham was the place for intimate royal family gatherings and visits by important guests such as Prince Albert’s nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia.  While in residence at Sandringham, the Prince thoroughly enjoyed the grounds of the estate, riding and hunting were two of his favorite outdoor activities.  Because of his love and passion for shooting, he devised a plan to make the most of the daylight hours during the winter months and for this reason clocks at Sandringham were set forward by a half an hour to allow more time for his favorite sport.  Some say that another reason for setting the clock back was because, much to King Edward’s annoyance, Queen Alexandra was constantly late.  Regardless of the reason, this custom became known as “Sandringham Time” on the estate and remained in effect even after King Edward VII death in 1910.  (Special note: King Edward VII’s son, King George V, honored the tradition set by his father and throughout his reign “Sandringham Time” stayed in effect until his own death in 1936.  At that time his son, King Edward VIII, set the clocks back to the correct time in defiance of his overbearing father)

Edward VII    King Edward VII shooting at Sandringham 1

Throughout the years the relationship between Queen Victoria and her son, Prince Albert, was very strained due to the fact that she blamed him for the untimely death of her husband which she believed Prince Albert caused inadvertently.  The Queen also disapproved of her son’s pursuit of self-indulgent pleasures of drinking, gambling and his frequent associations with married women.  For these reasons she stayed away from Sandringham and never visited during her extended period of mourning for her beloved husband and her self-imposed seclusion from public life and strong aversion of her royal duties in London.  But when Prince Albert was diagnosed with typhoid fever, the same illness that took her husband, the Queen quickly went to Sandringham fearing the worst.  Fortunately the Prince survived and a grateful Queen and in fact the entire nation celebrated that the life of the popular Prince of Wales was spared.

Prince ALbert later King Edward VII family

In 1892, more difficult times came to Sandringham when the eldest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, known as Prince Albert the Duke of Clarence, suddenly became ill with influenza and sadly he died within a short period of time.  Queen Victoria was very fond of his fiancée, Princess Mark of Teck, and after a brief period of mourning she encouraged her to marry the brother, Prince George, who was now second in line to the throne.  So, it seems despite the tragic death of Prince Albert there was a happy ending when the Duke and Duchess of York were married in 1893.  The royal couple later moved into a smaller house on the Sandringham Estate where they lived together with their growing family for the next 30 years.   (For more information on the grand wedding of this royal couple, please click on the following post – Royal Weddings Part Two)

With the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, the new King Edward VII was required to be in London and he spent less time at his beloved Sandringham. He tried to visit Norfolk whenever he could and continued to make improvements on the estate.  Unfortunately his reign was very brief and lasted less than ten years.  Some say that his over indulgent lifestyle of eating, drinking and smoking ultimately lead to his poor health.  Over his last years, he suffered from severe bronchitis and towards the end a series of heart attacks.  He died on May 6, 1910 and is buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.  After his father’s death, the new King George V and Queen Mary were very gracious when they allowed his mother, Queen Alexandra, to remain living in Sandringham House until her death in 1925.  The royal couple continued to live in their smaller house on the estate which eventually became known as the York Cottage.

York Cottage - Sandringham

During World War I, the Sanringham estate workers and men of the small villages of Norfolk formed the 5th Norfolk Regiment which was led by Captain Frank Beck, the King’s estate land agent.  The Sandringham Company was eventually sent to fight the war in Europe and sadly the entire battalion was killed in the Battle of Gallipoli in August 1915.  Some historians state that the men were killed in the battle or perished in a deadly fire cause by an exploded shell and other historians believe that some men died in the battle while the other men were executed afterwards by the Turks who took no prisoners.  To honor these fallen heroes of “The Lost Battalion” a memorial was erected near the Church of St. Magdalene located on the Sandringham Estate and was dedicated in 1920 by King George V with Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra in attendance.  (Special Note: “All the King’s Men”, which tells the story of the Sandringham Company, is a novel written by Robert Penn Warren that was first published in 1946.  The book later adapted for film in 1947 and then again in 2006)

Sandringham Company WWI memorial

Sandringham was the setting of a very sad story that involved one member of the royal family.  Prince John (born: July 12, 1905) was the fifth son and youngest child of King George V and Queen Mary.  He was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four years old and he also suffered from an intellectual disability which was later identified as a form of autism.  As his condition continued to deteriorate he was sent to live with his governess in a small cottage on the Sandringham Estate.  He eventually became almost completely isolated from members of his family with only infrequent visits by his mother and older brother.  Sadly he died at the age of thirteen on January 18, 1919 after a severe seizure and is buried in the cemetery at St. Mary Magdalene located on the estate.  Information about his condition was only released to the public after his death and there has been much controversy about his seemingly unsympathetic treatment and disappearance from the royal family but in reality he received excellent care from his loving governess and enjoyed a pleasant but quiet life living on the Sandringham Estate.   (Special note: The touching story of the short life of Prince John was made into a BBC movie in 2003.  “The Lost Prince” was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff and is currently available on DVD)

Children of King George V and Queen Mary

After King George V died at Sandringham on January 20, 1936, the estate passed to his eldest son who became King Edward VIII.  Less than a year after his accession and his unexpected abdication, a problem developed when the former King Edward VII still held the rights to the Sandringham and Balmoral estates.  Both estates had been purchased as private properties during the reign of Queen Victoria and were not included as part of the British Royal Crown.  Fortunately the matter was resolved when a financial settlement was quickly reached and the ownership of the both properties was transferred to his brother, the new King George VI.  (Special note:  Today, both Sandringham and Balmoral remain the private estates of Queen Elizabeth II who inherited them from her father when he died)

King George VI was born in 1895 in York Cottage located on the Sandringham estate. He had many fond childhood memories spent there with his grandfather and father.  Throughout the years he continued to traditionally spent the Christmas holidays there with his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.  Sadly, King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham House on the night of February 6, 1952.  It has been said that the stress of his brother’s abdication, his accession and duties as King during World War II along with his daily smoking habit caused his health to deteriorate over time and he died at a relatively young age of 56 years old.  His coffin was laid in St. Mary Magdalene church for two days before it was taken by train to London then a funeral service and burial in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch of England, also loves Sandringham and enjoys the seclusion of the English countryside.  She first visited there for Christmas 1926 when she was just eight months old.  She returned often and made regular visits with her parents to see her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary.  During World War II King George VI sent Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret,  to Windsor Caslte and they also spent extended periods of time at Sandringham staying at Appleton House to avoid the frequent and very dangerous German bombings of London.

Appleton House - Sandringham

Queen Elizabeth has customarily spent the anniversary of her father’s death and her subsequent accession quietly and privately with her immediate family at Sandringham House.  She will arrive just before Christmas and remain there for the entire month of February.  She enjoys spending time there with her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren.  (For more information on how the Royal Family spends Christmas at Sandringham and their holiday traditions, please click on the link)

There are several additional houses and cottages located on the Sandringham Estate and some of these have been mentioned already in this post.  Listed below are a few more buildings:

St. Mary Magdalene Church –

St, Mary Magdalene Church is a relatively small parish church located on the Sandringham Estate just a short distance from the Sandringham House.  The building dates back to the 19th century and a beautiful chancel, the space around the altar in the sanctuary, features carved angels on either side of the silver altar were a gift from Queen Alexandra to pay tribute to her husband, King Edward II.  Other notable features in the church include a silver pulpit, a 17th century Spanish silver cross and a Florentine marble font.

The church is of great historical interest since it has been used since the time of Queen Victoria and there are many memorials dedicated to members of the Royal Family.  As previously mentioned, Prince John, the son of King George VI, is buried in the adjacent cemetery and after his death in 1952 King George VI laid in state in the church for two days prior to his funeral and burial at Windsor.  The church is still used frequently by the Royal Family whenever they are in residence at the Sandringham Estate which is usually during the Christmas season every year.

Sandringham Christmas - St Mary Magdalene church    Sandringham Christmas - St Mary Magdalene church - interior

Park House –

Park House is located just west of Sandringham House.  When Prince Albert (later King Edward VII) acquired the property in 1862 he had several additional houses, including Park House, built to accommodate his numerous guests.  Then, in the 1930s, King George V leased Park House his friend Edmund Roche, the 4th Baron of Fermoy.  Edmund’s daughter Frances was born there in 1936.  Frances later married John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, in 1954.  Their daughter Diana, the future Princess of Wales, was born there in 1961.  Park House was Diana’s childhood home and Viscount Spencer continued leasing the house until 1975 when he became the Earl Spencer and the family moved to Althorp.  (Special note:  In 1983, Queen Elizabeth offered Park House to the Leonard Cheshire Disability organization to use as a hotel for disabled people and is now is specially designed and equipped to accommodate their needs)

Park House - Sandringham

Anmer Hall –

Anmer Hall is a Georgian-style country house built in the 18th century and is located just east of Sandringham.  Several years after Sandringham was bought by Queen Victoria for her son, Prince Albert (later King Edward VII), Anmer Hall and the surrounding land was added to the estate in 1898.  The south side of the red brick house features thirteen bays topped with stone pediments and a porch with two Tuscan-style columns while the north side of the house features a covered porch entrance.  Throughout the years the house has been a private residence for various occupants associated with the Royal Family, such as the Duke and Duchess of Kent who used it as their country house from 1972 to 1990. Recently, after the wedding of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William to Kate, the house was given to the young Royal couple.  The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have hired Charles Morris, the architect who previously worked on Prince Charles’ Highgrove House, to design extensive renovations to Anmer Hall which should be completed in time for Christmas 2014.

Anmer Hall - Sandringham

Tourist information for visiting Sandringham

As previously mentioned, the 20,000 acre Sandringham Estate is privately owned by Queen Elizabeth II and is located in Norfolk, England.  The house has been used for over 150 years by four generations of the British Royal Family.  The gardens of Sandringham were first opened to the public by King Edward VII in 1908, later the Sandringham Museum was opened by King George V in 1930 and Sandringham House was opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.

Guests should start their visit to the Sandringham Estate at the Visitor Center.  The recommended time of a typical visit is 3 to 4 hours for guests to tour Sandringham House, visit the museum, walk through the beautiful gardens, shop in the gift shop and even have something to eat at the restaurant.  For specific information regardes dates and hours of operation, prices and additional tour information please check their website at www.sandringhamestate.co.uk