, ,



Friday, January 30, 2015


Victoria here, inviting you to our take on Clarence House, London,.  Kristine and I  booked our tour while the current residents, the Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were off on vacation.

Poster advertising the summer opening of Clarence House

This was not the greeting we received when we arrived.  Oh, well.

Clarence House is located adjacent to St. James's Palace (redbrick, on the far right) and next to Lancaster House, on the left.

1874 engraving of Clarence House

Clarence House , designed by John Nash,was built for the Duke of Clarence between 1825 and 1827. After the death of his elder brother, George IV, the duke became King William IV in 1830.  He and his wife, Queen Adelaide, continued to live in Clarence House until his death in 1837.

George IV's extensive plans with Nash for remodeling Buckingham Palace were not finished at the king's death.  According to Wikipedia, "Unlike his elder brother George IV, the Duke of Clarence was not a connoisseur of art and fine furnishings. The interior of Clarence House was plainly decorated and furnished in comparison to Buckingham Palace and York House."

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, lived at Clarence House from 1953 until 
her death in 2002 at age 101.

The Morning Room
Portrait of Princess Elizabeth, 1933 by Philip de Laszlo

The Morning Room, current photo

The Morning Room 1870's; photo by Horatio N. King
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Morning Room is pretty in blue,

The tour of Clarence House takes in only a few rooms on the ground floor. The Morning Room was the most attractive, and very feminine, as if a cloud of little princesses would materialize in their billowy organza gowns at any moment.

The Mystery Portrait?  Seems obvious to us: it is Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
But both Kristine and I are positive the guide told a story about it being a portrait of Princess Elizabeth by artist Augustus Strong who was in such awe of the sitter that he made her look awkward. When I was surfing the web for more info, I found another blog post on a visit to Clarence House that told the same story about the painting.  Must have been the same guide, the same misinformed guide,  

Dining Room

The Lancaster Room
I'm sorry to say I found this room almost claustrophobic with its crowded feeling and  myriad designs. 'Less is more' was not the byword for the creator of this decor!

The Horse Corridor

We know the Queen Mother was a horse lover and owner of a fine racing stable. This handsome corridor was a treasure trove for us horse-crazy types. For others, not so much.

The Library

No pictures are allowed on the grounds or within Clarence House. These pictures come from official sources, but I feel quite sure that I could not have taken any more attractive. Which led us to the question: is this the place that royal artwork comes to die?  While one would not exactly say it is shabby, it's not very elegant (other than the Morning Room).  Yet it seems too formal for the residents to lounge around in their bathrobes and slippers. We did not get upstairs, however, which is where they probably relax. 

The Garden Room

Prince Charles in his pram at Clarence House, 1950
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Many members of the Royal Family have lived at Clarence House in its nearly 200-year history.  Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, lived here from 1949 until they moved to Buckingham Palace in 1952 when she became Queen.  The Prince of Wales moved back to Clarence House in 2003 with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles inspired a lovely garden, which seemed to have yielded considerable produce. Gardening and land use are among the Prince's favorite interests.

 In this view from the entrance,  the adjacent St. James's Palace is clearly evident.

The View from the Mall

For more information on Clarence House, click here.

For Kristine and me, the visit only whetted our appetites for our visit to Buckingham Palace, coming soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


THIS YEAR marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, the epic climax to the Napoleonic war on Belgian soil that finally banished the spectre of French domination of the Continent and enshrined The Duke of Wellington’s place in history. Waterloo also ushered in a period of relative peace and prosperity among the major European nations that was not completely broken until the outbreak of World War One almost a century later.
Not surprisingly there are countless events planned to mark the anniversary of this pivotal battle during the week of June 15-22nd. But one group with a local connection hoping to participate is the charity Greys & Glory, which is composed of active and former members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and civilian members of the War Horse Foundation from Los Angeles.

The War Horse Foundation has been presenting the 1815 Royal Scots Greys since 2002 at events including the Tournament of Roses Parade and numerous Scottish festivals
The War Horse Foundation has been presenting the 1815 Royal Scots Greys since 2002 at events including the Tournament of Roses Parade and numerous Scottish festivals
The organizers of the charity hope to recreate the troupe of the Royal Scots Greys, a cavalry brigade sadly now defunct but whose name will be forever linked with many of the most famous chapters in British military history. The troupe was finally disbanded in 1971 after an illustrious history spanning almost three hundred years. It was the Greys who led a pivotal cavalry charge in support of the infantry during Waterloo and captured the French eagle standard from the formidable French 45th infantry division. An act immortalized in Lady Elizabeth Butler’s famous painting of the event.
The War Horse Foundation has been presenting the 1815 Royal Scots Greys since 2002 at numerous events, Scottish Festivals and the Tournament of Roses Parade. And this summer the Greys and Glory troupe will be at Waterloo presenting to an anticipated 300,000 spectators and countless millions more watching around the world. During the ceremonies they plan to hold a separate event for the veterans and active service and public to attend, commemorating the Scots Greys by reading the names of the fallen riders.
But the organization need to equip, refit, manufacture uniforms, gear and accoutrements for rider and horse. They also have to procure proper grey horses, suitable for presentation and the stimulus of guns and cannon fire. Getting the horses to Waterlool and maintaining their care is the biggest expense. They need help and donations. They are launching a crowfunding venture this month and will hold several fundraising events during the spring. To see how you can help, visitgreysandglory.org or warhorsefoundation.com. They can also be found on Facebook and can be reached at: 818 694-9277.
Fritz Bronner, the Director of the War Horse & Militaria Heritage Foundation told the British Weekly this week: “As an American, (with Scottish, English and Welsh heritage)…. it is a great opportunity for all Americans to recognize the heritage of the Greys as well as say thank you to the current British Regiment and say “thank-you” to our closest, ally and friends; Great Britain. For the many British and Scottish ex-pats , it is a chance to share their heritage and patriotism to remember and commemorate British Soldiers past and present.”