During Open House Weekend, Victoria and I visited Marlborough House.
For the history of Marlborough House, see Victoria's post about her visit there in 2011 and our post from Monday, May 9, 2016.
from London Gardens Online:
Marlborough House is a former 'town mansion and genuine `hotel particulier' of 1707-11' built to a design of Sir Christopher Wren, which still possesses much of the extent of its original garden. It was commissioned by the first Duke of Marlborough but the idea for a town house was his Duchess Sarah's. She secured the lease of the site from Queen Anne and chose Wren in preference to Sir John Vanbrugh as architect, although she fell out with Wren during construction and supervised the completion of the house herself. She laid the foundation stone in 1709 and it was completed in 1711, the actual design probably drawn by Wren's son under his father's supervision. Sarah died here in 1744, and the Dukes of Marlborough had the house until 1817, after which it was given as the London home to Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After Charlotte's death Prince Leopold continued to use Marlborough House until he became King of the Belgians in 1831, the same year of William IV's accession to the throne, whose consort Queen Adelaide was granted the house for life in the event of widowhood.
The Queen Dowager continued to spend time here after the King's death and gave a wedding banquet for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. After Queen Adelaide's death it was settled on the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII as his residence from the age of 18. At that time it was substantially altered by Sir James Pennethorne, chief architect at the Office of Works. It continued in royal occupation into the 1950s, by the Duke of York later George V, Edward VII's widow Queen Alexandra, and finally Queen Mary on the death of George V came to Marlborough House in 1936 and died here in 1953. In 1959 Elizabeth II placed it at the disposal of the Government as a Commonwealth Centre, which it became in 1962, becoming the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965.
The House was wonderful, but the thing I really wanted to see was Queen Alexandra's pet cemetery. Regular readers of this blog may recall that on a previous trip to England I'd gone to Oatlands near Windsor in order to view the pet cemetery of Frederica, Duchess of York.
At Marlborough House, a leafy pedestrian lane leads one to the pet cemetery.
That Queen Alexandra loved her pets is beyond doubt, but there's also photographic proof of the fact to be seen on several of the markers in the cemetery.
Whilst not all the graves are adorned with photographs, all are evidence of grief over the loss of a beloved friend.
Kristine gets a closer look.
Even the bunnies were given dignified burials.
But perhaps the most famous of those buried here is Ceasar, owned by Queen Alexandra's husband, King Edward VII.
From The College of St. George website:
At the foot of the tomb of Edward VII in St George’s Chapel can be seen the curled up figure of Caesar, a wire-haired fox terrier and the King’s favourite dog.
Caesar was Edward VII’s constant companion, following him everywhere and travelling the world with him. His collar read “I am Caesar. I belong to the King”. Such was Edward’s love of his scruffy sidekick that he had Faberge make a trinket of Caesar, which was given to Queen Alexandra. Caesar might not have been popular with everyone, but Edward loved him.
On Edward VII’s death in 1910, Caesar is reported to have been heartbroken, barely eating or drinking, searching the rooms for his missing master.
The world was moved by photographs of the little dog, accompanied by Edward’s favourite horse, trotting faithfully behind his master through the streets of London in the funeral procession, together at the last as they had always been. Caesar even preceded the crowned heads of Europe, including Kaiser Wilhelm, an insult which it has been claimed helped fuel the animosity which led to the First World War.
Caesar went to live with Queen Alexandra, and continued his travels with her before eventually dying in 1914. She wrote for his epitaph “Our beloved Caesar who was the King’s Faithful and Constant Companion until Death and My Greatest Comforter in my Loneliness and Sorrow for Four Years after. Died April 18th 1914.″
If you've enjoyed this post, you may be interested in the Libby Hall Collection
, an online gallery of historic photos of London dogs from all walks of life - a truly fascinating site.
The actress Ellen Terry with her canine companions.