Monday, 24 June 2013

Royal Pageant at Beaulieu

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, a new exhibition has been unveiled in Palace House. Royal Pageant highlights the connections between Beaulieu and the Montagu family with royalty, stretching back over eight hundred years. Items on display include personal gifts given to the family by members of the Royal Family during their visits to Beaulieu and mementos from royal occasions the family has attended.

The story starts with the founding of Beaulieu Abbey by King John in 1204 and goes on to record the sale of the estate by Henry VIII to Thomas Wriothesley, the 1st Earl of Southampton at the time of the Dissolution in 1538. The family’s lineage is traced back to Royalty, through Lord Montagu’s direct ancestor, James, Duke of Monmouth, eldest illegitimate son of Charles II.
A display of photographs from the late 1800s record a number of significant royal visits, including the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, taking his first ride in a motor car with John Montagu in 1899, an impromptu visit by the German Emperor, Wilheim II, to Palace House in 1907, several visits by Queen Mary to Buckler’s Hard during Cowes week between 1926-1928 and George VI’s visit to the Beaulieu River to see preparations for the D-Day landings in 1944.
Coronation robes and coronets

Also on display are the coronation robes and coronets worn by generations of the Montagu family at every coronation since 1821 with the exception of George VI’s in 1937 as they were too big for the then, 10 year old Edward, the current Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. Instead, he wore a black velvet suit and carried a matching velvet bag containing sandwiches to sustain him through the long service. The coronation robes were last worn by Lord Montagu at Her Majesty, the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

Lord Montagu said: “My family and the Beaulieu Estate have connections with royalty going back over 800 years. We are direct descendents of William the Conqueror and Beaulieu Abbey was a royal foundation created by King John. Its dissolution was also a royal act, leading to the sale of the estate to my ancestor, since when the family has served King, Queen and country in various ways through the centuries.

“This exhibition illustrates these connections and stands as our small tribute to the dedication of our present Queen in serving the nation for over 60 years.”

Royal Pageant is on display in Palace House and can be viewed as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction. For further information on the exhibition visit

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