Sir Henry Beyer Robertson and his wife do not seem to have entertained guests to Palé as frequently as did his father. Suggestions are that income was not as generous as in former days; Thomas had to decrease his garden staff immediately after Henry Robertson’s death in 1888. H. B. Robertson was not involved in national political life as his father had been, and the arrival of two young daughters in a family which would eventually expand to six children kept Lady Roberson busy. However, some guests did arrive, and didn’t escape Thomas’ critical and sometimes judgmental eye.
Saturday the 25th [March] Mr Justice Williams, his wife and daughter came to stay at Palé for the Assizes at Dolgelly in the beginning of the week. Sir Henry as High Sheriff invited them to be his guests.
Sunday the 26th Sir Henry had the Judge and party about with him. The Judge is an elderly gentleman of dark complexion; his wife and daughter much resembled him; being of a gypsy cast of countenance. The lady employed at most of her time this day in winding worsted, knitting, and washing socks or stockings. In the evening Sir H with the Judge, the Sheriff Chaplain and the Judge’s secretary amused themselves by playing billiards until very late. The Rev Dan Edwards (late of Bala) now of [space not filled -ed.] Is the chaplain.
There was no private religious service, nor did any of them go to the church. Rather strange way of spending a Sabbath. It was a very miserable day to go anywhere, for much snow fell during the night with sleet showers all day, which made the roads deep in snow sludge. But such people might have spent Sunday differently.
The death of Henry Robertson in 1888 heralded a time of many changes for the Robertson family. Only the next year, in 1889 Queen Victoria’s visit with members of her family and a huge retinue brought excitement, hard work and nervous times to Henry Beyer Robertson, who had inherited the estate aged only 27, and his staff.
Sadly, only in July 1889, just a month before the Queen’s visit, Henry’s sister Annie, already widowed at 26, died aged 35. A memorial window was erected to Annie and her husband in Llandderfel church.
The success of the Queen’s visit brought a knighthood for Henry Beyer in 1890. Thomas writes: The Queen conferred the honour of Knighthood upon Mr Robertson at Windsor Castle, and Sir Henry had the additional honour of dining with her Majesty in the evening and staying in the Castle all night. The knighthood was given on 24th May, the Queen’s birthday, but as her Majesty has been in Scotland, it was not conferred until now 30th June (Monday)
He adds rather sourly: Tuesday 8th. Sir Henry returned from London. There was no reception or elevation awaiting him; it would have been otherwise if the late Mr Robertson had been Knighted.
The year continued well for Sir Henry, with his marriage in November. November 1890 Thursday the 20th This is the wedding day of Sir Henry Beyer Robertson, my employer, to Miss Keates (Florence Mary) of Llantysilio Hall, Llangollen. Sir Henry got acquainted with the family in the Spring of last year. The young ladies(there are two sisters) were with him when coracle fishing, and also when otter hunting. They were here after the Queen left here, that Sir Henry was only publicly engaged to her before he left for Windsor to be knighted on the 30thof last June. I left here by the 9.37 for Llangollen.
I walked along the canal side to Llantysilio church. We witnessed the friends of the bride and bridegroom enter the church and as I had a ticket for the church, I went in to see the marriage ceremony. The service commenced with the hymn, “Thine for ever, God of love” the bride wished to have this hymn. The service was conducted by the Rev. Herbert A. Keates B.A. brother of the bride.
I was the first to give the happy pair a shower of rice as they were going out the church porch. Several cannon were fired after the service was over, flags were displayed, and there were three evergreen arches. Sir Henry paid on the railway fares of his work people and provided a luncheon for them at the Hand Hotel, Llangollen.
The couple’s first child, evidently a ‘honeymoon baby’ arrived next August:
Sunday the 16th. Lady Robertson safely delivered of a baby girl at 7:40 am. Dr here all night, and the nurse since 5.30 yesterday evening. The baby is the first born in the hall, and it is the firstborn to any of the children of the late Mr Robertson, for although two sisters of Sir Henry married, neither have children.
Sadly, only next month came the news of the death of Sir Henry’s brother-in-law, Colonel George Wilson, husband of his sister Elizabeth. Wednesday, the 2nd September  . News came here this afternoon that Col Wilson aged 47, died on board the Teutonic, 20 hours sail outside Queenstown when returning from New York, where he had gone for the sake of a sea voyage. He died last Monday (31st) and his body taken to Liverpool.
Col Wilson lived in boyhood with his aunt at Tyddynllan near Llandrillo, one of them was the wife of the Revd John Wynne, for many years Vicar of Llandrillo Church. He entered the army, and was for some years with his Regiment (The 26th Lanarkshire or Cameronians ) in India.
Some time after returning home, he married Lily, the eldest daughter of the late Mr Robertson, sister to the present proprietor of Palé, Sir H. B. Robertson. [Note: the eldest Robertson daughter was named Elizabeth, confirmed by her baptism, marriage and census records. Lily must have been a family pet name)
The sad death of Col Wilson left the other of Sir Henry’s sisters as a young widow, Elizabeth’s younger sister Annie, Mrs Sherriff, having lost her husband Alexander in 1880, when she was 26, and she herself had died in 1889.
The new baby at the Hall was not christened until 12 days after her uncle’s funeral: Tuesday the 15th the baby of Sir Henry and Lady Robertson was christened at the church here (Llanderfel) by Mr Morgan. The baby received the name of Jean an old-fashioned Scotch name. it is frequently used in Scottish song, but a rather uncommon English name. The Bala Registrar told me that he never had to enter the name of Jean in his books before the Palé baby. The Christening was a very quiet affair.
1892 began, and within a few days, another bereavement came for the Robertson family:
Tuesday the 12th January Mrs. Robertson of Palé died at a quarter past three o’clock this morning. She has been an invalid for many years, and quite helpless for a year or two, so that it is a happy release to her.
Friday the 15th The funeral took place this morning at 10 o’clock at Llandderfel churchyard. The grave lies between that of her husband on the right of her, and that of her daughter Mrs Sherriff on her left near the west end of the church. The coffin was of polished oak with a heavy brass mountings, and the plate bore the following inscription.
Elizabeth Robertson Died January 12th, 1892 Aged 68
I acted as one of the 12 bearers. It was a fearfully cold, the ground being deeply covered with snow and an intense frost; 18 ½° in the morning whichkept on with thick hoar. My whiskers were covered with hoar frost when returning home. There were no friends from a distance, but a number of people came from the neighbourhood. There were several wreaths, and her son Sir Henry, and nephew, Mr John Dean were the chief mourners.
By August, the news in the Palé household had improved: Tuesday 9th August:Lady Robertson had a little baby (a daughter) at 12:20 o’clock mid day. Day changeable with 3 ½ hours sunshine. The daughter was named Mary Florence.
Within five years Sir Henry had experienced the deaths of his father, mother, sister and brother in law. He had been knighted, married and had two children. He had also experienced he visit of the Queen, three other members of the Royal Family and a huge retinue. He was still only 30 years old. Such a switchback of joyful and sad experiences must have been disturbing not only for his household, but for the whole staff. He must have been grateful for the loyalty of some of the long-standing members of his staff, not least the Ruddy family at the Garden House.
Throughout Thomas’ journal there are frequent references to Sir Henry and Thomas sharing love of nature, and drawing one another’s attention to natural occurrences in the Palé grounds and around the surrounding countryside. Only a short time before the birth of his second daughter, Sir Henry spotted something of interest: Tuesday the 2nd July: Sir H. B. Robertson called my attention to a pied wagtail feeding a young cuckoo on the lawn here. We watched it for some time and were much interested. The wagtail fed it as often as it could find any food for it, and the Cuckoo simply took it easy and only opened its mouth, into which the wagtail put the food.
By November 1892 Lady Robertson was seeking the company of Frances Harriet Ruddy so that the toddler Miss Jean Robertson could play with Frances’ fifth child Alfred, 18 moths older. Frances Harriet had herself lost her own mother earlier that year. Wednesday the 23rd Lady Robertson brought Miss Jean to play with Alfred, he was rather shy, but Miss Jean tried to make friends with him. Lady Robertson remarked that all the advancement was on the lady’s side.
It is to be hoped that the young family now in charge of the Palé estate found support and encouragement from their mature and loyal Head Gardener and his family.
Insights are interesting and sometimes amusing – the Queen’s preference for whisky rather than wine with meals; the request of the Indian servants for flowers in their railway carriage, somewhat contributing to the suggestion that other members of the Household thought that they gave themselves undue airs and were over indulged by the Queen. Also the picture of Thomas being allowed by the head housemaid Miss Reynolds to sit in the Queen’s chair.
At the end of the volume of Thomas’ journal he has pasted newspaper reports concerning some of the people he had met during the visit.
It must be acknowledged that the Queen worked hard while at Palé, for she was out to somewhere every day. I learned that her Majesty keeps very regular hours; she get up at 8 am, has breakfast at 10, but takes a cup of tea when she gets up. The Queen gets through a good deal of business before 10 o’clock. The Queen is fond fruit and has usually a plate of fruit on her breakfast table; she is more fond of peaches than grapes. If the weather is at all favourable, her Majesty is very fond of having her breakfast in a tent on the lawn; the weather was unsettled for that here. Luncheon time is at 1 o’clock,, and dinner at 9 o’clock, rather a late hour. Her Majesty’s usual dinner beverage is whisky, either in seltzer or Lithia water, she never drinks beer and seldom wine.
Her Majesty usually sat up writing until one or 2 o’clock in the morning. When her Majesty dined upstairs, she always had the Princess Alix with her, sometimes Lady Churchill, sometimes the Hon. Harriet Phipps, at other times Sir John McNeil, Sir H. Ponsonby, or any other to make up a party of four with her, including Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, making five with the Queen. The chief Indian helped the Queen down the stairs, the Queen taking hold of his arm, and holding onto a thick cord put up for the purpose with the right-hand. Her Majesty had to be carried upstairs, an Indian and a Highlander always carried her Majesty upstairs on a chair kept for the purpose; whichever of them went before her Majesty, had to walk backwards. The Queen’s maids are called “dressers” and not ladies’ maids. When they retire from the Queen, they bow to her Majesty by bending the right knee and wheel around and away. When Lady Churchill all the Hon. H Phipps retired, they bent the knee and made a graceful bow. When Mr. Robertson was presented by Mr Raikes to her Majesty, he went down on his right knee and kissed Her Majesty’s hand. I was told that the Queen asked Mr Thompson, her page, at a dinner where the fruit for her table was from, because she remarked that it was very beautiful fruit. Indeed her Majesty is in the habit of making enquiries into things, and takes much notice of the servants of her household.
There was a master cook (Mr Feltham), a meat cook,(Mr Tustan) a pastry cook (Mon. Ferry), and a roasting cook (Mr. Goring). There was a kitchen maid with the Queen, Miss Lamond, a Balmoral Lassie, and a head housemaid, a native of Suffolk, named Miss Reynolds. Mr. Bishop was the Queens upholsterer. Then there was a tapissier, a cellar man, several tall strong looking footmen, some in scarlet and gold liveries. The four Indians being Mahometans, cooked for themselves, and would not eat any meat except it had been killed by themselves. They only have fowls while they were here. The chief Indian came with the one Mr Clark introduced to me, the evening they were going to leave and wanted a few flowers to put in their carriage when in the Royal train. Both were tall, about 5’10” live and very active men. They were natives of Agra. They were dark brown in colour, but a little man who acted as Cook was rather darker in colour. I got them to give me their names; the chief wrote for both, because he was able to write in English, and he learned since he came over in the year of the Jubilee. The chief wrote his name as follows – “Mūnshi Hafiz Abdul Karim, Indian Clerk to the Queen Empress”. Both were very pleased with me for showing them the flowers and fruit. The chief Indian was belonging to a lancer regiment when in India, and he often amuses the Queen by going through the tent pegging on and Arabian horse.
Mr. Schoberth acts as a factotum in looking after indoor supplies, and general management. He is shrewd German. The dressers were elderly ladies; they did not go out with the Queen to any place while here. They dined with the upper servants. The Queen brought a couch and an easy chair with her, both were upholstered in figured damask. There were two little pillows on the couch, one at each end. The chair was a low, very comfortable one to sitting, for I sat in it ( by the request of Miss Reynolds) and looked nice in its crimson and gold damask. The Queen always takes a bedstead and bedding with her wherever she goes. It is her travelling bed. It was a plain half tester mahogany with curtains of figured white muslin, and green satin hangings. The counterpane was a beautiful work of art; it had figures of squirrels, butterflies, foliage and fruit worked all over it in raised work, and most beautifully done. The material of it was all fine soft satin. The Queen also brought an inkstand with her it is made from the hoof of the favourite horse, which Prince Albert used to ride out on, and on which Her Majesty used to ride too. The hoof was gold mounted and had an inscription on it to say it was the hoof of Prince Albert’s horse.
The Queen brought a large quantity of massive silver plate to Palé; the articles were heavy. The glass was also very good cut glass ornamented with the crown. Her Majesty had peas, French beans, cauliflower, etc. from the garden. I had plenty of vegetable marrows but her Majesty is not fond of them. Prints and Princess Henry of Battenberg are fond of fruit, the Prince is fond of white grapes. I had the pleasure of packing the Queens fruit box, the one she takes with her when travelling. It is a moderate size square silver box, about 10 inches long seven wide and four deep I put a good little bunch of grapes into it, two peaches, and two pears I had from Mon. Ferry. The Queen was to take it with her for use on the way to Scotland.
Wednesday 28th The Queen’s horses, carriages, stablemen, police, pages and Mr and Mrs Manning left at 10 o’clock forenoon in a special train for Windsor and London. The Queen had 15 horses, and 10 men in the stables; in fact I may say we had all the Queen’s horses and all the Queens men to put Humpty Dumpty up again. The carriages were travelling carriages, and the horses were useful roadsters, but nothing much to look at. The pony for the garden chair was 26 years old, strong and bulky. The little carriage was very comfortable one on four wheels. The men in the stables cooked their own food in the saddle room. Carriages were plain but comfortable. The men were very civil and allowed me to take any friends through the stables to see the horses, and to look at the carriages.
Many people called here during the day to see Palé and the grounds. I went through with the Fronderw family, Mrs Jones and young ladies. Mr and Mrs Edwards of Liverpool were here also, and had tea with us.
Thursday the 29th. Many people here today and again to see through the house and grounds. The Queen’s Cooks left for Windsor. I brought out all of my plants and vases again for fear of getting injured.
Both Highlanders at Palé, Hugh Brown and Francis Clark were related to John Brown.
At 4.30 the Queen accompanied by the Princess Alix and Lady Churchill passed out at my house on the way to see Bala Lake. Mr. Savage told us to expect the Queen to pass out at the above time. Frances (TR’s wife) got the three little ones (Frances Harriet, Caroline Elizabeth and Amelia Agnes ) to stand in a group with Amelia in the middle on the table in front of the parlour bow window to see the Queen pass. The three were not close to the window for fear it might be offensive to Her Majesty, but they could easily be seen, and they looked a pretty group with their smiling faces. When the carriage was passing the Princess saw them and smiled at them, and then pulled the Queen by the sleeve so as to call her attention to them; when the Queen saw them she smiled at them and nodded to them very pleasantly. We all had a good view of her, and we thought it very gracious of herself and the Princess to take such notice of the children.
After tea, Frances took Henry as far as Tyndol for a walk, on returning the Queen’s carriage passed them, Frances bowed, and Henry touched his cap, Her Majesty acknowledged them by bowing to them. During the afternoon, Mr. Robertson told him the Queen had been talking with him in the morning, and that she asked him about me,and was very pleased to hear him say I came from Scotland. Mr. Robertson also said that when the Queen glanced at the fossils on entering the fruit room and before I got there, she remarked how very like an Ammonite my specimens of Lithuites were – a remark which shows Her Majesty has a good eye when looking at such things. Mr. Robertson also added that he was very pleased to see the Queen take such deep interest in my collection, and he said he did not think the Queen was much of a geologist but that she was certainly much interested.
At 6.30, Mr. Hugh Brown, Her Majesty’s Highland attendant came to me and giving me a small brown case, said “The Queen bid me give you this”, on opening it I found it to contain a very beautiful gold and pearl scarf pin. I was highly pleased with my present, and asked him how I was to thank Her Majesty, at which he said, “I am to do that for you, for I know the lassie gie weel.” I felt most grateful, and will all my life value it and treasure it as a precious relic, given to me by the best Queen who has occupied the throne of England for centuries, and perhaps the best that ever occupied it.
Hugh Brown was the brother of the more famous John Brown. See a letter from Queen Victoria to Hugh Brown here
Thomas left the scarf pin in his will to his eldest son by his second marriage, The Revd. Henry Ruddy. I do not know what then happened to it thereafter, but it was not amongst the objects left in the will of Henry’s only son Denys.
Her Majesty would have given it to me from her own hand if there had been time to do so, and I understand it is her usual custom to do so if at all convenient. The pin is heavy, of very good gold, horseshoe shape,* [*footnote Mrs. Wilson (Mr. Robertson’s sister) told me that the Queen is fond of giving horse-shoe articles, because it is thought they bring good luck] and is studded with nine large and beautiful pearls. It has quite a striking and handsome appearance. I learned from one of Her Majesty’s attendants that the Queen had been reading the chapter on the Silurian rocks of the Dee valley, which Mr. Darlington of Llangollen got me to write for insertion into his Guide to the Dee Valley. The queen remarked to the attendant that it was written by the gardener here, and added “And he comes from Scotland.”
Mr. Francis Clark told me that I got through my interview with the Queen very well, considering I came from Scotland! Both Highlanders are evidently valued and faithful servants of Her Majesty, and both were good natured and free in manners. Mr. Grant, a Queen’s Messenger was also very good nature, and so were nearly all the attendants.
Tuesday Evening At 9.30 we went to the station to take our places so as to witness the departure of the Queen and her suite. There were 400 or 500 persons present some of them from Bala. The Llanderfel choir were on the stand in their costumes, and had Chinese lanterns. Banners were everywhere to be seen, and when the time for the departure was near, the heather arch near the station was illuminated, but the wind was rather high for it to look well. All the houses in the village and neighbourhood were illuminated, which had a very pretty effect. On Moel Calch there was a bonfire which burned brightly and added very much to beautify the scene. A little before ten o’clock an outrider came up and shortly after theQueen came in an open carriage with the Prince and Princesses. The people were most enthusiastic and cheered loud and long and the Choir sang the National Anthem. The Queen bowed to the people and was evidently well pleased. The members of her household were also cheered, and when the Queen alighted from her carriage, she walked with the aid of the stick which she accepted from the Llanderfel people. There was a mottoe (sic) spanning the way to the train which said “Come again!”
The Royal train left the station two or three minutes past ten, the Queen put her head out at the carriage window and said “I Thank you all very much”. The people cheered again and again, the choir sang on until the Royal train went from sight, and nothing could be nicer than the whole scene, a scene which all can never forget. The loyalty and behaviour of the people could not be better, and after the Queen left, all dispersed quietly to their homes. Crowds of people cheered the Royal train at every station on the way to Chester.
‘I never expected to have the great pleasure of talking quietly with her face to face, and to have the pleasure of showing my collection to our beloved Queen was quite beyond all expectation.‘ This unusually lengthy passage details a moment which was certainly the highlight of the Queen’s visit for Thomas, and probably the highlight of his entire life.
After planting a tree in the garden, the Queen and Princess Alix proceed to the fruit room where encouraged by Dr. Reid the Queen makes a detailed and close examination of his fossil and mineral collections. Her question about the age of a bronze age axe has to bee seen in the light of the Darwinian controversy earlier in her reign, and the tension between church and science about the age of the Earth. The Queen’s question has to be seen as forensic, and Thomas’ reply as diplomatic! Her question about his origins in Scotland show that his accent even after so many years away from Jedburgh had remained Scottish. He certainly wasn’t going to divulge his Irish roots.
The Queen’s Journal mentions to inspection of the fossils only briefly. Since we are reading Princess Beatrice’s redaction of the original Journal it is not possible to say whether she mentioned Thomas. Beatrice was known to excise mention of the servants from her version of the Journal, thus diplomatically excising mentions of John Brown or the Munshi Abdul Hafiz.
Sir Theodore Martin called at Palé during the morning, and returned to Berwyn before luncheon. Colonel Wilson and Mr. Darby came from Brymbo accompanied by the heads of various departments at the steel works, exhibited specimens of ornamental steel to Her Majesty, and had specimens to illustrate the process of steel manufacture. Mr. Robertson went with them. Mr. Edwards of Trevor showed Her Majesty specimens of his TerraCotta (sic) Several others exhibited various articles.
The queen next wished to plant a tree in the grounds in memory of her visit; everything was ready and Her Majesty planted a Turkey Oak a little beyond the end of the lawn tennis ground. Her Majesty took one of the garden steel spades in her hand and with the help of Mr. Clark her Highland attendant put some fine earth on the root of the tree, and said ‘Shall I put a little more on it’. Her majesty was accompanied by the Princess Alix of Hesse (The Queen’s granddaughter ), Lady Churchill, Mr. Robertson and the aboveMr. Francis Clark. Mr. Cameron and I were present to see the ceremony, which was performed at quarter to twelve noon.
After the ceremony was over, the Queen asked which way she was to go next, so Mr. Robertson asked her if she would like to see the cromlech, the Queen said ‘Yes’ and added, ‘Anywhere.’ Mr Clark then led the pony ( the Queen had entered her pony carriage) along the lower walk under the Cromlech wood; the Queen walked from her little carriage to see the cromlech, and after the Queen was seated again, Mr. Robertson guided her to the end of the long walk, from which they then returned by the upper walk and crossed the lawn again as when going to the front of the Hall. From there, they came by the front, passing the gun room, until they arrived sat the little iron gate leading to the Lower, or fruit garden. Here the Queen got out to walk round the lower garden.
During the time the Queen was along the long walk, or “Queen’s Walk” as it ought to be called now, I went to get in the fruit for luncheon. I was coming from the upper or Kitchen garden when I was met by Mr. Francis Clark whotold me that I must come at once to go with the Queen around the garden. I followed Mr. Clark, and as the Queen by this time had got to the end of the walk leading to the conservatory. Mr. Clark and I went round the west end of the garden and past the conservatory to the store door; here Mr. Clark told me to stay until I was called; the Queen continued her walk until she got to the fruit room steps; here a halt was made as the Queen expressed a wish to go up into the fruit room to see my fossils etc. Dr Reid was in possession of it with the door open [TR’s footnote: I used to leave the key of the fruit-room on a nail for Dr. Reid to see the fossils at his leisure]; the doctor was near the door, examining the fossils, he told the Queen he was much interested in the fossils, and Her Majesty said ‘I fear you are more interested in the fruit than in the fossils.’ – This caused a laugh at the Doctor’s expense. The Doctor then came out and told the Queen it wasvery interesting up there – meaning the fruit- room. The Queen was then helped up the stone steps and Mr. Clark was at once sent back for me to go to explain the collection to Her Majesty.
On entering the fruit room, I found the Queen with her head down looking over the fossils; Mr Robertson was standing on the left by the door, Mr. Francis Clark on the right near the door, Lady Churchill in the north passage of the fruit room, and the Princess Alix standing at the end next the door of the south passage. The Princess looked straight at me, and as the Queen was stooping over the fossils, I bowed to the Princess, who nodded back. On the Queen raising her head, she looked at me, Mr. Robertson said, “This is the gardener,”and when I bowed the Queen nodded, and then said “These are very wonderful and must be very interesting,” and added, “Did you get these yourself?” I answered Her Majesty that I collected and arranged them all myself, then Her Majesty said, “Very nice” and continued examining the specimens. I pointed out to the Queen the arrangement of the various groups and their peculiarities, the Queen remarking as I went on “Yes, yes.”
I took up one of the tablets [TR’s footnote Echinospherites balticus]and showed the Queen the label on the back of it, which gives particulars of the locality where the fossil was found and other information. Her Majesty read the label slowly and carefully, and then said “Very nice”. When Her Majesty looked at my specimens of univalves or fossil snailshells, she remarked, “Wonderful, so natural”. Then Her Majesty asked me, “Are these from near here?” I told Her Majesty that they were to be found in various locations between Corwen and Bala, and that Bala was the typical district for Bala fossils, but they were also to be found near Llangollen. Her Majesty then said “This part must be rich in these”, and after a prolonged examination Her Majesty said “Very nice”.
The Princess [TR’s footnote Now Empress of Russia –Nov 1894] took up the tablet on which the gold quartz from Gwynfynydd or the Morgan minewas fixed, I told the Princess to take it to the door where the light was best, and then the Princess examined it carefully as I pointed out where the visible gold was to be seen. The Queen was much interested in it, and when I told Her Majesty that it was from the Morgan mine near Dolgelly, Her Majesty gave me a nod and smiled very knowingly, as much as to say plainly “All that glisters is not gold.” In fact the mine has been so puffed that people are distrustful of it. [TR’s footnote (it was a failure afterwards)]
The Princess Alix then called the attention of Her Majesty to my flint flakes, stone hatchets bronze hatchets, etc. Her Majesty took up the bronze hatchet or Celt in her hand, examined it, read the label on it, and asked me if it was found near here, I said it had been found on the estate, then Her Majesty took it between her fingers, and looking at me closely and straight in the face said “Can you tell me the age of this?” I at once answered “I think that is beyond man’s knowledge, Your Majesty,” and as I said this I looked full into Her Majesty’s face, which was only half a yard from mine; Her Majesty still looking into my face said, “Well, I suppose it is.”
After that the Queen seemed to have finished her inspection of the fossils,and as she was standing looking round at the room, Lady Churchill told her Mr. Robertson wished her to have a peach; Her Majesty said “Not now” [TR’s footnote; When the queen was inspecting the fossils and chatting, she was at her natural ease, but stood dignified when talking ofthe fruit.] and then added “You have very fine peaches and grapes here,indeed, very fine fruit.”
When the Queen prepared to go down the steps again, her pug dog went to get down, but seemed afraid to go, and stood whining on the top step. Her Majesty then said to Mr. Clark the Highland attendant “Carry him down carefully,” and then smiling and looking at all of us said, “He has the rheumatism and cannot well go down.” Then when Her Majesty was being helped down the steps, Mr. Robert son told me to go before and open the hot house doors for Her Majesty. The Queen looked into the forcing houses but was afraid to go through for the heat, then she walked slowly and stiffly along the back of the forcing houses until she got to the end of the peach house, here she stopped to admire a beautiful border of penstemons in full bloom; then she walked slowly after me through the peach-house, remarking to the Princess when she saw the peaches caught in nets, “That is very nice”, then through the conservatory, and on getting into the vinery, Her Majesty looked at me in the face and said, “I suppose this is a good country for fruit and flowers.” I said it was very fair.
We got out at the west door of the vinery, and then past the flower border in which grew Love-in-a-mist, Victoria asters,salpiglotis, gladioli, Rockets, Dahlias, and sunflowers next the wall. Then past the narrow flower border, in which grew dwarf chrysanthemum, asters, peony asters and African marigolds. Her Majesty admired the flowers, and stopped when she got near the west entrance gate to admire the iron palisade which was almost hidden with flowers, consisting of clematis, scarlet and yellow nasturtiums, the yellow creeper Tropaeolum Canariense, and the Tropaeolum Speciosum. The whole had a striking and beautiful effect, and as Her Majesty looked at it, she called the attention of the Princess Alix to it and said, “Isn’t that beautiful,” and then said as she pointed to the Tropaeolum Speciosum “That is a pretty little red plant.”
When Her Majesty got seated in her pony carriage, she turned to me and said “What part of Scotland do you come from?” I said “From Jedburgh,Your Majesty,” at which the Queen remarked to Lady Churchill, “That is near Floors” (Floors Castle, Kelso), Lady Churchill said “It is”, then the Queen said looking at me again “I have been there”, and I said “And to Jedburgh too Your Majesty”, the Queen at that nodded to me and said “Yes”. Then she said “I do not wish to get out again”.
Mr. Robertson then told me to go on before and tell the stable keepers to open the stable doors so that the Queen could look in. When the pony carriage was led past the doors, Her Majesty said “I see they are very nice.” After that the Queen continued her out past my house, and went down the road to see the laundry, and the other houses there, and returned up the drive to the Hall. I left at the gate here as I wished to finish getting the fruit. Mr. Robertson signalled to me the time to leave. I left my hat near the outside of the fruit room door when I entered, and went afterwards round with the Queen without it. Mr Robertson did the same.
When I went to the Queen in the fruit room, I felt nervous, but Her Majesty’s very pleasant way of speaking to me, and her kind manner eased me very much. Indeed, her manner was simplicity itself. Her way of speaking was in short sentences, and like stout people with a little difficulty. The queen evidently wished me to feel at ease, for she looked pleasantly at me and spoke very kindly to me.
Before Her Majesty came to Palé I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get a good look at her, but I never expected to have the great pleasure of talking quietly with her face to face, and to have the pleasure of showing my collection to our beloved Queen was quite beyond all expectation. To me certainly it was a Red Letter Day, and I fully appreciated Her Majesty’s kindness in honouring my collection with a visit.
The Queen is under middle height, has a very full round face very stout, and hair grey. She wore a dress having black and grey stripes, a black mantle with a fringe to it. Her hat was large, of boat shape, with white flowers in front. When walking she took short steps and walked stiffly, from the effects of her rheumatism, I expect. I was pleased to see the great interest Her Majesty took in everything.
When I went back to the fruit room for my hat, I found Dr. Reid inspecting my collection again, as soon as he got Her Majesty away he went back again, and there I left him as I wanted something to eat. Mr. Minshall of the Oswestry Advertiser was in my house waiting for me to get particulars of my interview with the Queen, but I declined to say more than that her Majesty inspected my collection with much interest.
After the Queen had luncheon, Mr. Evan Morris, Mayor of Wrexham, arrived at Palé and was knighted by Her Majesty. Sir John McNeill handed his sword to Her Majesty, and as Mr. Morris knelt on his right knee, Her Majesty touched him on both shoulders with the sword, and addressing him as Sir Evan Morris, commanded him to rise. Sir John Puleston also came to Palé and was presented to the Queen by Mr. Raikes. Mr. Raikes left during the afternoon. I only saw Mr. Raikes when he was with the Queen at the dog trials; he was very tall, stout and full-faced.
The fruits produced in the hothouses of Palé Hall were obviously popular, not only with Queen Victoria who was presented with them for her breakfast, but also with her household, several of whom found Thomas in the garden asking for a peach. When Sir John McNeill found Thomas with fruit in mind, the two amateur antiquarians got into conversation, with interesting details revealed about a Viking burial on a Scottish island.
Tuesday August the 27th I sent in fruit for the Queen’s breakfast and saw to various things, and at 9 o’clock Sir John McNeill hunted me up in the garden to get a peach from me. When we were talking about antiquities, Sir John told me that stone hatchets were frequently to be found in the Western Highlands, and on his estate in the Isle of Colonsay he lately discovered the remains of a Viking, and with the remains there were armour, enamelled ornaments, bronze scales and other curious things. Sir John told me he put the bones of the Viking and various other articles in a velvet lined box and sent the whole to the museum Edinburgh on loan, and that they were there now. Sir John also added that a Swede who had read about the find was so interested in one of the articles found that he came over to Edinburgh to see it, and on getting to Edinburgh he found the precious relic had been lentto a gentleman in the West of Scotland, so thither the Swede went to see it, – so anxious was he to examine it. I was much pleased with the manner of Sir John.
Prince and Princess Henry of Battenburg left here by the Royal Train for Barmouth to lay the foundation stone of the Barmouth new Church. The Hon. Harriet Phipps and Major Bigge went with them to be in attendance. The Royal train arrived at Barmouth at 12.50. The greater part of the county Magistrates and several ladies were at Barmouth to receive the Prince and Princess.
Barmouth was gaily decorated and an immense number of people were in the town. There was a procession from the station to the site of the church, a short way off. The Bishop of the Diocese (Bishop of Bangor) and the Bishop of London (The latter was staying at the time at Dolgelly) were there, and many clergymen. The Princess received a silver trowel and laid the stone in the presence of a large assembly of people. The church is to cost £20,000, and of this sum, Mrs Dyson Perrins and her family give three fourths, and £3,500 has been subscribed by others. Mrs. Perrins lives in a large house near Barmouth, on the way to Llanaber. Mrs. Perrins is of the sauce makers of the firm Lea and Perrins.
After the stone was laid, the Marchioness of Londonderry from Plas Machynlleth gave a luncheon at the Corsygedol (note – a Barmouth Hotel) to the Prince & Princess, the bishops, Lord H. Vane Tempest, Lord and Lady Harlech, Mr.W.R.M. Wynne of Peniarth, Mrs. Dyson Perrins and members of her family from Brynmymach, Barmouth and a fewothers. Lady Londonderry was the principal in getting the Princess to lay the stone.
The Lord Lieutenant of the County, Mr. R.D. Pryce of Cyfronyd, gave a luncheon in the Masonic Hall to the county magistrates and others. After luncheon, the Prince and Princess, with the Marchioness of Londonderry drove to Aberamffra harbour and back on to the esplanade; they were loudly cheered on the way and were everywhere well received.
At 4.10 they left in a Cambrian saloon for Minfford junction where they got into a train of the Toy or Festiniog Railway on their way to Plas Tanybwlch and had tea with Mr. Oakley, the owner of the Plas and the large estate around. Mr. Oakley afterwards drove the Royal party to Maentwrog Road station, from there they came home by the Royal train a little after 7 o’clock.
For Thomas, the main event of the morning was the opportunity to show several senior members of the Queen’s household his fossil collection. Sir Henry Ponsonby, Sir John McNeill and Dr. Reid seem to have been interested in the well displayed collection which Henry Beyer Robertson had asked him to display during the visit. See here for the Royal Household
Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry had an eventful visit to a coal mind during the morning, descending to the coal face, hewing a piece of coal each, and setting off an electrical charge. Meanwhile the Queen’s morning began with her marking with sadness the birthday of her late husband. “This dear dear day, spent for the 27th time without my darling Husband, the light of my life.” A carriage ride up the hill road behind Palé towards the Berwyn mountains, providing her with good views may have lightened her mood. Thomas found a number of interested people arriving at his house to get a view of the Queen.
Monday the 26th. There was nothing very particular going on until breakfast was over. At 10.30 Prince Henry, the Princesses, the Hon. Harriet Phipps & Major Bigge in attendance, left here in the Royal train for Ruabon to go a coal pit. The carriage of Major Evan Morris (Mayor of Wrexham) was waiting at the station and took them to the Winnstay Colliery, half a mile away. At the coal pit they put on dust cloaks and caps,the gentlemen put on overalls. They were accompanied in the descent by Major Morris, chairman of the colliery, the engineer, the underground manager, Sir W. Wynn, and others connected with the colliery. They were pushed along in tubs for about five hundred yards, and on getting to the coal, each cut out a piece with a pick; afterwards the Princess Beatrice fired a shot by electricity to bring down some coal, and then the party returned to the surface. They kept the pieces of coal they got out as trophies, and were well pleased with their visit. The miners, above and below the surface cheered them heartily. The Royal party got back here in time for luncheon.
A good drawing of Princess Beatrice hewing coal, originally from ‘The Graphic’ here (not available on this page for copyright reasons)
At 11.20, the Queen, attended by Lady Churchill, went out at the gate by my house for a drive over the Berwyn road.When the queen passed my house, she took a good look at itso that we had a close and full view of her. My friend Mr. Robinson of Shrewsbury came into my house to see the Queen pass, and three ladies from Bournemouth (the Misses Hull) friends of Mrs. Roy asked to come in too so as to have a view of the Queen. They were all satisfied, for they had an excellent view of her. Mrs. Roy (Mrs. Robertson’s sister) lives near the Misses Hull at Bournemouth, and as they were coming to Bala, Mrs.Roy told them to come to me and I would be sure to show them all there was to be seen at Palé. They came to me three or four times last week, and their great ambition was to see the Queen in her pony carriage anywhere in the grounds. They are ladies pretty well in years, and as they made themselves agreeable, I did all I could for them, but they could not see the Queen in her pony carriage. The Misses Hull took much interest in my collection of fossils and other objects of interest. They told me that Mrs. Roy often talked about me, so that in name I was no stranger to them.
The two Highlanders accompanied the Queen in her carriage, but no other guards or attendants. Mr. Robertson went up the hill on foot and met the carriage at the head of the old lane at Wernol, there he was taken into the carriage and sat with the Highlanders, and then he acted the guide to the Queen. They went to Palé stables on the hill near Pontcwmbedw; here the Queen had a good view of all the Berwyn heights, the valley ofLlandrillo and a retrospect view of the hills north and west ofBala. On the return journey the Queen had a distant view of Snowdon, the Moelwyns at Festiniog and a very pleasant view of the valley of the Dee from Llanderfel to Bala. The route for two miles went through a wild moorland, covered in heather in full bloom. Palé mill is the only roadside dwelling all the way from here to where the Queen went, and indeed for three or four miles further. The distance from here to Palé grousing stables is 3 and a quarter miles.
At Mr. Robertson’s request I laid out my collection of fossils in the fruit room, which is a well-lighted and convenient place to display it. I arranged the fossils into groups, according to their natural divisions. The fossils are mounted on little wooden tablets,
covered with blue paper, so that when spread out there is nothing to be seen but the blue surface, the fossils, and the labels with the names. On the back of each tablet there is a label to give the exact locality of the fossil and other information about it. The arrangement of the collection has a pleasing and effective appearance, and as most of the specimens are good, even those who know little or nothing of geology usually take an interest in the collection.
The kinds of fossils that would have been displayed in Thomas’ collection.
Mr Robertson told Dr. Reid that I had a well known collection, and the Doctor said he wished to inspect it. I got out several other objects of interest, such as visible gold in quartz from the much vaunted Mount Morgan or Gwynfynydd gold mine at Dolgelly, a fine bronze celt found on Palé estate, two stone celts from Antrim, Ireland, flint arrowhead from near Arenig, flint flakes from Bala Lake. I also had a geological map of North Wales, books on geology and the local Natural History of the district. I did not display all my local fossils, but the selection covered a space ten feet in length and two feet in width.
After the Queen went out for a drive, I had the pleasure of conducting General Sir Henry Ponsonby and General Sir John McNeill over the gardens and hot houses, and also of showing them my fossils and the other objects laid out. Both gentlemen were most surprised at the extent of my collection and took much interest in all I showed them. The gold quartz was of much interest to them, and Sir Henry asked me to point out on the map the situation of the Mount Morgan gold mine. They were very chatty and of pleasant manner, so that I felt quite at ease with them.
Sir Henry is very tall, six feet or over, Sir John about 5 ft 8 to 5ft 9. I gave Sir John a peach when leaving the fruit room. Sir Henry said he never ate fruit in the morning. Dr. Reid and I had a minute inspection of my collection and I gave him much information about them. Dr. Reid took special interest in the various groups, and examined them with care. I left the key of the door in a place where he could find it at any time, and he said he would go and look over the collectiuon whenever he had time.
The Queen returned from the Berwyns at half past twelve o’clock; when passing my house, we had another good view of her as she looked at the creepers on the house when passing. The pretty scarlet Tropaeolum speciosum was well in bloom, and much admired by everybody.
Thomas again provides fruit for the royal breakfast, then comments on the events of the day: the Queen attends a service led by the Bishop of St. Asaph, she goes for a short expedition in the Pony Chair, and then a longer outing in her barouche taking in a visit to Crogen, the former home of the Robertson family before they came to Palé.
Sunday the 25th It was a little quieter here today, but the baker’s cart had to come from Corwen, and one or two tradesman’s traps came from Bala with supplies. I was up at 7.15, went over the gardens, then got the letters and my breakfast. After my breakfast I sent in fruit for the Royal breakfast table, and saw that all was right in my department.
Alfred George Edwards (1848 -1937)
He had only recently become Bishop of St. Asaph in March of 1889. Much later in a distinguished career in 1920 on the disestablishment of the Church in Wales he became its first Archbishop.
In her journal for the previous evening the Queen calls Edwards ‘a pleasing and very young-looking man’.
Photograph of A. G. Edwards, Bishop of St Asaph (later Archbishop of Wales), c. 1910 postcard published by G. D. & D., London. Public domain
At 11 o’clock the Queen had the Bishop of St. Asaph to officiate at Divine service in the Hall; the Bishop was assisted by some of the choir from St. Asaph, and after the service was over the Bishop left for Corwen where he had stayed the previous night. The service lasted but a short time. Mr. Savage, inspector of the Windsor police told me that if the Queen had been settled here for any time, she would be sure to have the servants all connected with her present at the service. But as this was an exceptional stay, there were but few at the Bishop’s service.
At 12 noon the Queen went out in her pony carriage, accompanied by Prince Henry andthe Princesses, the Highlanders, a footman, and Hugh Edwardswere to follow at about 50 yards distance, so as to be ready to answer questions if wanted. The procession went slowly down the drive to the back of Brynbwlan, then turnedback to the park gate, and from there down the park to the riverside, crossing the railway at the level crossing. They went along the riverside walk to Brynselwrn Meadow near Calethor brook, and returned the same way. I had a view of the party when starting: it came on a little rain, so the pony stopped a minute or two, then the Queen said something and laughed a little, and then they went on again. They returned at 1 o’clock for luncheon. There was a little rain during the afternoon.
At 5 o’clock the Queen went out in her barouche, and took the Llanderfel villagers by surprise by driving through the village, then along the lane on the north side of the riverto Cilan bridge, and returned by the south side. The carriage entered Crogan grounds at the lodge, stopped for a minute or two at the door of Crogan tospeak to Mr. Robertson who was there to meet her. Mr. Robertson handed the Queen a small bunch of white heather from Miss Calverley, for which the Queen thanked the child. Mrs. Calverley stood near, but was not spoken to. Mr. Calverley had gone outfor a walk. On getting back to Bryntirion, the Queen continued her outing over Llanderfel bridge and on to Fronheulog lodge so as to get a good view of Palé and the south side of the river, getting back to Palé at 7 o’clock.
In the evening the Llanderfel Choir sang a selection of sacred music before the Queen. After the Queen went out in the barouche, Prince Henry, Sir Henry Ponsonby, Sir JohnMcNeill and Major Bigge passed my window here and went up the hill for a walk so as to have a view from Palé hill. There was much excitement in the village for it was thought that the Queen would go to the Church service, and in the evening when the Queen’s carriage returned from the drive.
Queen Victoria’s account here Note her version of Llanderfel as Llandifer.
No recent activity
This file hasn’t been updated in the past year.
Out of space?
Try Dropbox Business!Try it free
Thomas had plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his skill as Head Gardener on Saturday 24th August. Having provided fruit for the royal breakfast, he once again picked peaches and grapes from the hothouses for the meal in the evening. As well as this he decorated the table with flowers from the garden, chiefly, it seems carnations and pinks.
Having organised the tennis court for the party in the morning, once again Thomas put out the tennis equipment and was rewarded in the late afternoon by the sight of Princess Beatrice and her husband and Princess Alix with members of their household playing tennis. Visitors to Palé might bring to mind the sight of the future ill-fated Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna playing tennis on a Welsh lawn.
Queen Victoria sent him her bouquet from the previous day and asked him to strike cuttings from the myrtle it contained. Myrtle was very significant to Victoria as she had been given a plant by her late husband’s grandmother some of which was used in her wedding bouquet, and plants from it were established at Osborne in the Isle of Wight, from where royal brides continue to carry sprigs in bridal bouquets.
The highlight of the day came when having arranged a group of flower vases on the Queen’s supper table, he and his wife Frances were invited to view the table arrangement and Frances was allowed to sit in the Queen’s chair. Thomas records the details of the table setting in a plan (see below).
At 3 o’clock Frances, the children, and myself went to the stand at the station to see the Queen, the Princesses, and Prince Henry, attended by her suite, leave by the Royal train at 3.30 for Ruabon. Her carriage was drawn by a pair of greys. Semi-state carriages from Windsor were to be ready at Ruabon, and the Royal carriages from here went to Ruabon to take the members of the household and servants, and the Indian attendants.
The procession went all the way from Ruabon to Wrexham, through part of the town, and then To Acton park where the children belonging to the various schools were arranged in order. Several addresses were presented to the Queen, in the park, the children sang, and all passed off well. Wrexham was much decorated, and great enthusiasm and good will prevailed all through. Indeed, there was not a disloyal shout heard along the route during the procession. Good nature and fun was the order of the day.
The Indians caused much talk and curiosity. I was told by an onlooker that he heard somebody call out “Here comes the Shah”, and another called out at once “There are four Shahs”. After the procession passed on, an old lady in the crowd was saying she could not see the Queen; somebody told her the Queen was in the first carriage, an elderly lady, the old lady said “Well, I saw that lady well enough, but she did not wear a crown.”It was calculated that about 12000 to 14000 school children were got together in the park.
The Royal party got into the park about 25 minutes past 5 o’clock, and left Wrexham station at 6 o’clock in the Royal train which went to Wrexham from Ruabon. There were flags and various decorations, and stands for people all the way from Ruabon to Wrexham.
After I got back from the station, I made up the flower vases for the large dining room table, because the Queen was to dine downstairs with her guests. Mr. Robertson and theBishop of St Asaph (Dr. Edwards) were invited and dined with the Queen. I filled two glass crosses, one glass circle in two parts, six finger glasses, and one tall glass. I had plenty of nice flowers, and an abundance of carnations and picotees. I sent in some fine fruit for the Royal table, and took out the racquets and balls to the tennis ground.
After the royal party got back here, some of the members of the Household and Princesses played at tennis until it got too dark. I was in the dining room at the time, and could see Princess Henry very active. While I was in the dining room the Queen sent me by Mr. Thompson, her page, the bouquet she had presented to her at Glanllyn the previous day. The bouquet was presented to the Queen by Miss Williams Wynn, the little daughter and only daughter of Sir Watkin and Lady Williams Wynn. There was much myrtle in the bouquet, and the Queen wished me to root some of the sprigs for her. I learned afterwards when at Glanllyn that the myrtle came from Llangedwen, the home of the Dowager Lady W. Wynn.
Mr. Thomson said I could take Frances to see the table set ready for the Queen and her guests. We went together to see it and were very pleased to see the arrangements of the table. Mr. Thomson was very kind and would insist upon Frances sitting on the chair which the Queen was to occupy when dining. It was a low chair with a footstool in front of it. Mr. Martin also was very good natured; he is the chief in the pantry for the Queen at Palé. The chief of the Queen’s Indian attendants stood near the door of the dining room, ready to stand behind the Queen’s chair and attend to her wants. Mr. Thomson had to bring the chair from her upstairs dining room, take it up again, and attend to special wants. The table was arranged in the following order –
Mr. Thomson had to see that the table was properly set, and everything correct. Frances and I came away well pleased with our inspection.
Roberts family (Father and nine sons) gave a selection of music on harps and other stringed instruments, and so ended Saturday’s doings – I may add that the Roberts band is well known in most of Wales as very good musicians. Their home is at Newtown, Montgomeryshire.
The Indian who attended to the queen is named the Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim; he acts as Hindustani instructor-secretary to the queen, and is in great favour with her. Munshi is his title, the rest is his name.
Thomas rose early on the second day of the Queen’s visit, to pick fruit for her breakfast from his hothouses. Then one of the Queen’s Highland servants asked him to show him the garden, so that he could ascertain whether the Queen’s ‘pony chair’ – a small individual carriage- could negotiate the grounds. Thomas put up the tennis net at the request of Princess Beatrice, and then observed the Queen watching sheep dog trials which had been arranged for her amusement.
The Queen’s journal demonstrates that she was, indeed, much amused by the sheep dog trials as she gives a good deal of detail about the event in her journal.
Saturday the 24th. Before breakfast I took in peaches and grapes for the Queen’s table, and after breakfast, Mr. Francis Clark, a burly and goodnatured Highlander, asked me to go round the flower garden walks with him to see if he could get the Queen’s pony carriage round that way. I asked him if he thought the Queen would be displeased if shesaw us, he said “You are the gardener and I have to lead her pony, so we have a right to go.”
He told me the Queen could walk pretty well, but as she had been much troubled with rheumatism, she did not care to walk much. As we went round the walks, Mr. Clark asked me to point out Her Majesty’s rooms to him, & when returning he introduced me to one of the Queen’s Indian attendants– Saiyad Ahmad Husain, who was very pleasant.
After breakfast I was asked by a messenger from the Princess Henry of Battenburg to mark the tennis ground for her, and to get the tennis balls and raquets (sic) ready for playing.
At 10 o’clock the Queen went in her pony carriage , or “Garden Chair” as it is usually called to the park to witness the sheep-dog trials. The dogs went through the sheep pen-ring i.e. between Brynbwylan and the gate going to the laundry. The Queen was sitting in her garden chair on the top of the bank between Brynbwylan and the garden, close to the crab-apple and the bank. It came on showers, so that the little carriage was drawn under the shelter of an oak tree on the top of the bank near the crabtree. Mr. Raikes kept going between the Queen and the judges, and every time he went up to the Queen he took off his hat.
The Princesses were with the Queen and took shelter from the shower under the crab tree. Prince Henry was not there. Frances and I with Henry looked on from near the old fernery, where we had a good view of the Royal party. The queen had to keep up her umbrella most of the time, and as the showers continued, she went indoors and the princesses got out from the park by the gate from the old fernery and went along the walk at the north side of the garden, and crossed the lawn from near the park gate to the front door.
I then went to get the net fixed up on the tennis lawn, and while there Prince Henry & Princess Henry came along the terrace walk to the large sycamore tree; they were talking about the two tame ravens, and the Prince said “They were here a short time ago,” and then asked me “Where are the ravens?, I answered, “They are gone to the wood”, and the Prince said “Will they be back by luncheon time?”. I said “They are almost sure to be.” Both of them then went off chatting. Prince Henry went with Hugh Edwards for a short ride in a coracle during the morning.