The bunting is out and the flags are flying here in the Painswick Valley in The Cotswolds as we gear up for celebrating the Coronation of “one of our own”. King Charles and his Queen, Camilla, are – as most know – locals in our area.
Their private residence, Highgrove House, just outside of the village of Tetbury a few miles from our Inn, is internationally known and renowned. It’s where Charles pursues his passion for organic farming and nature conservation. Even though our country-loving King is probably now going to officially reside at Buckingham Palace in London it no doubt won’t stop this Royal couple from escaping back to Highgrove whenever possible.
It’s not surprising that our beautiful scenic area below the western escarpment of the Cotswold hills, around the well-appointed town of Stroud, Gloucestershire, is favoured by their Majesties. After all, it boasts some of the loveliest countryside in England and idyllic chocolate box villages.
Our Royal connections don’t stop at the current King, however. They go back for several dynasties, and extend to encompass several other members of the Royal family who currently call this spectacular region home.
Our Closest Royal Neighbours
Our closest Royal neighbours, less than 10 miles to the south of us here at Edgemoor Inn, are Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her husband (to give him his full title) Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence. They inhabit the impressive estate of Gatcombe Park at Minchinhampton, the grounds of which are sometimes opened to the public for horse trials, like the annual Festival of British Eventing, and craft fairs.
Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, accomplished Olympian equestrian, her husband and three children live at Aston Farm, which lies within the vast Gatcombe estate. Her brother Peter Phillips is also resident on the estate with his two daughters.
It seems more of the extended Royal family are being drawn to set up home in the Cotswolds, with tabloid reports recently tipping that Princess Beatrice – daughter of Prince Andrew – and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi will soon be moving into a new manor home hereabouts (exact location unknown) which they bought for £3.5-million in 2021.
Shady Stories of Royals Past
While modern-day Royals enjoy wafting around in “wellies” and tweeds on their Cotswolds country estates, there are some rather shady stories connecting Royals of the past to our lovely corner of the world.
For instance, it is claimed that Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) was a frequent visitor to the town of Cheltenham in the 1880s, where he spent weekends with his mistress, Lillie Langtry – a celebrated and rather scandalous actress of her day.
A more intriguing and questionable Royal tale, however, is that attached to the little village of Bisley, close to Stroud. Briefly, it concerns Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth – who was destined to become the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I, who never married or produced offspring.
As legend has it in 1542 at the age of 9 Elizabeth was taken to Overcourt House in Bisley by her guardians to be kept safe from the plague which was sweeping through London. During the year that she was sequestered in Gloucestershire conspiracy theorists suggest that Elizabeth died, and to cover up her death a local ginger-haired boy of similar age was installed to take her place.
This treacherous scheme, it has been claimed, is the reason why as Queen Elizabeth remained celibate and always wore high ruffs, wigs and heavy make-up to disguise her masculinity.
The story was supposedly lent credence a few hundred years later when the skeleton of a child wearing Tudor clothing was found in an unmarked grave in the grounds of Overcourt House.
Yes, Gloucestershire – and particularly the Stroud area – does have some interesting Royal connections – and it’s a good place to spot celebrities of all sorts who are drawn here. You never know who you might run into shopping in Stroud, or exploring our nearby village of Painswick.
To our knowledge we’ve never been patronised by a Royal personage – unless they were heavily disguised and we didn’t recognise them. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility, however, seeing as we are one of the most welcoming and popular inns in the locality. If a famous face stops in for a drink or Sunday lunch we’ll be delighted – and discreet of course – giving them a right Royal welcome, just as we do anyone who seeks out our hospitality.