The last post in this series of blogs will be focused on the Frogmore Estate. The estate comprises 33 acres of private gardens within the grounds of Windsor Great Park which adjoins Windsor Castle.
It is the location of Frogmore House, a royal retreat; however, it is also the site of three royal burial places of the British Royal Family. They are the Royal Mausoleum, the Duchess of Kent Mausoleum and the Royal Burial Ground.
As before, I was astounded as to just who was buried at the site. Many readers will know the obvious two; nonetheless, there are many listed who I did not know were buried at Frogmore.
The Royal Mausoleum
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert- Queen Victoria and her husband had long intended to construct a special resting place for them both instead of being buried in the traditional royal resting places, Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel being prime examples of this.
Prince Albert died in December 1861, and within days of his death, proposals for the mausoleum were being drawn up. Work commenced on the building in March 1862, and the new site was consecrated in December of the same year.
The mausoleum takes the form of a Greek cross; the exterior of the building was inspired by Italian Romanesque buildings, while the interior decoration is in the style of Albert’s favourite painter, Renaissance genius Raphael.
As readers will know, Queen Victoria remained in mourning for her husband for the rest of her life, choosing to seclude herself from public life for a prolonged period of time. She spent many months at either Osborne House or at Frogmore, presumably to be closer to her husband.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, husband and wife were finally reunited as Victoria was interred into the mausoleum alongside Albert. While only Victoria and Albert are interred in this mausoleum, it does contain other memorials. Princess Alice and Princess May, two of Victoria’s daughters, have monuments to them inside the mausoleum. There is also a monument to Edward, Duke of Kent, Victoria’s father who died in 1820, and is buried at St George’s Chapel.
Duchess of Kent Mausoleum
Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld- This mausoleum within the Frogmore Gardens is the burial place of Queen Victoria’s mother Victoria, The Duchess of Kent. The mausoleum was designed by architect A J Humbert to a concept design by Prince Albert’s favourite artist, Professor Ludwig Gruner.
The Duchess actually lived at Frogmore House in the latter years of her life. The top portion of the finished building was intended to serve as a summer house for The Duchess during her lifetime. This was never to be, as The Duchess of Kent died on 16th March 1861, before the summer house was completed; hence, the upper chamber became a part of the mausoleum, and now houses a statue of The Duchess.
Royal Burial Ground
If I was to mention every member of the Royal Family who are buried at the Royal Burial Ground, this would be a very long piece indeed. I will however pick out the most notable members, and share them with you.
Prince George, Duke of Kent- Prince George was the fourth son and fifth child of King George V and Queen Mary. Born on the 20 December 1902 at York Cottage, he was the younger brother of two future kings, Edward VIII and George VI. In 1937, George was granted a commission in the Royal Air Force as a group captain and, at the height of the second world war, George, along with 14 others, was killed while on board RAF Short Sunderland flying boat W4026. The flying boat crashed into a hillside near Dunbeath. His remains lay initially at St George’s Chapel before being moved to Frogmore.
Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor- Edward was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. Born on the 23rd June 1894 at White Lodge, Edward did inherit the throne in 1936 when his father died. King Edward VIII’s kingship did not last long, however: The abdication crisis of 1936 was caused by Edward’s desire to marry American socialite and divorcée Wallis Simpson.
As readers will know, Edward gave up the throne, and it was passed to his younger brother who became King George VI. After the Second World War, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor spent most of their lives in retirement, and effectively took on the role of celebrities.
The Duke died on 28th May 1972 at his home in Paris, and his body was returned to Britain, lying in state at St George’s Chapel. The coffin was buried at Frogmore behind the Royal Mausoleum. Edward’s wife, Wallis Simpson died in April 1986, and she is buried next to her husband at the site.
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone- Princess Alice was the daughter of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany and Princess Helena. She was also the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, being as Prince Leopold was their youngest son.
She was born on 25th February 1883 at Windsor Castle. She was married to Prince Alexander of Teck, the brother of the future Queen Mary. Alice was also godmother to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who is the granddaughter of her first cousin, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
In 1981, at the age of 97, Princess Alice passed away at Kensington Palace, and her funeral was attended by all members of the British Royal Family. She is buried beside her husband and son at Frogmore. Alice had lived through the reigns of six monarchs, Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester- Princess Alice was the wife and widow of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester who was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. Born on Christmas in 1901, Alice was the daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, Scotland’s largest landowner. It was in August 1935 that she became engaged to Prince Henry, and they were married in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 6th November that year.
On 10th June 1974, Prince Henry died, and Alice was widowed. Queen Elizabeth II still allowed her aunt to be styled as HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. In 1975, Alice was the first woman to be appointed a Dame, Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. Princess Alice died on the 29th October 2004 at the age of 102, and she was interred in the Royal Burial Ground.
Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom- Princess Victoria was the fourth child and second daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Born on 6th July 1868 at Marlborough House, she was a granddaughter of the reigning Queen Victoria and deceased Prince Albert.
She was known to her family as Toria, and although she had a number of suitors throughout her life, Victoria never married nor did she ever have any children. It is believed that her mother actually discouraged her from marrying.
The Princess died at her own home in Buckinghamshire on 3rd December 1935, and she was initially buried at St George’s Chapel. Her remains were later moved to Frogmore, however. Her death is said to have greatly affected King George V, who died just over one month later.
Other royals to be buried in the Royal Burial Ground include, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, Prince William of Gloucester, Lady May Abel Smith and Sir Angus Ogilvy.
So there we have it: Over three posts, we have covered over a thousand years worth of royals, from the major to the minor. Nevertheless, each one of them is an important part of the country’s history. If you can think of any more royals buried in other places than the three featured, then please feel free to let us know.
photo credits: fatinandreanna via photopin cc, Timelapsed via photopin cc, WyrdLight.com via Wikimedia Commons cc and Tour Scotland Photographs via photopin cc
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