There’s been plenty of royal history written this week but while the present and the shape of the regal future have dominated, the past has had its moments, too. As 2020 gets under way, the royals who lived and loved before have grabbed their own share of headlines. Here are some of the best royal history moments as January starts.
A Royal Romance Preserved for the Nation
It’s one of the greatest royal love stories of them all and now an historic monument that tell its ending has been preserved for future generations to enjoy. A year ago, the Eleanor Cross at Northampton was under threat from the elements. In need of conservation work, campaigners were concerned that unless immediate action was taken, it might crumble away.
It’s important as it’s one of just three Eleanor Crosses still standing in their original location. The magnificent medieval structures were built on the orders of King Edward I as he mourned his beloved wife, Eleanor of Castile. Following her death in Lincoln in 1290, he followed her cortege back to London and ordered that a monument in her memory be left at every place her coffin rested.
Restoration work, overseen by Northampton Borough Council and Historic England, was finished as 2019 came to an end. And the monument has now been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.
The Secrets of a Queen’s Bed
Meanwhile, work continues to save another historic item linked to a much loved consort. Queen Caroline’s bed is usually on display at Hampton Court Palace but it’s currently undergoing conservation work and researchers have uncovered a mystery during their project.
The team at Historic Royal Palaces have been dusting down some of the fabric used to decorate the bed and discovered some previously unseen writing. An ‘L’ and an ‘R’ were found written on some of the drapings – experts believe that at some point in the bed’s 300 year history, the letters were added to help servants place the material in the right places on the regal bedstead.
The exciting discovery, however, made conservation slightly more difficult. The Historic Royal Palaces’ team wanted to wash the fabric but weren’t sure whether that would remove the writing, now an important historic artefact itself. So they made an innovative foam mix to clean the material – the letters survived that wash.
The Queen Makes More History
Her reign is among the most historic Britain has ever known and Elizabeth II continues to make her mark. This week, being The Queen led to yet another award for actress Olivia Colman.
She picked up a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in Series Three of ‘The Crown’. In recent years, Dame Helen Mirren and Claire Foy have both won major acting prizes for playing The Queen proving that the tale of the Windsors can rival that of any royal dynasty from the past.
Royal History to Come
The year ahead is filled with major royal anniversaries and Royal Central will bring you lots of features on all of them as 2020 progresses.