|Sir Francis Laking, Bt|
9 January 1847|
Kensington, London, Middlesex, England
|Died||21 May 1914
Cleveland Row, St. James’s, London, England
|Education||St. George’s Hospital
|Years active||1870 - 1914|
|Known for||Physician to the Royal Household|
married (1) Emma Ann Mansell
|Institutions||St. George’s Hospital
Victoria Hospital for Children, Chelsea
Sir Francis Henry Laking, 1st Baronet, GCVO, KCB, (9 January 1847 Kensington - 21 May 1914 London) was an English physician who was Surgeon-Apothecary in Ordinary to Queen Victoria, and Physician in Ordinary to King Edward VII and King George V.
He was educated firstly at St George's Hospital taking diploma of L.R.C.P. in 1868, afterwards at Heidelberg taking L.S.A. as well as the degree of M.D. in 1869. He was house-physician at St. George’s Hospital in 1870, medical registrar from 1871 to 1874, and was at one time assistant physician to the Victoria Hospital for Children, Chelsea. Soon after leaving St. George’s he entered into partnership with the late Mr. Du Pasquier. Apothecary to the Royal Household, and his connexion with the Court in various capacities of ever increasing distinction continued until his death. He became Surgeon-Apothecary-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria, Apothecary-in-Ordinary to the Royal Household, and to the household of the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Duke of Connaught, an office which he retained under King Edward VII and King George.
Francis Henry, born 9 January 1847, was the son of Francis William Laking (Middlesex, ca. 1797 - 25 November 1874), of Addison Road, Kensington, Middlesex, and wife (m. 12 October 1844) Louisa Jane Wilkinson (Devon, ca. 1818 - 17 March 1894), in turn daughter of Thomas Wilkinson, of Plymouth, Devon, and wife. On 26 January 1873/1875, he married Emma Ann Mansell (St Pancras, London, Middlesex, ca. 1843/1844 - Pall Mall, London, Westminster, 1 March 1905), daughter of Joseph Mansell (Clerkenwell, Middlesex, ca. 1803 - living 1871), stationer, and wife Elizabeth ... (Poplar, London, Middlesex, ca. 1821 - living 1871). Their only son was Sir Guy Francis Laking, 2nd Baronet (Westminster, 21 October 1875 - Meyrick Lodge, Avenue Road, London, 22 November 1919), who succeeded to the baronetcy, upon the death of his father, on 21 May 1914. Secondly married the daughter of the late Mr. James Hackworth, of Dunedin, by whom he was survived and by whom he had no children.
Francis Henry died at his residence at Cleveland Row, St. James's, London on 21 May 1914. The funeral took place on 25 May 1914 at Queen's Chapel following which he was interred at Highgate Cemetery.
He was knighted in 1893, created Baronet Laking of Kensington, Middlesex, on 28 July 1902, a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1903, and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 3 June 1910.
In 2004, Norwegian biographer Tor Bomann-Larsen put forward the hypothesis that King Olav V of Norway was not the biological son of King Haakon VII, but his mother, Queen Maud, had been, in 1902 in London, artificially inseminated by Sir Francis Laking.
In October 2004, in the second Volume of Folket, his history of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud, the author Tor Bomann-Larsen presents evidence that in October 1902 then-Princess Maud stayed (secretly) in a London Hospital under the care of Sir Francis Henry Laking, 1st Baronet, physician-in-ordinary and surgeon-apothecary to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom (Princess Maud's father), and that during this secret hospital stay, Sir Francis artificially inseminated Princess Maud, who gave birth to Prince Alexander (the future King Olav V) some nine months later. Mr. Bomann-Larsen further implies, but does not directly state, that the sperm donor was Sir Francis's son, Guy Francis Laking.
In March 2005, Odd Arvid Storsveen, a Historian at the University of Oslo, published a review of Mr. Bomann-Larsen's book in Historisk Tidsskrift. In this review, Mr. Storsveen claims he can't find adequate sourcing for Mr. Bomann-Larsen's "hypothesis" about King Olav V's paternity.
(William Addams Reitwiesner)
In Popular Culture
At a press junket in 2010, MMA fighter Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal referenced Laking, shouting to reporters "I am the greatest, most influential figure in history... John Witherspoon, Francis Laking, they ain't got nothin' on me!" The obscure reference was met with stunned silence.
- The Times, 22 May 1914, 10B
- obituary, British Medical Journal, 30 May 1914, p.1216-7
- The London Gazette: . 29 March 1901.
- FreeBMD birth registration
- FreeBMD marriage registration
- The Times, 2 March 1905, 10E
- The Times, 24 November 1919, 17F
- FreeBMD death registration
- "The King's Birthday, List of Honours". The Times (London). The Times, Friday, June 03, 1910; Issue 39289. p. 8; col B. "K.C.B. Sir Francis Henry Laking, Bart., G.C.V.O., M.D. ..."
- "Strikeforce World Grand Prix Press Conference Highlights". Retrieved 2012-07-24.