List of royal visits to Worthing
Worthing, a seaside town on the West Sussex coast in southeast England, has received many royal visits since Princess Amelia spent five months recovering from an injured knee in 1798. The patronage of the 15-year-old daughter of King George III helped Worthing develop from a modest village into a high-class resort favoured by wealthy people seeking a quieter alternative to nearby Brighton's fashionable vulgarity. Other members of the British Royal Family were regular visitors during the first half of the 19th century, when Worthing's prestige was at its highest. The United Kingdom's current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, first visited in 1951 when she was still Princess Elizabeth, and regular visits have been made by other members of the British Royal Family since then. Foreign royal visitors include Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, who spent several weeks in a seafront hotel as a refugee during his exile.
Worthing's royal connections
Brighton, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, experienced a surge in popularity in the mid-18th century, when it was identified by local doctor Richard Russell as an ideal venue to receive his "seawater cure", involving bathing in and drinking seawater. Regular visits and temporary residency by members of the British Royal Family attracted rich, upper-class visitors who wanted to experience the range of pleasures on offer. This growth gradually had an effect on towns and villages elsewhere on the Sussex coast.
Worthing was a small fishing and farming village south of the ancient manor of Broadwater. It had transport links to Brighton, and enjoyed an even better climate than that of its neighbour because of its more sheltered location. In 1798, King George III's youngest daughter, Princess Amelia, injured her knee. The king's doctors sought a suitable seaside venue for her recuperation, where she could let her leg heal while improving her fragile health with sea-bathing and the seawater cure. They chose Worthing, and she eventually spent five months in the village.
The visit was very successful—Amelia's health improved considerably—and the local authorities spent the next ten years developing Worthing as a high-class seaside resort and spa town, with amenities designed to attract fashionable visitors. By the time Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales paid a visit in 1807, Worthing was a self-governing town with more than 2,000 residents and an array of facilities from a chapel to a theatre. More members of the Royal Family visited throughout the 19th century, even though Worthing's period of bold growth ended in about 1830, after which the town went into a decline from which it never fully recovered. By the time long-term growth started again in the late 19th century, the town had become a destination for quiet, low-key holidays and a residential area popular with retired people.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother had a long association with Worthing, and with the Goring Hall estate in particular. Goring Hall, an independent school from 1937 until 1988 and now a private hospital, was originally a residence built for Major David Lyon in 1840; it passed from him to other members of the Bowes-Lyon family, of which Elizabeth was a member, until its sale in 1934. She often visited the house and its grounds as a child; and later in her life she intervened to prevent the felling of trees in the grounds. She was president of the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home at Gifford House in West Worthing—a home for disabled ex-service personnel—and visited several times.
List of royal visits by date
|Person or people||Royal house||Picture||Year||Notes||Refs|
|Princess Amelia||Hanover||1798||King George III's fifteenth and youngest child began her recuperative stay in Worthing on 31 July 1798. She was treated by the Surgeon-General, and is believed to have stayed in Bedford House—built about 15 years previously, and demolished in 1940. She may also have lived at nearby Montague Place for part of her visit, which came to an end on 7 December 1798 when she returned to London.|||
|Prince of Wales (Prince Regent)||Hanover||1798||The Prince of Wales (better known as the Prince Regent, and later as King George IV) lived in Brighton from 1786. He travelled to Worthing to visit his youngest sister during her recuperation.|||
|Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales||Hanover||1807||Charlotte Augusta, the 11-year-old daughter of the Prince of Wales and Caroline of Brunswick, went on holiday to Worthing in July 1807. She stayed at Warwick House, a sea-facing flint and brick building of 1785 which was the focal point of the town's rapid 19th-century development. It was knocked down in 1896.|||
|Prince of Wales (Prince Regent)||Hanover||1807||The Prince paid his second visit to Worthing to visit his daughter during her holiday.|||
|Caroline of Brunswick||Hanover||1814||The Princess of Wales, as she was styled at the time, travelled from London to France in 1814. She stopped briefly in Worthing and nearby Sompting to break up the journey.|||
|Princess Augusta Sophia||Hanover||1829||Augusta Sophia, sister of King George IV, spent a long winter holiday at Trafalgar House on Marine Parade; it lasted until early 1830. Trafalgar House was renamed Augusta House after her visit; and after its demolition in 1948, its replacement building carried the same name.|||
|Queen Victoria||Hanover||1842||Queen Victoria's only visit to the town during her long life was a brief stop when she was travelling to Arundel.|||
|Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen||Hanover||1849||King William IV's widow Queen Adelaide spent a holiday at the Sea House Hotel on Worthing seafront in 1849. John Rebecca's building was Worthing's highest-class hotel and became the Royal Sea House after this visit, but fire damage in 1901 caused its demolition.|||
|Queen Maria Amalia||Bourbon-Two Sicilies||1861||King Louis-Philippe of France's widowed queen consort took over the Royal Sea House Hotel for six weeks in 1861 with her team of servants and her whole family. She lived as a refugee in England for the last 18 years of her life after the events of the French Revolution of 1848.|||
|King Edward VII||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha||1908||Members of the Loder baronetcy owned Beach House, a seafront mansion, for 35 years until 1911. King Edward VII knew the family, and he spent more than a month staying with them in 1908.|||
|King Edward VII||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha||1909||King Edward VII returned to Beach House for another visit the following year.|||
|Duke of York; Duchess of York||Windsor||1928||The Prince Albert Convalescent Home was established after World War I in a terrace of mid 19th-century houses on Worthing seafront. The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and the Queen Mother respectively) were invited to attend a civic reception in May 1928 when a fundraising appeal was launched. The home later became the Beach Hotel.|||
|Queen Mary of Teck||Windsor||1929||King George V's queen consort stopped off in Worthing to visit an antiques shop.|||
|Edward, Prince of Wales||Windsor||1933||Three years before his accession to the throne as King Edward VIII, Edward paid a visit to Highdown Gardens. He saw the chalk garden established in 1909 by Sir Frederick Stern, and Highdown Tower—a structure built in the 1860s by the Bowes-Lyon family.|||
|Prince George, Duke of Kent||Windsor||1933||The Duke of Kent opened Worthing's new town hall, designed by Charles Cowles-Voysey, on 22 May 1933. A civic reception was held at Worthing Pier.|||
|Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Duchess of York||Windsor||1934||The Queen Alexandra Home for disabled ex-service personnel, established in London in 1919, moved to a house in Boundary Road, Worthing, in 1934. It took the name Gifford House—the name of the original establishment in Roehampton. The Duchess of York (later the Queen Mother) performed the opening ceremony in May 1934.|||
|Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia||Solomon||1936||Warne's Hotel—Worthing's most prestigious hotel throughout the 20th century, until its destruction by fire in the 1980s—served as a refuge for the Emperor of Ethiopia and several members of his family for several weeks in July 1936 during his period of exile from Ethiopia. As a gesture of thanks, he received the town's mayor and mayoress at a reception at London's Ethiopian Embassy in 1954.|||
|Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester||Windsor||1947||The Duchess attended an engagement at Gifford House in 1947.|||
|Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh||Windsor||1951||Queen Elizabeth II was still a princess when she paid her first visit to Worthing in May 1951 to open a new postoperative care hospital in Courtlands House, a stately home built in the 1820s and altered in the early 20th century.|||
|Katharine, Duchess of Kent||Windsor||1956||When Worthing Junior Technical School for Building moved from the town centre to Durrington and was renamed Worthing Technical High, the Duchess of Kent was invited to open it. It is now known as Durrington High School.|||
|Prince Tomislav; Princess Tomislav||Karageorgevich||1957||Prince and Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia attended the opening of a residential care home in the West Tarring area of Worthing in 1957.|||
|Princess Margaret||Windsor||1959||John Horniman, a London merchant, opened the "Friends' Convalescent Home for Poor Children" on Park Road in Worthing in 1892. It became a special school in the 1950s, and was visited by Princess Margaret in 1959. The building was demolished in 2003.|||
|Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother||Windsor||1966||The Queen Mother paid one of her regular visits to Gifford House on this occasion.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1977||This visit took in each district of West Sussex: Princess Alexandra met the civic leaders of each district and borough council, including those of Worthing.|||
|Katharine, Duchess of Kent||Windsor||1978||After visiting Chichester Cathedral, the Duchess stopped off at two charity shops in Worthing.|||
|Prince Philip||Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg||1979||Prince Philip attended the annual visit to Worthing of the London Taxi Benevolent Fund for War Disabled—a London-based charity which arranged trips to the town for its members. It was founded in 1948.|||
|Prince Philip||Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg||1980||Local engineering company Eurotherm's new premises were opened by the Prince during this visit.|||
|Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester||Windsor||1982||The Duke was invited to Worthing to open an extension to Worthing College of Technology (the present Northbrook College).|||
|Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother||Windsor||1983||One of the Queen Mother's regular visits to the Queen Alexandra Home at Gifford House took place in March of this year.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1983||Time in Chichester and Littlehampton was followed by a visit to a Worthing-based charity, the Worthing Guild for Voluntary Service.|||
|Katharine, Duchess of Kent||Windsor||1984||The Duchess was in Worthing before a visit to Crawley.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1985||On 26 April 1985, the Princess opened a new community centre at Durrington.|||
|Princess of Wales||Windsor||1985||A two-part visit to West Sussex by the Princess in November 1985 started at a hospice in Worthing, at which she opened a new daycare centre.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1986||The Princess attended the London Taxi Benevolent Fund for War Disabled's annual holiday to Worthing.|||
|Princess of Wales||Windsor||1986||After touring The Body Shop's headquarters in nearby Littlehampton, the Princess visited a housing association and care home in Worthing.|||
|Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother||Windsor||1989||In April 1989, the Queen Mother paid another visit to Gifford House.|||
|Prince Edward, Duke of Kent||Windsor||1990||The Duke's tour of industrial premises in the area took in a Worthing-based design company.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1991||The Princess's first visit of the year took place in May, when she visited a mental health centre for young people.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||1991||In October of the same year, the Princess followed visits to Chichester and Bognor Regis with a trip to a Worthing sheltered housing complex.|||
|Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother||Windsor||1992||The Queen Mother's next visit to the Queen Alexandra Home at Gifford House came in April 1992.|||
|Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester||Windsor||1994||The Duchess began a day of visits across southeast England by meeting residents of a care home for people with multiple sclerosis in central Worthing.|||
|Princess Margaret||Windsor||1994||Princess Margaret opened the new private hospital at Goring Hall on 26 October 1994.|||
|Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester||Windsor||1996||The Duke spent a day at Worthing Boys' Club in March 1996.|||
|Princess Anne||Windsor||1998||Princess Anne performed the opening ceremony for a new ward at Worthing Hospital.|||
|Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Philip||Windsor||1999||The Queen and Prince Philip spent a morning at Durrington High School, meeting pupils and invited members of the public.|||
|Prince Edward, Duke of Kent||Windsor||1999||Prince Edward's visit to the town, just before Christmas, took in a daycare centre and a manufacturing company.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||2000||The London Taxi Benevolent Fund for War Disabled's annual visit to Worthing, which included a lunch at the town hall, was attended by Princess Alexandra for the second time.|||
|Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester||Windsor||2001||The Duchess visited Davison High School, the local police headquarters and the town's fire station in Broadwater.|||
|Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester||Windsor||2003||The Duchess of Gloucester revisited the town two years later to see the West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club, a 19-court venue which was founded in 1886.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||2003||The Princess spent time at Gifford House with the residents of the Queen Alexandra Home after visiting a hospice in nearby Poling. It was the first royal visit to the Home since the Queen Mother, its president, died the previous year.|||
|Princess Anne||Windsor||2004||The Princess Royal visited the town's Save the Children charity shop. Press photography inside the shop was controversially banned.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||2006||Princess Alexandra paid another visit to the Queen Alexandra Home in February 2006.|||
|Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester||Windsor||2006||The Duchess was invited to Worthing Town Hall to meet a group of war veterans who were visiting the town on holiday.|||
|Princess Alexandra||Windsor||2009||Princess Alexandra's most recent engagement at the Queen Alexandra Home was in January 2009.|||
- Elleray 1998, p. 1.
- Elleray 1998, p. 42.
- Hare 1991, p. 19.
- Elleray 1998, p. 119.
- Elleray 1977, Introduction.
- Elleray 1998, p. 59.
- Elleray 1977, §6.
- Holden, Paul (19 March 2004). "Our respects on the death of the Queen Mother". Goring-by-Sea.uk.com website. Worthing Sentinel. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- Elleray 1998, pp. 78–79.
- Elleray 1998, p. 84.
- Elleray 1998, p. 123.
- Hare 1991, p. 31.
- Hare 1991, p. 41.
- Elleray 1977, §7.
- Elleray 1998, p. 139.
- Elleray 1977, §12.
- Elleray 1998, p. 135.
- Elleray 1977, §62.
- Elleray 1977, §14.
- Elleray 1977, §30.
- Elleray 1977, §80.
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- Elleray 1977, §81.
- Elleray 1985, §138.
- Elleray 1998, p. 91.
- Elleray 1998, p. 10.
- Elleray 1985, §40.
- Elleray 1998, p. 50.
- Elleray 1998, p. 124.
- Elleray 1998, p. 68.
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