List of royal visits to Worthing

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Goring Hall's estate was often visited by Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) during her childhood.

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.[1] 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.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Worthing's royal connections[edit]

Worthing's Royal Arcade was built on the site of the Royal Sea House Hotel, which had been given the prefix "Royal" after a visit from Queen Adelaide, consort of King William IV, in 1849.

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.[5]

Worthing was a small fishing and farming village south of the ancient manor of Broadwater. It had transport links to Brighton,[5] and enjoyed an even better climate than that of its neighbour because of its more sheltered location.[6] 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.[5][7][1]

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.[5] 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.[5]

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother had a long association with Worthing, and with the Goring Hall estate in particular.[8] 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.[9] 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.[8] 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.[8][10]

List of royal visits by date[edit]

Person or people Royal house Picture Year Notes Refs
Princess Amelia Hanover Princess Amelia (1783-1810).jpg 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. [1][11][7][12]
Prince of Wales (Prince Regent) Hanover GeorgeIV1798.jpg 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. [1][11][13]
Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales Hanover Princess Charlotte of Wales.jpg 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. [11][14][15]
Prince of Wales (Prince Regent) Hanover GeorgeIV1798.jpg 1807 The Prince paid his second visit to Worthing to visit his daughter during her holiday. [11]
Caroline of Brunswick Hanover Caroline of Brunswick.jpg 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. [11]
Princess Augusta Sophia Hanover Princess augusta sophia.jpg 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. [11][16][17]
Queen Victoria Hanover Queen Victoria by Bassano.jpg 1842 Queen Victoria's only visit to the town during her long life was a brief stop when she was travelling to Arundel. [11]
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen Hanover Adelaide Amelia Louisa Theresa Caroline of Saxe-Coburg Meiningen by Sir William Beechey.jpg 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. [11][18]
Queen Maria Amalia Bourbon-Two Sicilies Marie-Amélie de Bourbon 1.JPG 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. [11][19]
King Edward VII Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince of Wales00.jpg 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. [11][20]
King Edward VII Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Prince of Wales00.jpg 1909 King Edward VII returned to Beach House for another visit the following year. [11]
Duke of York; Duchess of York Windsor H.R.H. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit the Canadian Pavilion at the World's Fair.jpg 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. [11][21][22]
Queen Mary of Teck Windsor Queenmaryformalportrait edit3.jpg 1929 King George V's queen consort stopped off in Worthing to visit an antiques shop. [11]
Edward, Prince of Wales Windsor Edward Prince of Wales during his visit to Canada in 1919.jpg 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. [11]
Prince George, Duke of Kent Windsor George 1st Kent.png 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. [23][24]
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Duchess of York Windsor ElizabethBowes-Lyon.jpg 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. [11][10]
Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia Solomon Mittelholzer-haileselassie.jpg 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. [4][11][25][26]
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester Windsor HRH Princess Alice Commandant of the WAAF.jpg 1947 The Duchess attended an engagement at Gifford House in 1947. [11]
Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh Windsor Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg 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. [11][27]
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. [11][28]
Prince Tomislav; Princess Tomislav Karageorgevich HRH Tomislav Karadjordjevic.jpg 1957 Prince and Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia attended the opening of a residential care home in the West Tarring area of Worthing in 1957. [11]
Princess Margaret Windsor Princess Margaret.jpg 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. [29][30][31]
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Windsor ElizabethBowes-Lyon.jpg 1966 The Queen Mother paid one of her regular visits to Gifford House on this occasion. [29]
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. [32]
Katharine, Duchess of Kent Windsor 1978 After visiting Chichester Cathedral, the Duchess stopped off at two charity shops in Worthing. [32]
Prince Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Prince Philip NASA cropped.jpg 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. [32][33]
Prince Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Prince Philip NASA cropped.jpg 1980 Local engineering company Eurotherm's new premises were opened by the Prince during this visit. [29]
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester Windsor HRH Prince Richard Duke of Gloucester.JPG 1982 The Duke was invited to Worthing to open an extension to Worthing College of Technology (the present Northbrook College). [29][32]
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Windsor ElizabethBowes-Lyon.jpg 1983 One of the Queen Mother's regular visits to the Queen Alexandra Home at Gifford House took place in March of this year. [32]
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. [32]
Katharine, Duchess of Kent Windsor 1984 The Duchess was in Worthing before a visit to Crawley. [32]
Princess Alexandra Windsor 1985 On 26 April 1985, the Princess opened a new community centre at Durrington. [29][32]
Princess of Wales Windsor Princess Diana 1985.jpg 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. [29][32]
Princess Alexandra Windsor 1986 The Princess attended the London Taxi Benevolent Fund for War Disabled's annual holiday to Worthing. [32]
Princess of Wales Windsor Princess Diana 1985.jpg 1986 After touring The Body Shop's headquarters in nearby Littlehampton, the Princess visited a housing association and care home in Worthing. [29]
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Windsor ElizabethBowes-Lyon.jpg 1989 In April 1989, the Queen Mother paid another visit to Gifford House. [32]
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Windsor HRH Duke of Kent.jpg 1990 The Duke's tour of industrial premises in the area took in a Worthing-based design company. [32]
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. [32]
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. [32]
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Windsor ElizabethBowes-Lyon.jpg 1992 The Queen Mother's next visit to the Queen Alexandra Home at Gifford House came in April 1992. [32]
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. [32][34]
Princess Margaret Windsor Princess Margaret.jpg 1994 Princess Margaret opened the new private hospital at Goring Hall on 26 October 1994. [29][32]
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester Windsor HRH Prince Richard Duke of Gloucester.JPG 1996 The Duke spent a day at Worthing Boys' Club in March 1996. [32]
Princess Anne Windsor Princesa Ana do Reino Unido.jpg 1998 Princess Anne performed the opening ceremony for a new ward at Worthing Hospital. [29][32]
Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Philip Windsor Queen+philipp.jpg 1999 The Queen and Prince Philip spent a morning at Durrington High School, meeting pupils and invited members of the public. [32][35]
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Windsor HRH Duke of Kent.jpg 1999 Prince Edward's visit to the town, just before Christmas, took in a daycare centre and a manufacturing company. [32]
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. [32][33]
Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester Windsor 2001 The Duchess visited Davison High School, the local police headquarters and the town's fire station in Broadwater. [32]
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. [32][36]
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. [32]
Princess Anne Windsor Princesa Ana do Reino Unido.jpg 2004 The Princess Royal visited the town's Save the Children charity shop. Press photography inside the shop was controversially banned. [32][37]
Princess Alexandra Windsor 2006 Princess Alexandra paid another visit to the Queen Alexandra Home in February 2006. [32]
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. [32]
Princess Alexandra Windsor 2009 Princess Alexandra's most recent engagement at the Queen Alexandra Home was in January 2009. [32]



  1. ^ a b c d e Elleray 1998, p. 1.
  2. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 42.
  3. ^ Hare 1991, p. 19.
  4. ^ a b Elleray 1998, p. 119.
  5. ^ a b c d e Elleray 1977, Introduction.
  6. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 59.
  7. ^ a b Elleray 1977, §6.
  8. ^ a b c Holden, Paul (19 March 2004). "Our respects on the death of the Queen Mother". website. Worthing Sentinel. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  9. ^ Elleray 1998, pp. 78–79.
  10. ^ a b Elleray 1998, p. 84.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Elleray 1998, p. 123.
  12. ^ Hare 1991, p. 31.
  13. ^ Hare 1991, p. 41.
  14. ^ Elleray 1977, §7.
  15. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 139.
  16. ^ Elleray 1977, §12.
  17. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 135.
  18. ^ Elleray 1977, §62.
  19. ^ Elleray 1977, §14.
  20. ^ Elleray 1977, §30.
  21. ^ Elleray 1977, §80.
  22. ^ Holden, Paul (29 May 2009). "Multi-million pound plan to transform Worthing hotels". The Argus. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  23. ^ Elleray 1977, §81.
  24. ^ Elleray 1985, §138.
  25. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 91.
  26. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 10.
  27. ^ Elleray 1985, §40.
  28. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 50.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i Elleray 1998, p. 124.
  30. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 68.
  31. ^ "Old school row". The Argus. Newsquest Media Group. 16 July 2003. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Royal Visits to the County of West Sussex: 1977 to date" (PDF). West Sussex Lieutenancy Office. 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. [dead link]
  33. ^ a b Elleray 1998, p. 98.
  34. ^ "Court Circular: Wednesday, 21 September 1994". The Independent. Independent News and Media Ltd. 21 September 1994. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  35. ^ "Press Release 105: Royal Visit for West Sussex" (Press release). West Sussex County Council. 24 February 1999. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  36. ^ Elleray 1998, p. 130.
  37. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (15 October 2004). "Herald fumes over "banal" royal pics ban". Press Gazette website. Progressive Media International. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 


  • Elleray, D. Robert (1977). Worthing: a Pictorial History. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. ISBN 978-0-85033-263-6. 
  • Elleray, D. Robert (1985). Worthing: Aspects of Change. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. ISBN 978-0-85033-551-4. 
  • Elleray, D. Robert (1998). A Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History. Worthing: Optimus Books. ISBN 978-0-9533132-0-4. 
  • Hare, Chris (1991). Historic Worthing: The Untold Story. Adlestrop: The Windrush Press. ISBN 978-0-900075-91-9.