Monday, December 03, 2018

Sandringham, pt 2

The first post was getting a little long! Here are the rest of the photos and snippets I leanred about Sandringham; this time, mostly featuring the church.
The gate to the church (turnstile for visitors; beyond this is public access). It's about two or three minutes' walk from the house (maybe more in heels!).

The lych gate to the church, less than 100yds from the gate to the house.

The Church was described by Tommy Lascelles (private secretary to George V) as 'at the end of the garden' and it basically is. Whilst there's a fence and trees between the two, the Family only have to walk five minutes and go through a gate to get there.

Famously, the Royal Family always walk to Church on Christmas Day. It was only after he turned 90 that the Duke of Edinburgh was driven; and recently the Queen has joined him. Apart from that, I believe the only time it's acceptable not to walk is when you're expecting a baby, like, tomorrow.

The Church of St Mary Magdalene, dating from the C16th.
 The church looks small from the inside. That's because it is. 400-ish years old, it was renovated by Lady Harriet Cowper just before the Prince of Wales bought Sandringham House and is a little jewel of a place.

The silver pulpit. Yes, that's all silver.
The pulpit, altar and reredors are all plated with silver, as is the processional cross partly visible in the top right of this photo. Astonishingly, considering all that, on weekdays you can just wander in, any time you like, for free.

 Above the silver pulpit is a plaque commemorating George V. There are memorials to most of the monarchs who've resided in Sandringham (although none were buried here, but George VI's body was kept here before being transferred to Westminster) and a memorial to the King's Own Sandringham Company, who were all but wiped out in WWI.

The choir and altar, which is also covered in silver.

 The walls and ceiling here are particularly beautiful, with golden angels and painted beams. Zoom in on the photo for a better look.

The church from the south. There is a small graveyard, in which many of the graves are military and most not very recent.

The graces of two princes, just inside the lych gate, impossible to miss as you enter the churchyard.

The two little graves just inside the lych gate are particularly sad. The one on the right is terribly small, because its occupant is Prince Alexander John, youngest son of Edward VII, who lived for only a day in 1871. The one on the left, with the sandy-coloured cross, belongs to Prince John, son of one king and brother to two more. His father was George V, and his older brothers became Edward VIII (briefly) and George VI. John had severe epilepsy and lived for most of his life on the Sandringham estate. He died aged 13.

On a happier note, the church has also seen the baptism of several royal babies, most recently Princess Charlotte, and also Princess Eugenie whose engagement announcement inspired the idea of a sequel to Not Your Cinderella in the first place!

"Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world." ~George V

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of Sandringham, which gave me several really interesting details to use in Not Your Royal Christmas and Not Your Knight in Shining Armour, both of which contain more than one Christmas.

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