Take a look at Polesden Lacey's timeline

Polesden Lacey was the country home of the dynamic and ambitious Margaret Greville. She led an interesting life, and Polesden Lacey played a pivotal role in it...


    Mrs Greville buys Polesden Lacey

    Mrs Greville in the Gold Room

    1906: Mrs Greville's father, William McEwan gave her £80,000 to buy the Polesden Lacey estate. She and her husband, Ronnie employed architects Mewès and Davis, responsible for the Ritz hotel to redesign the house. In March 1908, Ronnie was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal chords and following an operation to remove his larynx, he sadly died of pneumonia on 5 April 1908, before they moved into the house.

    King Edward VII comes for dinner

    Polesden King Edward VII historic

    1909: King Edward VII came to stay at Polesden Lacey. The guest list included Mrs Greville's father, William McEwan; Mr and Mrs George Keppel and their daughter, Sonia Keppel. George Keppel's wife, Alice, was Edward VII's mistress and great-grandmother to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

    The Great War

    Polesden war veteran historic

    1915: Mrs Greville opened the north and west sides of Polesden Lacey as a convalescent home for soldiers injured during The Great War. King George V and Queen Mary visited the soldiers in August that year. The golf course was used to plant potatoes and gardeners were asked to produce more food.

    The Royal honeymoon

    Polesden royal honeymoon historic

    1923: In April 1923, the Duke and Duchess of York spent a two week honeymoon at Polesden Lacey. In 1914 Mrs Greville had told King George V and Queen Mary that she'd leave Polesden to their son, the Duke of York, because at this time he wasn't heir to the throne. She changed her mind when he became King after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII.

    The Abdication crisis

    Polesden George VI and family historic

    1936: King Edward VIII announced his abdication on 12 December 1936, before his coronation so he could marry American divorcée, Wallis Simpson. As next in line to the throne, his brother, the Duke of York became King George VI. The coronation took place on 12 May 1937 and the Duchess of York became Queen Elizabeth (later known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). Mrs Greville had disapproved of Edward VIII, the former Prince of Wales before he met Wallis Simpson and there was no love lost between them.

    World War II

    Mrs Greville Spitfire

    1941: Mrs Greville paid almost £6000 for a Spitfire to be built in March 1941, named Margaret Helen after her. The Spitfire was used by the Royal Air Force to fly over France during the Second World War and it survived until December 1944.

    Mrs Greville leaves Polesden to National Trust

    Polesden Mrs Greville grave

    1942: Mrs Greville died on 15 September 1942, aged 78, at the Dorchester hotel in London where she'd been living since 1940. On 25 November 1942 it was announced that Mrs Greville had left the Polesden Lacey estate to the National Trust, along with much of the contents of her house in Charles Street, London and a generous endowmentThe Guardian newspaper said this was, 'for use by the public, as a memorial to her father, Mr William McEwan.' Mrs Greville was buried in the Lady's Garden at Polesden Lacey on 19 September 1942.


    Polesden fire

    1960: On 1 September 1960, a serious fire broke out in Polesden Lacey's mansion flats and visitors helped carry the collection from the showrooms to safety. Mrs Greville's bedroom was badly damaged and many rooms needed to be redecorated. Fortunately nothing was lost.