History

'So shrewd, so kind and so amusingly unkind'

This portrait can be seen in the Gold Room at Polesden Lacey

This portrait can be seen in the Gold Room at Polesden Lacey

Margaret Greville bought Polesden Lacey  in 1906, and left it to the National Trust in 1942.  She inherited a fortune from her father, William McEwan, and she mixed with royalty and politicians. She was loved by many, but not all, mainly because she liked to gossip and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. Mrs Greville was renowned for being a wonderful hostess as well as generous to those less fortunate than her.

'She was so shrewd, so kind and so amusingly unkind, so sharp, such fun, so naughty.' Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

'Full of stories, and if with a spice of scandal so much the better.' The Earl of Crawford

'Maggie Greville! I would sooner have an open sewer in my drawing-room!' Lady Leslie

Timeline

Margaret Greville led an interesting life which began in Edinburgh as the daughter of millionaire brewer, William McEwan. He gave her the money to buy Polesden Lacey in 1906.

Below stairs

A number of staff  were employed to ensure the house and estate were run as efficiently as possible.

Royal visitors

The Duke and Duchess of York on their honeymoon in 1923

The Duke and Duchess of York on their honeymoon in 1923

King Edward VII came to Polesden Lacey for dinner in 1909. His son, George V would visit with Queen Mary, who often telephoned at short notice to announce herself for afternoon tea.

George V's son and wife, the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) spent part of their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey in 1923.

When Mrs Greville died in 1942, she left all of her jewellery to Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall wore the Greville Tiara and the Greville Necklace at the Queen's Commonwealth Dinner at Kampala in 2007.

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