Polesden Lacey's royal honeymoon

A black and white photo of the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on the terrace at Polesden Lacey during their honeymoon.

While we eagerly wait for the royal wedding on 19 May, discover more about a royal honeymoon hosted at Polesden Lacey almost 100 years ago. The future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother spent their first part of their 1923 honeymoon relaxing in the Surrey Hills.

The announcement that the Duke and Duchess of York would spend their honeymoon at Polesden Lacey came on the 4 April 1923, just over three weeks before the wedding. As with now, the public were eager to know everything about the royal nuptials, and newspapers and magazines were soon filled with poetic descriptions of the house and gardens. 

" At the moment the bridal retreat is at its fairest. April with her generous hand has painted the velvet lawn with a rain of daisies. Spring has perfumed cowslips and polyanthus to sweeten the air."
- Yorkshire Evening Post, 26 April 1923

On the evening of the wedding day, the Duke and Duchess travelled by train from Waterloo to Bookham, where they were met by cheering crowds, who lined the route to Polesden Lacey. Once they had arrived, the Duchess sent a telegraph to her mother, ‘Arrived safely deliciously peaceful here hope you are not all too tired love Elizabeth’. 

It was expected that the king and queen would inherit Polesden Lacey
The Duke and Duchess of York chatting
It was expected that the king and queen would inherit Polesden Lacey

The newlyweds had the entire estate to themselves, as Maggie was staying at her London house. It is believed that they stayed in either the King’s Suite, the suite of rooms that Maggie designed specifically for the use of King Edward VII (the Duke’s grandfather) or the Portico Suite, which currently open to explore.

The couple spent a week at Polesden – archive photographs show them playing golf, wandering around the gardens and relaxing on the south terrace – before travelling on to Glamis Castle in Scotland. 

The duke and duchess play golf on the estate's 9-hole course
A black and white photo of the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother playing golf during their honeymoon.
The duke and duchess play golf on the estate's 9-hole course
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