A look at the Royal visits to Lancashire
The Royal family have paid many visits to Lancashire down the centuries, and why wouldn’t they. After all, the Queen does hold the title, Duke of Lancaster. But what is the role of Duke of Lancaster?
The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate of the British monarch and it provides a source of income for the Royal family that is separate to that received as sovereign. The Duchy is one of two, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall and this is traditionally held by the Prince of Wales. The estate of the Duke of Lancaster consists of a portfolio of land and property not only in Lancashire, but also Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and even London and Wales.
Since 1993, income tax and capital gains tax has been paid from income of the estate. History Referred to as the Lancaster inheritance, the estate dates to 1265, when Henry III granted his younger son, Edmund Crouchback, lands forfeited by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. In 1266, the estates of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby were added. In 1267 the estate was granted the title County, Honour and Castle of Lancaster. In 1284 Edmund was given the Manor of Savoy by his mother, Eleanor of Provence, the niece of the original grantee, Peter II, Count of Savoy. Edward III raised Lancashire into a county palatine (basically, an area ruled by a hereditary noblemen) in 1351, and the holder, Henry of Grosmont, Edmund’s grandson, was created Duke of Lancaster. After his death, a charter of 1362 conferred the dukedom on his son-in-law John of Gaunt, Earl of Lancaster, and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten for ever. In 1399 the Duchy of Lancaster, held by John of Gaunt’s son Henry of Bolingbroke, merged with the crown when he became King. His first act as Henry IV was to declare that the Lancastrian inheritance be held separately from the other possessions of the Crown, and should descend to male heirs. This separation of identities was confirmed in 1461 by Edward IV when he retitled the estate the Duchy of Lancaster but declaring that it would remain a separate inheritance to the Crown itself.
Visits to Chorley Borough With or without the Duchy of Lancaster, the Royal family would of course visit Lancashire as they do all across the Country and commonwealth, and our Borough has been no stranger to entertaining a number of monarchs. In 1617, King James I was travelling from Scotland to London when he stopped at Hoghton Tower. Of course such a guest deserved a feast fit for a King, and it is said that the two day banquet consisted of 129 dishes served over dinner, supper and breakfast. The famous story is that King James was so impressed with his prime cut of beef that he declared “Arise, Sir Loin” and of course today we have the sirloin! There may have been many more occasions when members of the Royal family visited the Borough but in more modern times we know that King George V and Queen Mary visited Chorley in July 1913 as part of their 8 day tour of industrial Lancashire. Chorley Council even commissioned a number of commemorative medallions to hand out to school children and dignitaries as a keepsake of the memorable event. Interestingly, again the monarch visited Hoghton Tower for dinner and planted an oak tree and unveiled a commemorative plaque which is still there today.
Much closer to home is of course when King George VI arrived by train to officially open ROF Chorley, the site of Buckshaw Village. He arrived on 31st March 1939 and was taken on a tour around the factory which had actually been in low level production since December 1938. The King was the first name to appear in the visitors book and the rest as they say, is history. It would be fascinating to know just where he went around the factory so that we could re-imagine where he would have been on a modern day map of our village! No doubt it will only be a matter of time before a member of the Royal family or even the Monarch visits the area again. They would certainly see a vast difference to when their ancestor was shown around! If anyone has any stories they would like to share about a Royal visit or maybe you were involved in meeting a member of the Royal family, do let me know.
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