Road Trip!

Yesterday I took advantage of the beautiful sunny weather we’ve been having and went on a little road trip with a few Canadian Ladies to visit an estate named, Polesden Lacey.

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Front of the house with some of my fellow Canadian Ladies.

This regency house was extensively remodeled in 1906 by Margaret Greville.

Born as Margaret Helen Anderson, she was the illegitimate daughter of Scottish brewer and multimillionaire, William McEwan. He kept Margaret and her mother living across the street from him in Edinburgh. In 1885, he was elected to parliament and needed to move to London. In order to make everything look kosher, he married Margaret’s mother. She was 21 by now. After the marriage and the move to London, Margaret needed to enter high society. She did not have a title, just a lot of money. In comes  the Honorable Ronald Henry Fulke Greville, eldest son of the 2nd Baron Greville. He had the title but the family was broke. They married in 1891 and soon after the wedding they started to look for a party house to entertain high society. They had a house in London on Charles Street, living beside Margaret’s parents, but in Edwardian times, you apparently needed a party house. In comes Polesden Lacey in the Surrey hills about an hour drive of London.

Of course, Margaret had lots of money and she had good taste. She quickly did some major renos to the house in order to entertain large parties. While she was renovating, her husband was diagnosed with throat cancer. Shortly after the removal of the tumor he had in his throat, he passed away. Poor Margaret grieved for a full year while renovations were taking place. Apparently, not long after she stopped wearing black, she had her first of many lavish parties at Polesden Lacey.

Margaret never remarried. Never had children. She took care of her father’s business and spent time with high society. She was a close friend of Queen Mary and the royal family. In fact, upon her death, she bequeathed all her jewels to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, including a diamond necklace reputedly belonging to Marie Antoinette, a pair of diamond chandelier earrings and a tiara and ruby necklace by Boucheron, all of which are in possession of the British Royal Family. Apparently, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, wears the tiara during official royal duties.  

Margaret passed away in 1942 while she was hunkered down at the Dorchester Hotel. Apparently, that’s where a lot of British High society used to hide during the bombings of the WWII.

Coming back to the actual property, the collection of paintings, porcelains, silver etc…is unbelievable. The grounds cover 1400 acres (5.6 square kilometers) in the beautiful Surrey hills. This is prime real estate folks.

She bequeathed her estate to the National Trust in 1942 and with the help of 700 or so volunteers, they have since been taking care of the house, the grounds and the many gardens.

A little claim to fame for the place is the fact that George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother), spent the first week of their honeymoon there in 1923. There sure are lots of pictures proving that!

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Flowers, flowers, beautiful flowers everywhere!

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Gardener’s cottage.

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Flowers for sale.

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Anyone up for a little croquet? 

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One of the roads on the grounds. You can also find some hiking trails.

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On Monday 22 May, on the first day of the RHS Chelsea Flower show, Polesden Lacey launched the Rosa ‘Margaret Greville’ in celebration of 75 years since Mrs Greville bequeathed the property to the National Trust in 1942. The Greville Rose as it’s known, was cultivated exclusively for the National Trust at Polesden Lacey by Peter Beales Roses, world leading rose horticulturalists.

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Where Dame Margaret Helen Greville, Hon Mrs Greville, rests.

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Back of the property.

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Little café where we had tea with scones. 

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It was a lovely day and I would recommend a visit to anyone who wants to go to Polesden Lacey.

 

 

 

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