The Princess and the White Lodge

It was the summer of 1935 and following the death of the long time owner of the White Lodge, Dame Madge Kendal, the property was on the market. One interested party was no less than the Princess Mary, the daughter of King George V.

Princess Mary was perhaps the Royal with the longest association with Filey. Her full title was Her Royal Highness The Princess Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood, the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary and the aunt of the current monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, when Princess Mary married Viscount Lascelles (later the 6th Earl of Harewood) in 1922, the future Queen Elizabeth was a bridesmaid. The marriage resulted in two sons, George, 7th Earl of Harewood and The Honourable Gerald Lascelles.

The two boys loved Filey and spent many a summer in the town in the 1920s and 1930s. As early as 1925 rumours were reported in the newspapers that the Princess was considering buying a property on The Crescent as a summer residence.

On 29th July 1930 the boys arrived at Filey for three weeks’ holiday. Along with their two nurses they stayed at number 34 The Crescent. They were reportedly taken by Thomas ‘Titch’ Jenkinson on the coble Heather to North Landing and shown around the lifeboat house and lighthouse. A few days later the boys were said to have been playing French Cricket on the sands. They then played on some coble wheels, but were told to ‘tak them wheels back’ by the owner.

A poor quality image, but one showing Princess Mary’s two sons, George, (who became the 7th Earl of Harewood) and The Honourable Gerald Lascelles, with their nurse maids on The Crescent.

The interest shown in the White Lodge by the Princess came to nothing and the property became a hotel in 1938. However, the Princess Royal returned to Filey in 1955 to formally open Royal Parade. The new promenade and sea defences replaced those damaged beyond repair by a freak storm two years previously. Whilst the Princess was at Filey she presented the British Empire Medal to ‘Titch’ Jenkinson for ‘services to inshore fishermen’. Apparently the Princess reminisced with Titch about the boat trip he took her sons on to Flambrough some twenty-five years earlier. The Princess also visited the life boat house, the YMCA and unveiled meteorological equipment that had been donated to the Town Council.

The stone plaque commemorating the opening of Royal Parade by the Princess Royal in 1955.


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