Polesden Lacey is a fine Edwardian House near Great Bookham in Surrey. The place has been grand estate since at least the 1300’s, but it was really Margaret Greville who made the house famous. Her parents were working class, but her father’s brewery business made them millionaires. She married Lord Greville in 1891. Her husband happened to be best friends with the man who was to become Edward VII. Her status secured, she became very close to the Royal family and used her estate at Polesden Lacey to host many hoity toity parties and gatherings.
She never had children, and her husband died aged just 43 in 1908. Her reputation as a society hostess continued unabated however. If the stories are true she had a profound influence over the relationship between Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. She appears to have acted as match maker for the couple, possibly even to the extent of manipulating a potential suitor of Elizabeth’s to get involved in the oil business. An oil business that happened to be run by a relative of her deceased husband. Prince Albert went on to marry Elizabeth and became King George when his brother Edward abdicated the throne in 1936. If you watched The King’s Speech, you’ll know all that of course.
When Margaret Greville died in 1942 she had no family or relatives. So she bequeathed the house and grounds to the National Trust and her jewels left to her friend Elizabeth. To Elizabeth’s daughter Margaret she left Â£20,000, a considerable sum. She was buried in the beautiful grounds of Polesden Lacey. If you are interested in reading more about Margaret Greville, this sometimes caustic article is interesting. Alternatively you can buy this book about her.
Each of these photographs can be viewed in larger format on my Flickr page by clicking on them.