The Royal family spent much of their time at Osborne and there are numerous articles in the newspapers telling of their visits to Ryde. They often drove into the town, but also regularly walked along the streets, visiting shops and hotels. When they came to look for a holiday home, it is said that Victoria and Albert stayed at the Royal Kent Hotel, now the Squadron. It is documented that Victoria used rooms on the first floor to hold court in Ryde before Osborne was built to Albert’s specifications. The Royal Pier Hotel, demolished in 1931, was also favoured by the Royal family in the early 19th century.
On this page we will print these articles and pictures which appeared regularly in national magazines.
Royals in Ryde
Observer JULY 29 1865
ROYAL VISIT TO RYDE – The inhabitants of Union-street were gratified on Monday last by seeing one of the Royal carriages drive down the street. It stopped at the entrance of the Arcade, and their Royal Highnesses the Princess Helena and Louise got out and walked to the photographic studio of Mr Jabez Hughes. They remained with him some time. We trust he was as successful on this as he has been on former occasions. Of this, however, we have little doubt, and it is only to be regretted that his splendid new premises in Union-street – a very temple of photographic art – were not sufficiently completed to have taken the portraits of his royal visitors there. This would have been a fitting inauguration of Regina House. Let us hope that such an honour is yet in store for our enterprising and spirited townsman.
The image shows Princess Beatrice and Ryde Mayor, Benjamin Barrow, at the opening of the Ryde Fine Art Exhibition, December 22, 1881. Over 14,000 visitors flocked to Ryde’s Town Hall over the five weeks the exhibition was open.
Observer August 1, 1885 MORE ROYAL VISITORS
On Thursday afternoon a number of the members of the Royal Family, who are staying at Osborne, drove to Ryde in two carriages, and put up at the Castle Hotel, preparatory to a stroll through the town. Wending their way to the Esplanade they seemed desirous of enjoying a quiet walk in that pleasant part of the town, but they were soon recognised, and, (truth compels us to admit) treated with that indelicate curiosity which it seems to be the penalty of those occupying high stations to be compelled to submit to. A desire to scan the features of those so closely related to our beloved Queen is to a certain extent excusable, but the crowd who gathered on the Esplanade behaved with unpardonable rudeness, actually running after the Royal group, and staring at them with an undisguised eagerness which must have been most disconcerting to those who were subjected to it. Those guilty of this behaviour were not all of the lower class; several well-dressed ladies and gentlemen being notable offenders. The inhabitants of Ryde are so accustomed to Royal visits that we hardly believed they would have behaved in such a manner. At last the Royal party took refuge in Kemp’s Hotel, where they had tea, and subsequently paid visits to the establishments of Mr Henshall and Mr Mills. They remained at the latter place some time, and quite a crowd assembled at the top of Union-street, the majority of whom remained quietly standing, and bowing as the Royal party passed. These salutations were affably returned, but again a number of ill-bred people ran after the party and stared till they got into their carriages and drove away. The Royal party was recognised as the Marquis of Lorne and the Princess Louise (who both looked exceedingly well), the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, the Duchess of Edinburgh, and the Grand Duke of Hesse.
Please note that every time such details are published in the papers, the reporters are able to give an account of how the Royal party looked…………….
It is common knowledge that in 1870, after her flight from France, the Empress Eugenie arrived at Ryde Pier. Due to her dishevelled appearance, she was refused admittance to the Royal Pier Hotel and spent the night at the Royal York Hotel in George Street. This is a photograph of her which was taken in Paris by Disderi, who was the first photographer to produce cartes de visite.