A Town with a Royal History
The band played and the bells rang out in December 1819 when the Duke and Duchess of Kent, with the infant Princess Victoria, arrived at Woolbrook Cottage, now the Royal Glen Hotel. Their stay, however, was tragically short, for the Duke died on January 23rd from complications after a heavy cold. His coffin lay in state here for several days and was seen by some 3000 people. But the funeral was delayed because of the death, six days later, of his father, King George III. Not until February 7th did the cortege leave Sidmouth through streets lined by silent crowds.
In 1856 Edward, Prince of Wales, stayed at the Royal York Hotel, visiting Woolbrook Cottage to see where his grandfather died and where his mother slept as a baby.
Fortunately, not all Sidmouth’s royal connections are tinged with such sadness. A favourite Royal visitor was the Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s third son. He first came in 1931 and in 1934 gave his name to Connaught Gardens so admired today by visitors from all over the world.