With royal events very much in the news, Brighton itself has seen many royal visits in the past, notably that of Prince William’s great grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), who visited Brighton in 1928.
During May and June of that year, Brighton was celebrating the extension of the borough boundaries which took in Rottingdean and Patcham and the Dyke area. Bonfires were lit, fireworks set off, a pageant took place in Preston Park and a World’s Fair was held at the Dome.To mark the extension of the new borough, two pylons were erected either side of the London Road at Patcham. It was here on 30 May that the Duchess, dressed ‘in bright beige-coloured crepe de chine, with long coat of georgette with a fox fur collar’ laid the foundation stone of the western pylon with a gold trowel.
Lunch was taken at the Dome. The menu included Mousse de Foie Champagne and Filet de Sole Princess de Galle but ended rather disappointingly with fruit salad.
From there the Duke and Duchess went on to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children where they opened a new wing. Here they were presented with a doll for Princess Elizabeth (the present Queen) and an inscribed silver key.
Finally, the royal party drove to Devil’s Dyke where a stone seat commemorating the purchase of the Dyke Estate by the Brighton Corporation was unveiled. The Duke dedicated the Dyke ‘for the use and enjoyment of the public forever’.
The following day the Mayor received a letter from the royal couple’s secretary stating that:
‘they will long remember the interesting occasion in which they were privileged to take part, and they send renewed expressions of their good wishes for the success of the celebrations’.
Paul Jordan, Senior History Centre Officer