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A Royal Occasion at
Please see Janet McNamara's notes after reading this page
for an explanation relating to this Royal Occasion


1. In June 1834 King William IV and Queen Adelaide were guests of Colonel Clitherow at Boston Manor House, then known as Boston House.The Colonel’s elder sister, Miss Mary Clitherow, also lived there and the following account of the scene comes from one of her letters.
2. “On June 23 1834 their Majesties honoured old Boston House with their company to dinner. They came by Gunnersby (sic) and through our farm at our suggestion; it is so much more gentlemanly an approach than through Old Brentford.
3. The people were collected in numbers at Dr Morris’ School and they gave them a good cheer.We then let the boys into the orchard by the flower-garden where my brother had given leave for the neighbours to be, and it seemed that two hundred were collected.We had our hay makers the opposite side of the garden and kept the people, hay-carts etc, for effect, and it was cheerful and pretty.The weather was perfect and the old place never looked better.
4. They arrived at seven, and we sat down to dinner at half past. During that half hour the Queen walked about the garden even down to the bottom of the wood. The hay makers cheered her, and had a pail of beer, and when she came round the house, instead of turning in, she most good-humouredly walked on to the flower garden and stood five minutes chatting to the party which gave the natives time to get her dress by heart. It was very simple, all white, little bonnet and feathers.
5. The King had a slight touch of hay asthma and the Princess Augusta a slight cold, and therefore they declined going out which was a great disappointment to the people. We had police about to keep order, the bells rang merrily and all went well. We received them in our new-furnished library. When dinner was announced the king took Jane and my brother the Queen, and they sat on opposite sides, the Duchess of Northumberland the other side of the King, Lord Prudhoe the other side of the Queen, General Clitherow and General Sir Edward Kerrison top and bottom, and the rest as they chose – Princess Augusta, Lord and Lady Howe, Lady Brownlow, Lady Clinton, Lady Isabella Wemyss, Colonel Wemyss, Miss Clitherow, Miss Wynyard, Mrs Bullock and Mr Holmes. That makes nineteen. The Duke of Cumberland was to have been the twentieth, but Mr Holmes brought a very polite apology just as we were going in to dinner. The House of Lords detained him.
6. As to the dinner, it was so perfect that it was impossible to know a single thing on the table, and that, you know, must be termed a proper dinner for such a party. My brother gave a carte blanche to Sir Edward Kerrison’s Englishman cook and, to give him his due, he gave us as elegant a dinner as ever I saw. Our waiting was particularly well done – so quiet, no in and out of the room. Everything was brought to the door and there were sideboards all round the room, with everything laid out to prevent clatter of knives, forks and plates. Etiquette allows the lady’s own footman in livery, and we had ten out of livery, the King and Queen’s pages, seven gentlemen borrowed of our friends and our own Butler. They all continued waiting till the ladies left the room. We were well lit, wax on the table and lamps on the sideboards, and many a face I saw taking a peep in at the windows. The room was cool, for the Queen asked to have the top sashes down.
7. The King was not in his usual spirits. He said had it been the day before he must have sent his excuses. The Queen was all animation, and the rest of the party most chatty and agreeable. The King bowed to the Queen when the ladies were to move.
8. Our evening was short, as they went at half past ten. The Princess played on the piano and my brother and Mrs Bullock sang one of Arnold’s duets at the Queen’s request. When they went the sweep was full of people to see them go and their Majesties were cheered out of the grounds. We had with us our little nephew Salkeld, whom my brother puts to Dr Morris’s School. He came in to dessert, a day the child can never forget. The King asked him many questions which he answered distinctly, with a profound bow and then backed away. He looked so pretty, for the awe of Royalty brought all the colour to his cheeks. I felt rather proud of him, he did it so gracefully. The Queen told him she hoped he would make such a good man as his excellent uncle. After dinner the Princess Augusta called him to her in the drawing-room, saying “I like that little fellow’s countenance; he is quite a Clitherow”. She talked to him of cricket, football and hockey, telling him when she was a little girl she played at all these games with her brother, and played cricket particularly well.
9. That we are proud of this day we cordially own, for my brother is the first commoner their Majesties have so honoured; but we feel we ought not to have done it. When Jane, with her honesty, told the Queen we were not in a situation to receive such an honour, her answer was: “Mrs Clitherow, you are making me speeches. If it is wrong, I take the blame, but I was determined to dine once again at Boston House with you.”
10. The absurd conjecture of people at the expence of the day to my brother induces me to tell you what it actually was, as we would be ashamed at the sum guessed at. I have made the closest calculation I possibly can, which includes fees to borrowed servants, ringers, police, carriage of things from and to London, and I have got to £44. Never was less wine drank at a dinner, and that I cannot estimate, but £6, I think must cover that. We had two men cooks, for he brought his friend, and we got all they asked for. Really I think we were let off very well at £50.”
This account can be found in Glimpses of William IV and Queen Adelaide, letters of Jane Clitherow, ed Rev Cecil G White, published by R Brimley Johnson, London 1902.
please see Janet McNamara's notes
For an explanation relating to this Royal Occasion