Royalty – British and Overseas

King Edgar gave Hatfield away. King Henry VIII wanted – and got – it back. His son, King Edward VI gave it to his sister, the future Queen Elizabeth I. Long connected with the British Throne, Hatfield also has many overseas Royal connections. Here is a selection of Hatfield's Royal ties.


Queen Elizabeth I – received the news of her accession to the throne while sitting reading a book under an Oak tree in Hatfield Park in 1558. She later held her first court in Hatfield.


Charles I – the second and only United Kingdom monarch to be deposed (and later beheaded). As a prisoner on his way to London, he stopped at Hatfield and attended mass at St Ethelreda's Church on Sunday, 27 June 1647.


Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – visited in 1846 (in preparation for her visit new iron gates are installed in front of Hatfield House). To mark this royal visit St Ethelreda's Church had a spire installed the following year (it was removed in 1930).


Shah of Persia – attended a garden party in his honour at Hatfield House during his travels across Europe in 1889. Persia is now the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany – visited the town and stayed overnight at Hatfield House with the then British Prime Minister, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, during a state visit in 1891.


Prince George – the Duke of Kent was the brother of King Edward VIII and King George VI and uncle of the future Queen Elizabeth II. He was guest of honour at the RAF Flying Club Display at Hatfield in June 1934. He also made another visit in November 1941, in his capacity as Inspector General of the RAF. He was killed on active service when the Short Sunderland flying boat (W4026) transporting him to Iceland for an official visit crashed into a mountain in Scotland on 25 August 1942 (a number of sources, including Hansard online, incorrectly give the date as 15 August). Of the 15 people on board there was only one survivor.


King Amanullah and Queen Surayya of Afghanistan – during a tour of Europe, the Afghan King and Queen came to Britain on a state visit that lasted from 13 March to 5 April 1928 (although some sources state 3 April, there also a number of variations in the spelling of the King's and Queen's names). During their visit they stayed briefly at Hatfield House. The King was suitably impressed by European technical advancements; however, his long absence and willingness to adopt Western ways led to a revolt shortly after his return to Afghanistan and he was eventually forced to abdicate, and went into exile in January 1929.


Prince Lennart of Sweden – learnt to fly at Hatfield in the early Thirties.


Prince Ulrich Kinsky of Austria –  visited Hatfield in his new Leopard Moth (while his old Puss Moth was being overhauled here).


Prince Chichibu of Japan – brother of the Emperor Showa (better known in Britain as the Emperor Hirohito), and a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, visited Britain in 1937 to attend the coronation of King George VI. He paid a brief visit to Hatfield to attend the SBAC show.


Prince Cantacuzene of Rumania – stayed overnight at Hatfield (Comet Hotel) in 1937 before attempting a record breaking 29 hour flight from Hatfield to the Cape.


Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands – learnt to fly at Hatfield during WWII.


Prince Akihito of Japan (later Emperor of Japan) – visited the aircraft factory at Hatfield while on a visit to Britain to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Following the death of his father, the Emperor Showa, he became the 125th Emperor.


Princess Margaret – entered an aircraft, flown by Group Captain Peter Townsend, for the 1951 Festival of Britain National Air Races that were scheduled to be held at Hatfield. Both she and the then Princess Elizabeth attended but the actual races were cancelled due to bad weather.


Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh – first flew in a jet aircraft in a flight starting and ending from Hatfield in March 1952. The Comet I was piloted by Group Captain John Cunningham, de Havilland's chief test pilot, and Squadron Leader Peter Bois. In November 1959, the Duke flew from Hatfield to Accra, the capital of Ghana, for a week's visit, in a DH Heron of the Queen's Flight which he piloted part of the way.


Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret –  made their first flight in a commercial jet airliner from Hatfield in May 1952.


Queen Elizabeth II – planted an Oak sapling to replace the original Royal Oak (its trunk is preserved and on display in one of the buildings at Hatfield House) in Hatfield Park in 1985.


Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al-Thani – saw a display of civil and military aircraft at the British Aerospace factory at Hatfield, in November 1985, during the first state visit to Britain by an Emir of Qatar.



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