The People of Gibraltar
1800s - The Royal Visits - Affie, Sisi and Eddy

The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Kent  - The Duke of Connaught and Mr. Francia
Robert Wilson and Mr. Bracebridge - Sir Alexander Woodford and Lady Codrington.

Gibraltar has long had an obsession with Royalty and its administrators have never been remiss in advertising the glorious Britishness - or perhaps one should say Englishness - of their constitutional monarchs and their many relatives. They certainly got plenty of chances to display their ingrained class-conscious attitudes  given the large number of members of the Royal family who for one reason or another visited the Rock during the 19th and 20th century.

The Duke of Kent
The first royal visitor of the 19th century was the Duke of Kent (see LINK) who was sent over by his brother the Duke of York to take over as Governor from General O'Hara.  (see LINK) The Gibraltar Directory of 1937 records the event rather abruptly.
10th May 1802 -  Arrival of the Duke of Kent K.G. new Governor of Gibraltar on the Isis.'
And then without a single mention of the intervening years, an even more dismissive farewell.
20th March 1803 - The Duke was recalled because it was thought that he had used undue severity in restoring order in the garrison.

The Duke of Kent with Gibraltar in the background

Of course this was all post-hoc. The Duke was the exception to the rule to the usual overly obsequious accounts of the arrival of anybody on the Rock with the slightest trace of blue running through their veins. He was being given the proverbial brush-off.  The problem of course was that British history - and the author of the Gibraltar Directory - had written off his term of office as a failure. The fact that the Duke of Kent had already been stationed in Gibraltar in the late 18th century is not even mentioned is also revealing.

Duke of Sussex
In May 1802, Prince Edward's youngest brother, the Duke of Sussex arrived on HMS Mermaid. He stayed with him for well over a month and then left for Lisbon on the same ship.  He had only come into his title six months previously. As he was neither a military man nor an administrator, one cannot imagine he would have been of much use to his brother. In fact as far as one can make out he seems to have been the kind of person who went through his entire life without ever doing anything remotely useful.

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex   ( Louis Gauffier )

From 1804 and right up to 1834 Gibraltar was in the grip of multiple epidemics of both yellow fever ( see LINK ) and Cholera. The Royals wisely gave the Rock a wide berth. For thirty years Gibraltar struggled on without them.

Prince George of Cambridge
But all good things come to an end and in on Oct 9th 1838 His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge arrived on the Rock. He was a colonel in the British army and had been sent over to take up an important position at Staff Head Quarters.

A man who had hardly distinguished himself as a leader - or indeed in military affairs - he was nevertheless soon promoted to general and then field-marshal, inevitably ending up as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. During his stay in Gibraltar  he is reputed to have spent most of his time patronising ‘the Sports of Calpe' which, as a contemporary officer once wrote, ' he always found time to do in spite of being arduously engaged in learning the details of his profession.’ ( see LINK )

Prince George Duke of Cambridge ( 1838 - William Essex )

His most memorable contribution during his stay on the Rock was arriving late for a meet. His greeting to the patient huntsmen has been immortalised in the Sporting Magazine - ‘I’m devilishly glad I’ve caught you – so fire away.’

The Calpe Hunt - Duke of Cambridge on the left ( 1838 - George Cole )

Queen Adelaide
Several days after Cambridge's arrival, Queen Adelaide came to town. She took up residence in the Convent - the Governor being the hospitable Sir Alexander Woodford.  Presumably she was looking for a bit of light relief. Her husband William IV had died and she herself was just recovering from a serious illness.

Like almost everyone else who visited at the time, she very quickly became a convert of the Calpe Hunt - at least in so far as trips to the Almoraima are concerned. The word 'picnic' however can hardly be used to describe her little outings. On one occasion she was accompanied by a full escort of Lancers commanded by General Iriarte, the Governor of Algeciras.

She left on the 18th of October on HMS Hastings after having donated £100 to Charity. The day before she left she attended the consecration service of the Garrison Church which had only recently been opened. A woman of refined tastes she must have been appalled at the architecture of the mosque like pile which would change its name over the years from Garrison Church to Protestant Church to its final metamorphosis as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Queen Adelaide was the rather unlikely lady who gave her name to the capital city of South Australia.

The Dowager Queen Adelaide

Protestant Cathedral ( Early 20th century view )

Duke and Duchess of Coburg - Wellington Front
The next set of Royals to visit were not British - although one of them was the great, great, great, grandfather of Elizabeth II. The Duke and Duchess of Coburg came to Gibraltar accompanied by the Governor, Sir Robert Wilson - a man best known throughout the British army as - 'a good soldier but no general' - to which it might be possible to add 'and no Governor either.'  The Coburg's helped him lay the foundation key-stone of Wellington Front and then moved on.

Sir Robert Wilson ( Unknown )

Duke of Ostragothia - Theater Royal
The British Royals kept away for a while and it was the Duke of Ostragothia who next made an appearance.  A relatively obscure Swedish Prince it was he who was given the honour of opening the new Theatre Royal (see LINK) on the 10th of May 1847. The main event was Verdi's Nabucodonsor and among the rest of the crowd was the Governor Sir Robert Wilson and his daughter. (see LINK

Well before any singing took place there was an opportunity to display some heartfelt loyalty to non-present British Royals. Corporal McLeod of the Royal Engineers  had been selected to read out a prologue written by the Governor himself. When he finished his piece with the words 'God Save Great Britain's Loved and Lovely Queen', the house rose to a man and responded with thunderous hurrahs. It is not known whether the architect of the theatre - Mr. Bracebridge - was present.

The Theatre Royal as it may have looked like in the mid 19th century ( Unknown )

Prince Alfred - 'Affie'
In 1858 the British were back. Prince 'Albert' is supposed to have arrived on the 28th November on the Frigate Euryalus, stayed for about a week and then buzzed off to Tangier and then Malta without being asked to inaugurate anything. 

'Albert' must have been a typo as the most likely candidate was not the Prince Consort but Prince Alfred - commonly known as 'Affie' and Queen Victoria's second son by Prince Albert. He had been appointed as midshipman in the Euryalus when he was fourteen. Gibraltar was probably one of his first ports of call.

HMS Euryalus

Alfred made numerous  visits to Gibraltar over the years as a member of the Royal Navy aboard the Euryalus and other ships before giving up the good life to become the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Affie, less formally known as HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

The Prince of Wales
Six months later on the 7th of May 1859 the young Prince of Wales - he was only 18 years old - made the first of several visits to the Rock as Prince and then as King. He arrived on the Royal sloop Scourge from Civita Vecchia and was on his way home from an educational trip to Rome. According to the historian Allen Andrews ( see LINK ):
When the Prince of Wales arrived ( it was ) Saturday and the humblest Jew was wearing his best, the future Edward VII gazed at the galaxy of silk hats and asked if there were no poor people in Gibraltar . . .
He stayed for quite a while and included visits to Spain and to Ceuta.

The Scourge doing some hard work well away from Gibraltar. It goes without saying that the Prince was not on her at the time.

During his stay the town was illuminated and large crowds lined the streets of the town whenever he moved from one place to another.  During an address by the Chamber of Commerce at the Theatre Royal the merchants expressed their 'loyalty and devotion'. When it was all over, the crowd, not to be outdone, unhitched the horses from the Prince Edward's carriage and drew the thing themselves all the way back to the convent. He left for England, via Tangier, Cadiz and Lisbon on the 28th of May on the Royal Yacht Osborne.

The young Prince of Wales, future Edward VII ( 1859 - Unknown )

Empress of Austria - Sisi
In May 1861, the Empress of Austria arrived on the Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert - which was probably the on loan, renamed Osborne. Elizabeth, known as Sisi to her family and friends but definitely not by Gibraltarians, was a Roman Catholic. During her short stay - she left the following day for Palma de Majorca - she was forced to do the usual tourist trek of the Great Siege excavations and attended a Te Deum with the Governor's wife, Lady Codrington.

Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert ( A de Simone )

The Empress of Austria and Lady Codrington

Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and Empress Charlotte
On the 24th of April 1864 Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and his wife the Empress Charlotte - first cousin to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, arrived on the Austrian frigate Novara. He was off to claim the throne of Mexico - a  harebrained scheme thought up by Napoleon III and other European powers. He had lunch with Sir William Codrington and then left for Veracruz the next day. Three years later he was shot dead by a firing squad of ungrateful Mexicans.

The unfortunate Emperor Maximilian and a Mexican firing squad ( 1867 -  Edourde Manet )

Prince Alfred - 'Affie'
The next year in November 1865 Prince Alfred aka Affie, arrived from Madeira on board HMS Racoon. It was his second visit to the Rock. He remained in Gibraltar for nearly three months, and even found time to have his photograph taken.

Portrait of Prince Alfred taken by local photographer Gustave Dautez ( See LINK

Duke of Connaught
In Oct 19th 1875  the Duke of Connaught joined Garrison General Staff. He was Queen Victoria's third son. Prince Arthur was only 25 years old, had only recently been created a Royal peer but had already made a name for himself in the army while stationed in Canada.

Aaron Cardozo's well known house in Commercial Square (see LINK) had recently been purchased by Pablo Antonio Larios (see LINK) a rich Gibraltar Merchant who happened to be the Master of the Calpe Hunt. (see LINK) Knowing that in Gibraltar, generosity towards the ruling elite often led to many a convenient quid pro quo, Larios promptly made his house available to the Duke.

King's Bastion on the Line Wall with Connaught House middle right  (Unknown )

Despite the fact that he only lived in it for a few month Aaron's masterpiece became known as Connaught House, a name it retained for many years. Like most of his military predecessors with sufficient clout to do as they damn well pleased he probably spent most of his time on the Rock well away from it hunting with the Calpe Hunt.

The Duke of Connaught in what he fondly believed to be authentic Highland dress.

Prince of Wales
Connaught's departure from Gibraltar in April 1876, coincided with the Prince of Wales' second visit . He arrived on the Serapis and his reception was almost a repeat performance of that of his previous one. 

The Rock was brilliantly illuminated at night, he attended the theatre and he was accorded a 'right royal reception' by the Exchange committee. (See LINK) The chairman Mr. Francia read an address on behalf of the inhabitants - a rare mention by name of one of the natives - albeit one of the wealthier ones.

Arrival of HMS Serapis and the Prince.

The Prince of Wales landing in Gibraltar. If the picture is anything to go by he did so in Spain. One must suppose the artist gave himself a bit of artistic licence  in order to show off the North Front to advantage  ( The Graphic )

On his way to Casemates Square ( The Graphic )

The Prince in Gibraltar ( The graphic )
Illuminations for the visit     ( W. Simpson  )

With the assistance of the local Masonic Lodge 153,  the Prince, who happened to be the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, also laid the foundation stone of the market at Chatham Counterguard. Although not obvious on the photograph below, he was dressed in full Masonic regalia. He also laid another foundation stone for the new Alexandra Battery this time without the Masonic trimmings.

A rather blurred photograph of the great and the good - most of them Masons - helping the Prince lay the foundation stone of the market at Chatham Counterguard  (Unknown )

Laying the Alexandra Battery Foundation stone  ( The Graphic )

There was also a farewell demonstration initiated by the local Casino Calpe in honour of the Duke of Connaught  The connection between the Duke and the Club may also have had something to do with local Freemasonry.

Casino Calpe decorated in honour of the visiting Prince of Wales  - and the departure of the Duke of Connaught

Decorated Main Street during the visit

Duke and Duchess of Connaught
Whatever the case he found it hard to stay away. Almost exactly three years later in 1879, The Duke and his newly wedded wife - Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia - arrived in  Gibraltar. Despite the fact that the poor man was on his honeymoon, there was no respite. There was yet another address by a member of  the Exchange Committee -  this time nameless - and a 'Deputation of Ladies - some of whom may or may not have been local - presented the Duchess with a magnificent - if rather inappropriate -  black lace Spanish mantilla. The Rock illumination system came out of storage and the couple were made to suffer the perils of a German tattoo - presumably in the Grand Parade.

Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia being shown the sights. The Duke of Connaught must have seen them all before.

HIH the Archduke Rodolph and HRH Prince Archduke Rodolph
About a week after Wales and Connaught  had left the Rock the Austrian yacht Miramar dropped anchor in the Bay and Gibraltar was honoured with a visit by the confusingly named HIH the Archduke Rodolph and HRH Prince Archduke Rodolph - protocol hell for the  local entertainment organisers.

The Yacht Miramar leaving Venice

The first Rodolph would commit suicide ten years later together with his 17 year old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera. Although too involved to go into here the series of events set off by this tragedy is said to have been responsible for a somewhat bigger one - the First World War. The second Rodolph was his son. Both of them were on an ornithological field trip that would take in both Spain and France.

HIH the Archduke Rudolph and his mistress the Baroness Mary Vetsera

Prince Albert and Prince George
Six months later on the 6th of November 1879 it was the turn of the Royal Prince Albert and his brother George aboard  HMS Bacchante, a ship that would itself became famous for being home to the two young sons of the Prince of Wales for three long years.

HMS Bacchante

As such they were received with full honours. Part of the entertainments lined up for them included a repeat performance of the German tattoo. George was a run of the mill individual but Albert who was known as Eddy, was as thick as the proverbial planks. While they were in Gibraltar the Governor, Lord Napier, either falling into the usual brown-nosed mode reserved for these occasions - or simply mistaking Eddy's stupidity for what he thought of as a 'profoundly contemplative nature' is known to have written the following after their visit.
The youngest ( Prince George later King George V but Napier couldn't have guessed ) is the most lively and popular but I think the elder ( Eddy, the heir to the throne but died 13 years later  but how could Napier have known ) is better suited to his situation - he is shy and not demonstrative, but does the right things as a young gentleman in a quiet way.
On the 15th of November they left for Madeira.

Prince George
Eleven years later on the 9th of June 1890 Prince George was back, this time as commander of the first class gunboat the Thrush. Less than five months later his brother Eddy would be dead from influenza and he would marry Eddy's girlfriend and become the heir to the throne. If they had known that at the time in Gibraltar his fortnight's stay there might have proved even more comfortable than it was.

Prince George

Eddy - Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence  ( 1881 - William and Daniel Downey )

HMS Thrush

Appropriately the future George V would be - if one can be influenced by official documents - the last person of any consequence to visit the Rock during the 19th century. At any rate he was definitely the last Royal to do so. Gibraltar would not be so lucky as regards the 20th. (See LINK)