Palace House is in mourning. Like all those born after 1952, Lady Montagu and I have never known anyone but the late Queen on the throne. She was a reassuring presence throughout our lives, and whilst we often followed her activities from afar, the New Forest was fortunate to receive Her late Majesty on a number of occasions.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of standing beside the road with my school friends at Battramsley and waving to the Queen as she passed by on her way to Lymington in 1966. Later, in 1979, I was proud to be at the Queen’s House in Lyndhurst when my mother, Belinda Lady Montagu, was presented to the Queen who reviewed the recently completed New Forest Embroidery, marking the 9th centenary of the New Forest.
In more recent times, a number of us were thrilled to find ourselves in the company of the Queen and Prince Phillip when they visited the 2012 New Forest Show. Then, in 2017, my sister Mary Montagu-Scott, whilst serving as Hampshire’s High Sheriff, greeted Her late Majesty at Portsmouth when she came to officiate at the commissioning of the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The death of Her Majesty the Queen has cast a shadow of deep sadness over the nation, but we will continue to welcome visitors to Beaulieu during the mourning period, except on the day of the State Funeral. On that day, Beaulieu will be closed as the Montagu family joins the country in paying our respects, and reflects upon our late monarch’s unparalleled service to Britain and the Commonwealth. I have placed a book of condolence in Palace House which our visitors are welcome to contribute to.
Montagu of Beaulieu
Photo credit: The Royal Family