Felixstowe's royal history revealed

IMPROBABLE as it may seem, Felixstowe has many royal links.Back in 1338, Edward III used it as his base before sailing to fight the French, George V visited many times, while in 1891 its popularity as a resort was due to the Empress of Germany staying for the summer.

IMPROBABLE as it may seem, Felixstowe has many royal links.

Back in 1338, Edward III used it as his base before sailing to fight the French, George V visited many times, while in 1891 its popularity as a resort was due to the Empress of Germany staying for the summer.

In the first world war, the late Queen Mother worked as a nurse at the resort and turned "spycatcher" by alerting the authorities to a suspicious character; in the 1930s it was home to Wallis Simpson during the abdication crisis; and in the 1980s the Princess Royal was a frequent visitor to Felixstowe College.

Now in a new book, historian Doreen Rayner has uncovered even more royal links - including connections to Camilla Parker Bowles, and King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynne.


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Mrs Rayner said: "It's like being a detective, following up leads and gradually piecing together a story - like all places, Felixstowe has a fascinating history and I just love discovering more and more of it."

Under One Umbrella puts two of her previous books - Walton-cum-Felixstowe and More about Walton-cum-Felixstowe - in one volume, but updated with many more gems about the seaside town.

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Modern Felixstowe, a resort built by the Victorians and Edwardians, is lucky enough to have its history recorded more fully than many towns.

Before that there was little except Walton, recorded by the Normans in the Domesday Book, fields and forest, an abandoned shore fort left by the Romans and Landguard Fort.

Mrs Rayner of Manor Terrace, Felixstowe said: "When Edward III stayed at Walton Old Hall, there would have been very little in this area - no Hamilton Road, houses, churches.

"Walton would have existed, and there would have been fields and forest all around, sweeping down to the cliffs and sea.

"The hall itself would have been a palace - absolutely huge with a gatehouse and walls all around it. It seems amazing today to go to the site and see just a little clump of bricks and try to imagine what it was really like."

Mrs Rayner has drawn from a variety of resources, including newspapers, account books, and hospital minute books.

Her delving has revealed Camilla Parker Bowles' great-great-great-great-great grandfather once owned Tamarisk House, while Nell Gwynne and King Charles II's grandson Lord George Beauclerk was governor of Landguard Fort.

n Under One Umbrella is available from Treasure Chest, Magpie Books and the Card Shop in Felixstowe, price £6.99.

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