Cornwall’s Royal Connections

Cornwall has many links to Kings and Queens, some more 'royal' than others..

To mark the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla, we have chosen some of our favourites to share with you.

Who is the Duke of Cornwall?

Prince William became the new Duke of Cornwall when his father became King in 2022. King Charles III was the previous Duke of Cornwall, a role he assumed in 1952. The title always goes to the eldest son of the reigning monarch and had previously been held by Prince Edward (Edward VIII), son of George V. He had to give up the title when he abdicated.

The Duchy of Cornwall manages 135,000 acres of land across England, although less than 15% of that is in Cornwall. Ironically almost half of the duchy land is on Dartmoor in neighbouring Devon. Much of the Cornish land is leased to tenant farmers and managed from the Duchy Offices at Restormel, near Lostwithiel.

Why is a Cornish village called Indian Queens?

Nobody really knows why the village, that until the early 2000’s was a regular traffic jam destination on the A30 heading down through Cornwall, got its unusual name. Some claim it was named after Pocahontas, the native American who inspired the Disney film. However, there’s nothing to suggest she was ever associated with Cornwall and the most plausible answer is that at one time there was a pub in the village called the Indian Queen. This had a picture of Queen Victoria on one side of it’s sign and a picture of a Portuguese princess, who once spent a night at the inn on her way from Falmouth to London, on the other. It is thought that her dark skin may have fooled locals into thinking she was Indian, and of course Victoria was the Queen of India.

Is there a Palace in Cornwall?

In the town of Lostwithiel on the Fowey River you will find the remains of the Duchy Palace, originally built as a Great Hall in the late 1200s. Its original function was to collect taxes connected with the tin industry for the Earl of Cornwall (later the Duke of Cornwall) who had his headquarters at the nearby Restormel Castle. Although much of the original building was destroyed during the Civil War, the hall remains in the centre of the town.

You may also come across palaces in Cornish fishing villages, these were where oily fish such as pilchards were salted, pressed and packed. They are sometimes known as Pilchard Palaces, sometimes Pilchard Cellars.

What is the Kings Pipe in Falmouth?

On the quayside in Falmouth, near the Chainlocker pub, is a brick-built chimney. This is the flu for an incinerator that was used in the early 1800s to destroy contraband tobacco, brought in by the smugglers that operated up and down the Cornish coast. The tobacco would have been seized on behalf of the King, by the preventative men or Customs officers, hence the name.

Did the band Queen come from Cornwall?

Roger Taylor, the drummer, grew up in Truro where he formed his first band whilst at school. He later moved to London and became part of a band called Smile. They were booked to play a show in Truro in June 1970, but just before the show they decided to change their name to Queen, and went on to become quite successful!

Who was Queen Adelaide?

Out on Penlee Point, a rugged headland at the mouth of Plymouth Sound, stands a small building built into the hillside. Its stone archways looking out over the sea were constructed in the 1820s and dedicated to Adelaide, who would later be crowned Queen Consort when her husband King William IV ascended the throne in 1830. When William died in 1837 Adelaide dedicated much of her time to charity work, donating £20,000 each year to causes to help orphans and women.

The building can be found just below the South West Coast Path as it passes through the Mt Edgcumbe Estate between Rame Head and the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. It’s a great place for a picnic!

Who was King Harry and where is his ferry?

On the upper reaches of the Fal River, below the National Trust’s Trelissick House, there’s an ancient crossing point that may have been used for at least 800 years. To the north east of the landing place, on the Philleigh side, there used to stand a chapel dedicated to King Henry, though which King Henry is unclear. From this it is thought the King Harry Ferry took its name, though again, how we get Harry from Henry is not known.

Was King Arthur real?

Nobody really knows if there was a real King Arthur, or if he actually lived in Cornwall. However, literature tells us he had a castle at Tintagel, threw his sword Excalibur into Dozmary Pool high on Bodmin Moor and that his father Uther Pendragon lived at Castle an Dinas. You can find out lots more about King Arthur at Tintagel Castle... then you can decide for yourself if he was real or not!

Where is the Royal Cornwall Show held?

On the outskirts of Wadebridge the Royal Cornwall Showground hosts the annual agricultural show each year in June. Shows have been held here since 1960, before that they moved around Cornwall, the first one being held in Truro in 1827. Members of the Royal family often attend. The King, then Prince Charles, attended the 2022 show and we're eagerley awaiting the news of which Royal we'll see at this year's show, which takes place from the 8th to the 10th June 2023.

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