Saturday, 2 May 2009

Tales From Blankney - The Prince And The Prankster

During the period when Henry Chaplin was at Blankney Hall, the second half of the nineteenth century, a regular guest at his house parties was Queen Victoria's son Edward, Prince of Wales and later to become King Edward VII. They became great friends whilst at Oxford and remained so throughout their lives. Our tale centres around one such visit, as described by his daughter, the Marchioness of Londonderry in her book 'Henry Chaplin A Memoir'.

A story is told of how on one occasion, when King Edward, as Prince of Wales, was visiting Blankney, Mr. Chaplin's small son Eric was in his room while he was dressing for dinner. On the dressing-table stood a bowl of Indian corn from which he was in the habit of feeding the pigeons from his window. After his father had gone down to dinner, the small boy had the brilliant idea of spreading a layer of corn between the lower sheet and the blanket on the formers bed. When the exhausted host of a large house party retired at a late hour, sleep was found to be impossible from a pricking discomfort beneath him. Investigation followed and it was not until a housemaid had been roused and the bed remade that the long suffering parent obtained his rest. When the children came down according to custom the next morning while the guests were at breakfast, the story was told with some humour by the victim. The Prince delighted by a practical joke very much after his own heart, gave the boy a sovereign, with the promise of another should it be repeated!