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  #21  
Old 09-07-2020, 03:57 AM
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Ashleigh is happy for me to share what I find so I'm pleased to say that I've found Charles' entry into royal service on 30 June 1900 at the Royal Mews, which is evidence that he did indeed work for Queen Victoria. I've also found records showing he worked for the family continuously until he died in 1950 and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene, Sandringham, where I've found a photo of his grave.

I'll post a timeline with source evidence later, which might be helpful to anyone else researching royal staff.
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  #22  
Old 09-07-2020, 04:40 AM
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I can’t thank everyone enough, everyone really has come together to help me and I’m overwhelmed.
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  #23  
Old 09-07-2020, 06:28 AM
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That's great info Lilyflo, well done.
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  #24  
Old 09-07-2020, 02:30 PM
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I've had a lovely time doing this for Ashleigh! Here is a timeline I've produced with the results of the research I've done so far.

NB There’s another Charles French who worked for the royal family at Sandringham as a gamekeeper but he was Charles George French and research shows he’s not related to Ashleigh.

Charles Nelson French

14 June 1880 Charles was born in Southminster Essex (Ashleigh has some family history data so I didn’t research the family)

30 June 1900 joins the royal staff as a groom based in London earning 21/- per week. Source: Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1889 - 1908 and 1860 - 1919

March 1901 living at the Royal Mews next to Buckingham Palace working as a groom and stable helper. Source: Census 1901

1906 - 1910 earning 23/- per week as a groom based in London (Buckingham Palace). Source: Master of the Horse's Department Establishment Books 1906 - 1910

(6 May 1910 King Edward VII died and was succeeded by King George V)

28 August 1910 Charles was put in livery. Source: Royal Mews Establishment List 1914

October 1910 Charles is put on the payroll at Windsor. Source: Wages Book for Weekly Helpers employed in the Royal Mews at Windsor Castle 1904 - 1935

25 November 1910 Charles moved to Windsor. Source: Master of the Horse's Department Establishment Book 1920

1911 - 1912 earning 23/- per week as a groom based at Windsor & now wears a scarlet and plain livery. Source: Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1911 and 1912

November 1913 Charles married Harriet May Dye in Dersingham, Norfolk. His parish was named as West Newton (within Sandringham estate). Source: Norfolk banns & marriages. This indicates that Charles travelled with the family to Sandringham when they visited.

1914 earning 27/- per week as a groom based at Windsor, wearing the scarlet and plain livery and ‘living in'. Source: Master of the Horse's Department Establishment Book 1914 and Royal Mews Establishment List 1914

1915 Charles attested for the army under Lord Derby’s scheme. Source: Wages Book for Weekly Helpers employed in the Royal Mews at Windsor Castle 1904 - 1935

1916 and 1917 earning 25/- per week as a groom based at Windsor plus 2s lodging allowing for 'living out'. He wears a scarlet & plain livery. Sources: Master of the Horse's Department Establishment Books 1916 and 1917, Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1916 and 1917

1919 earning 25/- per week as a groom based at Windsor plus 2s lodging allowance for 'living out', plus 29/- ‘war bonus’ (they all get a war bonus) - wears a scarlet & plain livery & is living out. Source: Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1919

1920 earning 27/- per week as a groom based at Windsor plus 32/- ‘war bonus’ (they all get a war bonus) - wears a scarlet & plain livery & is 'living in'. Source: Master of the Horse's Department Establishment Books 1920, Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1920

1923 earning 27/- per week as a groom based at Windsor plus 18/2 ‘war bonus’ (they all get a war bonus) - wears a scarlet & plain livery & is 'living in'. Source: Royal Mews Establishment Lists 1923

1924 Charles paid up to 16th August at Windsor then his wages entry is blank. Source: Wages Book for Weekly Helpers employed in the Royal Mews at Windsor Castle 1904 - 1935. (My assumption is that he then came under a different department for payment.)

1921 - 1935 Charles and his wife Harriet (May) are on the Electoral Roll at 9, Red Buildings, Royal Mews, Windsor Castle from 1921 - 1925 and at 6, Royal Mews, Windsor Castle from 1926 - 1935. Source: Electoral Rolls for Berkshire

1939 Charles and his wife are at Hall Stables, Sandringham. Charles is recorded as a retired groom. Source: 1939 Register

(We’ve seen photos of Charles with the royal family during the war years so my assumption is that he came out of retirement as part of the war effort).

April 1950 Charles was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene, Sandringham - address given as Royal Stables, Sandringham. Source: Norfolk Parish Registers.
Here is his grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...arles-n-french

Sources were mainly found on ‘Find My Past’ and one of the electoral rolls on ‘Ancestry.co.uk’
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  #25  
Old 09-08-2020, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Daly View Post
Wonderful photos of your X3 Great Uncle Charles French with the BRF. There might be further written documentation of his service history to the royal family at one of the libraries in London. Having been a previous member to Ancestry.com it seems they have a large UK section including the British census. Also, you may not have exhausted your own family's knowlege about your X3 Great Uncle. I did find 2 more pictures with a very young Princess Elizabeth and her riding master Mr. French.
Attachment 302326
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-ph...ip%3d0%26pl%3d
Photograph of Princess Elizabeth (1926-) during a riding lesson in the Park at Windsor. Dated 20th Century
Click on the link to bring up second picture of Princess Elizabeth and Mr French.
It's such a shame but it appears this might not be Charles French. I was looking through my books for mentions of Charles French & I found this photo in Marion Crawford's book 'The Little Princesses'. It's captioned 'Princess Elizabeth riding in Windsor Great Park with her favourite groom, Mr Owen'. There are also a few sentences about 'her favourite groom Mr Owen' in the book. Miss Crawford could have mistaken his name I suppose. Meanwhile, Ashleigh and I are trying to unravel the mystery of how some websites have labelled this with Mr French.

Edited to add that this there's photo in the Royal Collection, which seems to confirm that this groom was indeed called Mr Owen. https://www.rct.uk/collection/210832...nd-mr-owen-the
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  #26  
Old 09-08-2020, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilyflo View Post
It's such a shame but it appears this might not be Charles French. I was looking through my books for mentions of Charles French & I found this photo in Marion Crawford's book 'The Little Princesses'. It's captioned 'Princess Elizabeth riding in Windsor Great Park with her favourite groom, Mr Owen'. There are also a few sentences about 'her favourite groom Mr Owen' in the book. Miss Crawford could have mistaken his name I suppose. Meanwhile, Ashleigh and I are trying to unravel the mystery of how some websites have labelled this with Mr French.

Edited to add that this there's photo in the Royal Collection, which seems to confirm that this groom was indeed called Mr Owen. https://www.rct.uk/collection/210832...nd-mr-owen-the
Thank you, Lilyflo for finding further clarification on Groom Henry Owen being the princesses attendant and not Charles French. Also, on closer inspection it does appear they are definitely not the same person. Mr French seems to have a little sweeter or softer facial appearance than Mr Owen. Again, excellent genealogical sleuth work and further congrats to Ashleigh.

Several years earlier with the help of Ancestry.com and several other sources, I was able to uncover a lot of my own family's history, much of it from England and Ireland. I also remember when possible I tried to have two sources of information which you have been able to do here. With the progression of MS and recent covid recovery my once acute attention for detail has taken a hit. Nevertheless, following Ashleigh and your search for Mr French has been thoroughly enjoyable.
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  #27  
Old 09-08-2020, 08:37 AM
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I’ve found Henry Owen in the 1939 register. He was born in 1878, was single and living at Royal Mews, Windsor Castle. He was ‘Stud Groom to HM the King’ so I’m guessing he worked with the King’s racehorses.

Meanwhile, looking at the original image of Charles French in the 1939 Register at 19 Hall Stables, Sandringham, there’s an interesting note on the side saying ‘ambulance’, which probably means that was his role during the war as some estate workers have ARP or Observer Corps beside their name. So even though the main house at Sandringham was closed for the duration of the war, the estate staff who weren't in the services were making their contributions to the war effort.
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  #28  
Old 09-13-2020, 02:47 PM
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Update for those interested in royal grooms:

I've been looking at Charles' livery, which was described in his royal records as "scarlet and plain". Research indicates this means he had a scarlet livery and a plain (black) livery, which were worn on specific occasions. I found a photo of Charles riding behind the carriage of King George V and Queen Mary as they paraded back to Windsor on the day after the coronation in 1911. It has been verified as Charles (he has a cross drawn above him) as it has been passed down from his sister to another branch of Ashleigh's family. The photo is in black and white but I researched the livery and found that it would have been the scarlet frock coat & black top hat as portrayed on the front two riders in Alfred Munnings painting of 1925 of the King and Queen on their journey from Windsor to Ascot (which would also have included Charles as he was at Windsor then). Here is the same livery as Charles wore in 1911 on the front riders of this special occasion: https://www.alamy.com/windsor-uk-19t...185504418.html
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  #29  
Old 09-16-2020, 05:43 AM
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I put Ashleigh in touch with another relative who had some more photos and newspaper clippings and in one of those it said that Charles was groom to King George V's favourite pony "Jock". That sent me off on another research trail and through my subscription to the British Newspaper Archive, I was able to find a lot more, which confirmed that Charles is the groom leading King George's favourite pony in this clip of the beginning of George V's funeral in January 1936 where he's leaving Sandringham.


I also found this wonderful photo taken of this event, which made most of the newspapers at the time (including around the world). https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail...hoto/588379927

Research shows that following the funeral, Jock went back to the Windsor Mews with Charles and as he was an old pony, he was retired. However, by the summer of 1936, the new King Edward VIII decided to shut the Windsor Mews and move most of the horses to Buckingham Palace. At Queen Mary's suggestion (allegedly) King Edward then granted Charles a cottage on the Sandringham estate and Jock continued his retirement at the Sandringham stables, where Charles looked after him.

I discovered that Sir Alfred Mullins painted Jock with George V.
https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/...eat-park-12092

and also, (amazingly!) following the King's death, Mullins gave a painting of Jock to Charles French and signed the painting for him with a personal message.
Jock ridden by H.M. King George V for 9 years by Sir Alfred Munnings on artnet
The painting appears to have been sold at auction, probably at some point after Charles' widow's death in 1973 as they had no children. I found an auction site saying it was sold in 2011 with a guide price of $12,000 - $16,000 but I can't find more details without paying a huge subscription so I left it there. :)

Edited to add that Ashleigh found some sketches of Mullins' paintings of Jock at the Sotheby's auction site, where it confirmed that an oil sketch of Jock was given to Charles French.
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  #30  
Old 09-17-2020, 02:29 AM
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I am so happy for you Ashleigh and another well done Lilyflo! The unfolding story of Charles French becomes more enthralling with each find. What an honor for Charles to lead King George's horse Jock in the funeral. I love the part where Jock joins Charles in retirement at Sandringham, plus we know Charles still served the Royal Family during the war. The inscribed painting of Jock by the artist given to Charles shows how well thought of your uncle was, very impressive.
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  #31  
Old 09-17-2020, 04:06 AM
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This is amazing Lilyflo! Thank you so much for all the info gathered.
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