Throughout its heyday Harrogate was always associated with the crowned heads of Europe.
Known as The Worlds Greatest spa, Harrogate welcomed on a daily basis Nobles and Royalty to take its medicinal waters and spa treatments. In fact in the Victorian era Harrogate station had many direct trains from London, so many in fact that the station was referred to as a silk hat station. This meant that the station manager would have to greet Royalty and Nobility on a regular basis and be properly attired.
It was also claimed that the station had a red carpet laid permanently in the reception Hall for just such events. It was in the Georgian era Granby Corner and down to the Dragon Hotel were the preferred locations for the elite. They were also well known for there illicit gambling games that the idle rich loved to while away their time with. Many a fortune was was gained and lost across the card tables. As “taking the waters” became more popular the crowds flocked to the popular spa town ,hence the increase in hotels and boarding houses.
It wasn’t unusual for Royalty to stay in guest houses rather than hotels. Cathcart house was once claimed by one visitor, on opening the door, to find 3 Russian Grand Duchesses chasing King Manuela of Portugal around the rooms with soda siphons . Indeed the Russian Royal family’s last holiday as a family was said to have been in Harrogate.
Harrogate Pumproom Museum has several artefacts and pieces of jewellery that were given as gifts to commemorate Imperial visits. British Royalty were also regular visitors to Harrogate. Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood was was a regular visitor after marrying Henry,Viscount Lascelles later the 6th Earl of Harewood. Queen Mary was often seen in Harrogate visiting various antiques establishments.
Binging things up to a modern date. King Charles has a Long history and association with Harrogate due to being Patron of The Royal Hall Restoration Trust. His support allowed the funds to be raised for various restoration projects and to bring the hall onto more popular usage. In its day the Royal Hall has been used as an exhibition Hall, dance hall, Cinema and even a boxing ring. These days it tends to be mainly visiting Theatrical productions that utilise the gilded ,beautiful and elegant space. What the future has in store for Harrogate and its Royal Patronage, no one yet knows. Maybe we will see a Royal visit from our new King?
We look forward to that possibility as we enter a new Carolean era.