8 January 2019
What do Ashford in Kent and the Romanian royal family have in common? Quite a lot, apparently. In December around 150 VIP guests – including Romanian royals and the country’s ambassador to the UK – descended on Ashford to attend the unveiling of a statue of Queen Marie, the last queen of Romania, at Stanhope’s new Elwick Place leisure development, managed by SHW.
Queen Marie, the daughter of Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, was born in Eastwell Park, near Ashford, in 1875, and went on to marry the future King Ferdinand of Romania.
This is her first statue outside her adopted homeland – but she may have had many more had fate sent her down a slightly different path.
Queen Victoria was, we are told, keen for the girl to marry her cousin, the future George V, but both Marie’s mother and potential mother-in-law opposed the plan.
Crateloads of Romanian wine were shipped over for the unveiling, which Thomas Coulson of Elwick Place’s managing agent SHW confesses may have been more keenly anticipated by some than the statue itself.
(Originally published in Estates Gazette, 19/12/18)
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