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Tearful Memories of a Royal Visit

The impending closure of Alltymynydd Hospital, Llanybydder brings to mind a royal visit to Carmarthenshire in 1905, when Princess Christian, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, came to stay for four days with the Lord Lieutenant of the county Sir James Williams-Drummond at Edwinsford. She was a close friend of Lady Drummond, and an oak tree was planted on the lawn at Edwinsford to commemorate her happy visit.

Slightly less happy was the memory of the chief public engagement of her stay, that of laying the foundation stone of the Alltymynydd Sanatorium, Llanybydder on 25th April, the driving force behind the project being Lady Drummond herself. However, the weather was far from kind and as a building site is not the best place for one's best shoes in pouring rain, the excitment of the occasion was sadly marred.

Mrs. Lorna Blandy of Dolaubran, Cynghordy, then a girl of seven, was present and took a brief part in the ceremonials that day. Her father, H. Meuric Lloyd of Glanyrannell Park, Crugybar was high sheriff that year and closely concerned with the arrangements. As public donations were being sought to help finance the building, it was arranged that the Princess would, before laying the stone, accept the gifts from donors, which were to be contained in crimson satin purses made for the purpose and, as a touching addition, to be presented by their children. Sir James and Lady Williams-Drummond had only one son and in order to preserve an appropriate air of chivalry, the high sheriff's two young daughters were picked to lead the procession. Mrs. Blandy takes up the story:

"The morning started finely enough but as the day wore on it came on to rain. Against this a makeshift awning was hurriedly rigged up over the Princess' chair. Once the people began to arrive however the site quickly became a sea of mud. My sister Nest (aged ten) and I were driven over from Glanyrannell in a closed carriage, dressed in white muslin hats and dresses and white satin shoes, each carrying our crimson satin purses full of gold coins which were our father's donation.

"The Princess' chair had been placed on a slightly raised piece of ground to afford the crowd a good view. With all the rain this now meant there was a very muddy and slippery slope to be ascended in order to reach Her Royal Highness. My poor sister started up the slippery slope, all eyes on her. Half way up to the Princess' chair, her foot stuck in the mud and she lost her shoe, arriving finally in front of the Princess in floods of tears, from where she was helped away. My turn came next! Seeing my poor sister's plight I too was on the verge of tears but then a kind man seized me and carried me right through the mud and dropped me down right in front of the Princess. Just managing to restrain my tears in the Royal presence I gave my purse and was then immediately whisked off again in someone else's arms, packed back into the coach and driven straight back to Glanyrannell, soaking wet and my feet covered in mud.

"After that someone found some gravel and a proper path was made through the mud for the children who followed us, but I never saw this, nor the actual laying of the stone which followed. You can imagine how much I had been looking forward to the day and what a terrible disappointment at that age it was."

Court Henry.

Thomas Lloyd.


Yet another book, in Welsh, about Wales's most famous teacher is the recently published Griffith Jones, Llanddowror: Athro Cenedl by Gwyn Davies (Gwasg Efengylaidd, Bridgend), 120pp. Price 1.75.
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