Bibelots

London

Rare London House Cannes Menu 1895 Signed King Edward VII Ogden Goelet Prince Louis Battenberg Fortescue & Paget

£395.00

Fine antique menu for a dinner held on 22nd March 1895 at London House in Cannes, France, signed by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (1841-1910), Mary Goelet (1855–1929), Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg (1854-1921), Captain The Honourable Sir Seymour John Fortescue, (1856-1942), Ogden Goelet (1851-1897), Richard Winslow, General Sir Arthur Henry Fitzroy Paget (1851-1928), and Mary Winslow.

From the collection of Richard and Mary Winslow, English aristocrats who had the Villa Winslow in Cannes during the 1890s and were friends with aristocrats and royals from all over the world. Mary was a great beauty and had by family traditon once been a mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

Ogden Goelet was an American heir, businessman and yachtsman from New York City during the Gilded Age. With his wife, he built Ochre Court in Newport, Rhode Island, his son built Glenmere mansion, and his daughter, Mary Goelet, married Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe. He married Mary Rita Wilson, daughter of Richard Thornton Wilson Sr. and Melissa Clementine Johnston. Her siblings included Richard Thornton Wilson Jr. and Grace Graham Wilson Vanderbilt.

Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg, was a British naval officer and German prince related to members of the British Royal Family.

Although born in Austria, and brought up in Italy and Germany, he enrolled in the United Kingdom's Royal Navy at the age of fourteen. Queen Victoria and her son King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, occasionally intervened in his career. Louis welcomed assignments that provided opportunities for him to acquire the skills of war and to demonstrate to his superiors that he was serious about his naval career. Posts on royal yachts and tours arranged by the Queen and Edward actually impeded his progress, as his promotions were perceived as undeserved royal favours.

After a naval career lasting more than forty years, in 1912 he was appointed First Sea Lord, the professional head of the British naval service. With World War I looming, he took steps to ready the British fleet for combat, but his background as a German prince forced his retirement once the war began, when anti-German sentiment was running high. He changed his name and relinquished his German titles, at the behest of King George V, in 1917.

He married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and was the father of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who also served as First Sea Lord from 1954 to 1959. He is the maternal grandfather of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort of Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Seymour John Fortescue, was a British naval officer and courtier who was an Equerry to the British sovereign and Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords. In 1893, Fortescue was also appointed an equerry in waiting to the Prince of Wales (in the place of Rear-Admiral H. F. Stephenson. He remained in that post even after the Prince became King Edward VII, and served throughout that King's reign. Following the King's death in 1910, his successor George V appointed Fortescue a Groom of the Bedchamber in Waiting, although he served for less than a year before resigning in January 1911. In the mean time, he was made an Extra Equerry to the King, a position renewed by Edward VIII and George VI in 1937. He died after stepping from a train and missing the platform at Victoria Station on 20 March 1942.

General Sir Arthur Henry Fitzroy Paget was a soldier who reached the rank of General and served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, where he was partly responsible for the Curragh Incident. He was the son of Lord Alfred Paget and Cecilia Wyndham, in 1878, he married the American heiress Mary "Minnie" Stevens.

With Irish Home Rule due to become law in 1914, the Cabinet were beginning to contemplate some kind of military action against the Ulster Volunteers who wanted no part of it. French (CIGS) and Seely (Secretary of State for War) summoned Paget to the War Office for talks. Paget’s letter (19 October 1913) suggests that he wanted “partial mobilisation”.

The following spring, Paget was sent a letter by the secretary of the Army Council warning that “evil-disposed persons” might attempt to seize weapons. Paget reported that he was drawing up plans to protect arms depots as ordered, but warning that large-scale troop movements would exacerbate the situation. Paget was summoned to London for a meeting with the Cabinet Committee on Ireland and other officers. On the evening of 18 March Paget wired Maj-Gen Friend that the troop movements were to be completed by dawn on Sunday 31 March. Paget was summoned to another meeting on 19 March at which Seely declared that the government was pressing ahead with Home Rule and had no intention of allowing civil war to break out, suggesting that the Ulster Volunteers were to be crushed if they attempted to start one. Paget said that he would “lead his Army to the Boyne” - French immediately told him not to be “a bloody fool”.

Paget travelled to Dublin that night in a state of high excitement, having been given no written orders (it is unclear whether or not this was because there were things which the politicians were reluctant to put in writing). The next morning (Friday 20 March), Paget addressed senior officers at his headquarters in Dublin. Three different accounts (written by Paget, Fergusson and Gough in his 1954 memoirs Soldiering On) exist, but it is clear that Paget exacerbated the situation. Paget claimed that with French’s assistance he had obtained “concessions” from Seely, namely that officers who lived in Ulster would be permitted to “disappear” for the duration, but that other officers who refused to serve against Ulster would be dismissed rather than being permitted to resign. By Gough’s account, he said that “active operations were to commence against Ulster” and that Gough – who had a family connection to Ulster but did not actually live there - could expect no mercy from his “old friend at the War Office”. French, Paget and Ewart had actually (on 19 March) agreed that officers with “direct family connections” to Ulster should be left behind. In effectively offering his officers an ultimatum, Paget was acting foolishly, as the majority would probably have obeyed if simply ordered north. Paget ended the meeting by ordering his officers to speak to their subordinates and then report back. Gough did not attend the second meeting in the afternoon, at which Paget confirmed that the purpose of the move was to overawe Ulster rather than fight, but at which he claimed that the orders had the King’s personal sanction.

Paget informed the War Office by telegram (evening of 20 March) that 57 officers preferred to accept dismissal (it was actually 61 including Gough). On the morning of Saturday 21 March Fergusson toured units, assuring them of his own unionist sympathies but urging them to do their duty – this action had a good effect. Paget did the same but his speech was described by one colonel as “absolutely unconvincing and inconclusive”.

The elderly Field-Marshal Roberts later learned from an interview with Seely (21 March) that Paget had been acting without authority in talking of “active operations” and in giving officers a chance to discuss hypothetical orders and attempt to resign. This news helped persuade Hubert Gough to remain in the Army, albeit with a written guarantee (which the government then repudiated) that the Army would not be used against Ulster. Paget was, in the end, able to conduct the precautionary moves planned on 18 and 19 March.

Size: 17.5 x 11.5 cm approx

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