Did visit prompt Queen Victoria to choose Honiton lace for wedding dress?

Queen Victoria visited Honiton

The pair thanked the people of Honiton for their welcome - Credit: Honiton Museum

Not many people know that in August 1833, when Victoria was a 14-year-old princess, she came to Honiton with her mother the Duchess of Kent.

They were on a six-week Royal ‘progress’ on an excursion westward. They travelled by sea in a yacht and in open carriages on land visiting favoured towns on the westward coast.

Honiton learned of their visit on the day before the royal party arrived.

A meeting was hurriedly convened to discuss what reception should be given to their Royal Highnesses. An address was agreed upon and a deputation appointed.

The Portreeve, George Bacon Sweeting, the Officers of the East Devon Cavalry, Rev V P Somerset, Rev Richard Lewis, Rev Marwood Tucker, Captain Renwick, Captain Groube R N plus Messrs Smart, Jerrard, and Gould were chosen to greet the Royal visitors.

The royal carriages entered the town escorted by the East Devon Volunteer Cavalry under the command of Major Mules.

The townspeople cheered enthusiastically, and the church bells rang.

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Their Royal Highnesses alighted at the Golden Lion Inn, where they were received by the deputation .

The Cavalry Brass Band played the national anthem. George Sweeting read out an address and presented it to the Duchess of Kent.

She replied: "Gentlemen, l have no words to express how grateful the Princess and myself are with the warm hearted reception we have received in Devonshire, and the feelings of loyalty shewn to the King, it is most gratifying.

"To the inhabitants of Honiton, we are exceedingly obliged for their kind way in which they greet us."

Their Royal Highnesses' commanded Major Mules, Capt Basleigh, Lieut Pellew, and Cornet Mules to take luncheon with them.

Several times the Princess presented herself and waved from the window during their stay.

When the Royal party left, they were escorted by the East Devon Volunteer Cavalry on the road to Axminster.

The cavalry returned to a dinner at the Kings Arms which was laid on by Captain Basleigh.

If Princess Victoria was as enthusiastic about her visit as the people of Honiton were, she didn’t mention it in her journal – “At about ½ past twelve we reached Honiton where we lunched. The place is noted for its fine lace. At about one we left it………… We changed horses for the last time at Wareham. Mamma received an address as she also did in Honiton.”