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Vol 13 No 13 Lord Alfred Paget

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 5:52 pm
by Les1949

Things you may not know, or didn’t know you knew!

Soldier and Royal Courtier

The previous article dealt with Lord George Paget, a ‘hero’ of the Charge of the Light Brigade, buried in St Marys Church. Also laid to rest there was Lord Alfred Paget (1816-1888), an older brother who also served in the military, reaching the rank of General. Alfred was also Liberal MP for Lichfield from 1837 to 1865.

In 1832 Alfred was commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards at the age of just 16, one of the youngest officers in the regiment.

Alfred’s first Royal appointment was as Chief Equerry to the Queen from 1846 to 1858 and was well liked by both Queen Victoria and Edward, Prince of Wales – which was probably quite a feat, given the two differing personalities. The duties of an Equerry were not particularly onerous being of a social and ceremonial nature. In one report Alfred is reported as having ‘ridden out’ with the Queen and her escort and in another attending a royal banquet.

Alfred led something of a charmed life as a previous yacht that he owned, was sunk in a collision off the Kent coast in June 1856. Alfred’s 75 ton yacht was struck by the Belgian Royal Packet ‘Diamant’, causing the smaller vessel to sink within minutes. Alfred and his crew just had time to launch a long-boat, abandoning all their possessions but fortunately without loss of life.

With his top hat and flower in his lapel Alfred always looked very dapper.

Alfred married Cecilia Wyndham in 1847 and they had 14 children including Sir Henry Paget, who married an American heiress (always useful to get hold of ‘new money’) and Sydney Paget who owned and trained thoroughbred horses in the US.

Alfred died whilst in Inverness aboard a later owned yacht, ‘Violet’. After his death he was conveyed by train to Waterloo, from thence he was transported to the Upper Lodge, Bushy Park. His remains were escorted by the yacht’s Captain and members of his crew. The funeral took place at St Marys on 29th August 1888 in front of a multitude of the great and the good. Present were representatives of the Queen and also of Parliament, Alfred was obviously held in great esteem. The Daily Telegraph mentioned that many of the houses in the village ‘were partially closed or had their blinds down’ as a mark of respect.

The Old Historian