The Visit of the Crown Princess Stephanie of Austria to Guernsey, 8 September 1887

22nd September 2022
Crown Princess Stephanie of Austria and her daughter in 1885, By Atelier Türk - Bundesmobilienverwaltung MD 065504 direct link, Public Domain,

The Star, Saturday, September 10, 1887. The photograph is of the Crown Princess in 1885 with her only daughter, Elisabeth.

On Thursday the Crown Princess of Austria, who is visiting Jersey for a short time, honoured Guernsey with a visit. The intention was intimated the previous day, when a message was received by the managing owner of the SS Alert engaging that steamer for a cruise, dinner being ordered at the Royal Hotel for the party. The visit was intended to be of a private character, the Princess declining any offical reception. The Alert having embarked the party at St Helier's, proceeded to make a tour around Sark, passing through the Gouliot passage and round Herm, making the harbour through the Perchee passage, thus affording a full view of the Adjacent Islands. The harbour was reached at a few minutes before twelve o'clock, and the Alert drew alongside the Albert slipway, where Mr Lainé, the agent of the company, was awaiting the party to receive the commands of her Imperial Highness. Emra Holmes, Esqr., Her Majesty's Collector of Customs, with Mr Le Huray, his principal officer, was also in attendance. The party consisted of Her Imperial Highness Princess Stéphanie, who travelled incognito under the title of Comtesse de Lacrome, accompanied by the Comtesse Sylva Tarouca and the Comtesse Clotek. In attendance on her Royal and Imperial Highness was Vice-Admiral the Comte de Bombelles, grand master of the Court, Dr Allmeier, private physician, Herr Perko, Private Secretary, and attendants. Captain Allix piloted the steamer, with Captain Lihou, who was in command. Mr Lainé having been introduced to the Comte de Bombelles, that gentleman was presented to the Princess, and Mr Emra Holmes having explained to the Comte that the Governor and the Bailiff intended complying with the wish of the Princess who desired to observe her incognito during her visit, but at the same time he offered whatever facilities the island presented. Her Royal and Imperial Highness graciously acknowledged the compliment, and as she proceeded up the slipway bowed a reply to the salutes which greeted her landing. A waggonette and pair, with coachmen in livery, was provided by Mr W Miller of the Sarnian Livery Stables, and the party drove off to the Royal Hotel where a sumptuous dinner had been provided by Mr J B Gardner.

After dinner the Princess and party were driven to the Town Church, which, having been inspected and greatly admired, an arrangement was made for a short organ recital by Mr W P de Crousaz, at five o'clock. The Princess then made some purchases in High-street and Smith-street¹, and afterwards proceeded for a drive, passing up the Grange and visiting Petit Bot Bay, Icart Point, Rosenheim, and thence through the higher parishes, returning to the Royal Hotel in time for tea. The Town Church was again visited shortly after five o'clock, and Mr Crousaz having given a short organ recital, the Princess expressed her great pleasure, and desired to be presented to the organist, when she highly complimented that gentleman on his performance; the party were then driven to the White Rock, where the Alert was waiting for her embarkation. Before this took place, Mr Lainé presented the Princess with a selection of photogrpahic views of the island, which were generously accepted. Mr Emra Holmes then introduced Betts Bey who wore his Order and Star as Commander of the Austrian Imperial Order of Francis Joseph, and her Royal and Imperial Highness expressed the great pleasure which she had derived from her visit, the beautiful scenery of the island having been greatly admired; having bid adieu the steamer backed out of the harbour, and as it passed through the pier heads, three hearty cheers were given for the august visitor, who from her station on the bridge graciously acknowledged the compliment. All who had the opportunity of seeing her Royal Highness were much impressed with her amiability and the graciousness of her manner.

On board just before her departure her Royal Highness shook hands with Betts Bey and Mr Holmes and thanked them for their attentions. Betts Bey was depicted by the ex-Khedive (Ismail Pasha) to do the honours on his behalf to the Archduke Ramer, and the Archduchess, as well as the Archduke Ernst, during the whole of their two months' stay in Egypt about 10 years ago. Betts Bey was also personally acquainted with the Imperial Princess' father, the present King of the Belgians, and was with him in Egypt three days when he visited Suez as Duke of Brabant on his way to India.

¹ At Mr Davey's jeweller's in Smith Street.