During the reign of Queen Victoria and as today Kilkee, Co. Clare was the place to holiday for many Limerick families. One of those families from Limerick who stayed in Kilkee was the Eagars. Their daughter Margaretta Eagar, became the nanny to the children of the last Tsar of Russia. During her time with the Russian royal family she would meet with royalty from all over the world. Though, for Margaretta this was not her first time meeting with royalty as she writes in her autobiography ‘Six Years in the Russian Court’ about her interaction with members of royal families in Kilkee.

Prince Louis of Battenberg 1905

Prince Louis of Battenberg, Vanity Fair 16 February 1905

Margaretta also met Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854-1921) the grandson in law of Queen Victoria while working for the Russian royal family. She took the opportunity to ask him the truth behind a story she heard while in Kilkee during his visit some years before.

The Prince’s ship was in dock on the Shannon and having heard of the seaside resort of Kilkee he decided to see it for himself. He arrived at a hotel close to the railway station. He checked in to the hotel which he described as ‘very nice and comfortable, but not first-class’. He noticed that there were two beds in the room but dismissed it. He left his bag in the room and went for a stroll.

He returned to the hotel and on opening the door to his room he saw that the other bed occupied by sleeping commercial traveller. He went to the manageress and asked for a room for himself. She scoffed and grew angry, yelling “I’d like to know who you are to object to anyone. I’m sure you are no better than a little commercial traveller yourself.”

The Prince responded that “might be very true” but he still wanted a room to himself. The manageress told him that she had a room in a small cottage outside the hotel and he could sleep there. The following morning he returned to the reception and signed his name in the visitors’. The manageress almost collapsed with shock on reading his name, exclaiming that she was absolutely sure that the Queen would have her arrested for having been “impertinent to her son-in-law”.

As Margaretta questioned the Prince as to the validity of this story she told him that she was in Kilkee at the time in question. The Prince assured her that it was absolutely true, and was greatly amused at the idea of meeting anyone from that remote spot in the Imperial Palace of Peterhoff.

Margaretta also met the Crown Prince of Siam Maha Vajiravudh (1880-1925) while working for the Russian royal family. She met him once before in Kilkee.

Kilkee in the 1890s (Lawrence Collection)

Kilkee in the 1890s (Lawrence Collection)