A Fine Collection of Royal Household Awards

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Date of Auction: 4th December 2001

Sold for £2,200

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

Eleven: Henry Chandler, Superintendent of the Wardrobe to King Edward VII

The Royal Victorian Medal, V.R., Silver; Jubilee 1887, clasp, 1897, silver (Henry Chandler); Coronation 1902, bronze; Germany, Prussia, Order of the Crown, 4th class, gilt and enamel; Greece, Royal Household Medal, George I, gold; Portugal, Order of Villa Vicosa, 4th class, silver-gilt and enamels; Italy, Royal Service Medal, Victor Emanuele III, gold; Sweden, Medal of the Order of the Vasa, gilt; Germany, Saxe-Coburg, Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Ernest II, gilt; Germany, Prussia, Medal of the Order of the Red Eagle, silver; Germany, Hesse, General Medal of Honour, For Merit, Ludwig III, silver, mounted court style as worn, with additional ribbons only for Christain IX’s Gold Medal of Recompense and Oscar II of Sweden’s gilt Royal Household Medal, together with small silver medal for the Prince of Wales’s Tour of India 1875-76, specially glazed with gold rim and rings for suspension from watch chain, the rim inscribed (H. Chandler, Marlborough House), some minor contact marks, otherwise good very fine or better and rare (12) £1200-1500


See Colour Plate I

R.V.M. awarded on 14 December 1896 at Windsor Castle, only the fourth award of this medal.

Henry Chandler was born in London on 1 January 1846. His father, Dennis, was a Footman in the service of Queen Victoria, and had previously been in the service of William IV. Henry Chandler entered the service of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on 10 March 1863, as Wardrobe Man assisting his brother-in-law, George Gillet, who was the Prince’s Principal Valet. In 1875 he was chosen as one of the servants to accompany the Prince of Wales on his tour to India in 1875-76. George Grimm took the place of Gillett as Principal Valet, as he was too ill to make the journey. Grimm also fell ill and had to be left behind the Royal party during the trip, Chandler taking over as Valet for the remainder of the tour. Chandler became Principal Valet when Grimm retired in February 1880.

On the accession of the Prince of Wales as King Edward VII, Henry Chandler, as Principal Valet, was created Superintendent of His Majesty’s Wardrobe and His Majesty’s Private Accountant. In December 1901 he moved into an apartment in Ambassadors’ Court at St James’s Palace. By the end of 1902 he ceased to accompany the King on his travels, this being done by two assistant valets. When the King died in May 1910, Chandler took a prominent position in the funeral procession. He continued in the service of Queen Alexandra after the accession of George V, and died at Wandsworth on 18 January 1918.

In his book Edward VII A Portrait, Christopher Hibbert refers to the King’s violent temper towards his staff: ‘All his staff dreaded these violent outbursts which suddenly erupted when his impatience and irritation could no longer be contained and which became more frequent and more terrifying as the King grew older. No one had more experience of them than Chandler, the Superintendent of the Wardrobe, who would occasionally be summoned to come immediately to the King’s room where His Majesty, pacing furiously up and down, would, as Sir Lionel Cust said, use the poor man “as whipping boy or safety valve”, and “scold him unmercifully about something” as soon as the door opened. Yet Chandler, like the rest of the King’s staff, was devoted to him and knew that once the storm was over every effort would be made to make amends for any feelings that had been hurt. As Lord Esher said, “If the King assailed you, it was almost certain that within an hour or two he would send for you, or despatch a few lines on a slip of paper, on some wholly different subject, in the friendliest manner, with no allusion to what had passed.” “It was a pleasure,” Lord Fisher thought, “to face his furious anger for the sake of the lovely smile you got later on.”’

Sold with extensive research, including original photographs and post cards, and original Award Certificates for the Itallian and three German awards.