Museum puts out Royal chairs70 years after wartime visit

Paul Jeeves

MANY have thought that Robert Thompson’s furniture, characterised by his trademark mouse carvings, was fit for royalty – and 70 years ago they were proved right.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who was later to become the Queen Mother, used two chairs made in the workshops of the famous Mouseman of Kilburn while they had tea during a visit to Richmond in 1940 – and to commemorate the visit they have been cleaned up at the Green Howards regimental museum.

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The King and Queen travelled to North Yorkshire to lift morale during the war and inspected the Green Howards Regiment before taking tea in the officers’ mess, using the Mouseman furniture that is now in the museum in Richmond.

At the time, the Green Howards Gazette noted the frantic preparations, but wartime restrictions meant no-one could say who was to arrive.

The Royal party turned up at 3.55pm on August 28, 1940 – although their arrival was delayed because the motorcycle outriders almost ran down the commanding officer.

Museum curator Lynda Powell, said: “The chairs they sat in to take tea were very much prized by the officers’ mess, and when the depot closed they were given to the museum for safekeeping.”